The Best Email & Calendaring Tools for Sales Teams
For Sales and Customer Teams, the email inbox and online calendar are arguably their two most-trafficked applications on a daily basis. Sales Reps and Account Managers practically live out of their inbox, and a rep’s compensation may even be tied to how many meetings are on their calendar. As more and more sales workflows shift online, reliance on these tools will only grow stronger. The best reps will find ways to optimize their inboxes and calendars to help them win more deals and accelerate into the new year.
Here are 7 email & calendar tools that sales and customer teams can use to help them be more efficient at each stage of the sales process.
1. Email Open and Link Tracking
Far and away, we hear the most fervent praise of this email tool from reps – and for good reason: It’s just plain cool to know when prospects engage with your emails. Beyond the “neat-ness” of watching your email messaging resonate with prospects in real-time, this knowledge also helps reps engage at the perfect time, and with highly relevant information.
Put yourself in the shoes of a prospect who has just opened an email from a salesperson. The content may be interesting, but you need to get through the rest of your email, so you close it and move on to the next one. 2 minutes later, the phone rings. It’s the rep from the email you just read. You’ve been primed for the call and, odds are, will be much more receptive to what the rep has to say. Knowing when a prospect has been successfully “warmed up” by an email helps reps engage at the right time, and can effectively accelerate the sales process.
Tracking clicked links in an email also provides information that can help reps better understand a prospect’s behaviors, needs, and level of interest. Send cold prospects persona-based content and track their clicks to gauge which topics, themes, and pain points peak their interest. Then tailor your messaging to those interests. When executed properly, this technique shows prospects that reps are dialed-in to the prospect’s unique motivators, and are fully capable of solving their challenges.
2. Meeting Scheduler Links
“Can you send over some availabilities?”
We’ve all experienced the pain of sending emails back and forth just to find a time to meet. At best, this friction is a waste of time. And at worst, calendaring snafus interrupt momentum and slow down the deal. That’s why we love Scheduler Links. With Scheduler Links, you can give contacts the option to book a meeting from a list of your available calendar times. No more back-and-forth, and no more calculating time zones.
We’ve seen Account Managers make good use of this calendaring tool as well by placing personal scheduling links in their email signatures, so customers can quickly find time that works for them. The possibilities are endless. You can even place scheduler links on your website to capture inbound leads and give customers the ability to easily book meetings with your team without having to reach out.
Pro Tip: Remove friction even further with calendaring tools that leverage Round Robin Scheduling, which lets contacts book a meeting time with any available member of your team.
3. Automatic Activity Logging
While Email Tracking may receive the most outward praise from reps, Automatic Activity Logging is the unsung hero that saves them the most time. In 2018, reps spent 66% of their time on repetitive, manual tasks, leaving only 33% of their day to focus on high-value sales activities. Automatic Activity Logging eliminates manual data entry by logging every email sent, stage changed, call made, and meeting booked automatically in Salesforce.
Many providers sync data to your CRM, meaning that data is copied from the inbox or calendar, to Salesforce, and back. But beware: this leaves room for data latency, and syncing errors. That’s why we recommend integrating Salesforce-Native tools wherever possible. This Native distinction makes a big difference in the data speed, accuracy, and security with which data is logged – especially for enterprise organizations dealing with a lot of data. If you need to sync custom Salesforce fields, your best bet will be a Salesforce-Native solution that can capture custom meta-data and associate it with custom Salesforce objects.
4. An Integrated Inbox
The inbox gets better when your other tools are working with it in harmony. Integrating existing systems into your email inbox will help increase productivity through a single interface and equip reps with up-to-date information about each prospect and account, in real-time.
Let’s start with the CRM. Connecting your Salesforce data to your email using a browser extension from a Sales Engagement Platform like Groove gives reps the ability to view, update, and create Salesforce records right from their inbox. This is especially useful for drafting messages, as reps can surface contact and account records without having to navigate to Salesforce.
A Linkedin integration is powerful, too. With Linkedin connected to the inbox, reps can access LinkedIn Sales Navigator to get more detailed contact info and view icebreakers, mutual contacts, and related leads. Other sales intelligence data can be integrated as well. For example, a Zoominfo extension can push sales insights and research from their massive database to your inbox as well.
5. In-Email Note Taking
Switching back and forth between your CRM and Inbox is a waste of time. Whether you’re in the middle of a call, or just received an urgent email, it disrupts your workflow to leave your inbox and navigate through Salesforce to take notes in the right place.
That’s why we give our reps the ability to take notes from within their email inbox, saving them valuable time and headache, and resulting in higher quality notes to boot. Combine this functionality with a Salesforce-native integration (mentioned above), and notes will automatically sync to Salesforce so reps don’t have to worry about entering them twice. Our reps leverage in-email note-taking through Groove’s Sales Engagement Platform (surprise!), which also happens to be Salesforce-Native.
6. Shareable Email Templates
We find that any time reps can share work and bounce ideas off of their peers, the entire team benefits. One collaboration capability that our reps love is the ability to share email templates with other reps and leverage them while drafting an email. Teams and individual reps can create and share their most effective email templates by persona, pain point, industry, and more. Reps can then quickly access a library of effective email messaging, and pull in whatever they deem to be most effective.
This kind of collaborative tool serves two main purposes. First, it instantly unites your team’s value prop, so that your messaging is consistent over email. Consistency also allows teams to easily test and optimize. Second, it saves reps significant time that would be otherwise spent crafting individual messages.
7. Email Reminders to Follow-Up
Reps work a lot of deals simultaneously, and this high volume can cause deals to slip through the cracks. It’s not a rep’s fault. With everything they have to keep track of, sellers could use help knowing when it’s time to follow-up with prospects that have gone cold, in order to keep them engaged. Our reps love the ability to create reminders that prompt them to follow up with a prospect – which keeps them on top of their deals.
Before they send an email, reps choose when they’d like to be nudged to follow up if nobody replies, and have the option to create a Salesforce Task related to that timing. For example, an AE might send a proposal to key stakeholders. Before s/he hit send, they set-up a reminder to nudge them in two days if nobody responds, and create a Salesforce task to follow-up. Now the AE can be sure they’re following up in a timely fashion, and it’s all logged in Salesforce automatically via Groove’s Sales Engagement Platform layer.
It may seem small, but we’ve seen these reminders help reps bring stagnant deals back to life, and keep others from slipping through the cracks.
Reaching for a Tool: Your Strategy
For organizations looking to implement one of the mentioned capabilities, there are countless 3rd-party providers that offer versions of these email and calendaring tools as a la carte services. While this might be the right choice for teams looking for a quick bump in productivity, it’s worth noting that most of these standalone solutions are not Native to Salesforce, so logging custom fields and automation capabilities will be limited.
For teams willing to invest in their productivity, implementing a combination of these capabilities will be highly impactful. Sales Engagement Platforms deliver all of these capabilities in a single interface, along with more advanced automation, collaboration, and data-logging capabilities.
If you’re interested in exploring the full capabilities of Sales Engagement, we invite you to check our Definitive Guide to Sales Engagement Platforms. If you’re currently exploring platforms, be sure to request a demo of the #1 Salesforce-native sales engagement platform.