Lifehack! Five quick-win digital tools to improve your sales pipeline

Keeping your sales pipeline full and your sales team engaged can be a challenge for many businesses. Luckily there are some excellent free digital tools out there that can achieve some quick wins for your business, with very little upfront investment in time and training. Here's five you can have up and running in a matter of minutes – all free, in the cloud, and easy to use.

Calendly for booking sales conversations

Start talking to your potential customers as quickly and conveniently as possible. Calendly adds a simple booking system to your website that allows your customers to quickly and easily book an appointment with members of your team. It integrates directly with your Google or Office calendar system, and allows you to setup powerful automation such as email replies, confirmation pages, and how to choose which team members should be booked. Calendly not only saves huge amounts of time for you and your customers, it makes that important first impression look extremely capable, thoughtful and slick.

Sunrise for organising meeting times

Stop playing email and phone tag to arrange meetings with your customers. Sunrise allows you to suggest a number of meeting times and send them as a link to your customer so they can select the time that suits them best. Better yet, it directly integrates with other calendars like Outlook, Google Calendar, and iCal, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Basecamp and more. You'll be pleasantly surprised how much time this can save, and how appreciative your customers will be of this simple example of your professionalism and respect for their busy schedule.

Typeform for capturing website leads

Automate your initial sales engagement process. Typeform enables you to design beautiful, engaging forms that are easy to use and as detailed as you need for your business requirements. Contact forms, surveys, even purchasing through the Stripe payment gateway are all possible. Once you embed the form on your website, you can send the submissions directly to your email inbox, or integrate them into your CRM system. If you have had a bad experience with online forms in the past, Typeform will definitely change your mind.

Slack for team communication

Ensure your team communicates as effectively as possible. Slack enables your team to communicate more effectively by eliminating the need for email and instead brings you together to chat the way most are more familiar with - text messaging. Think of it like texting on a shot of adrenaline - you can create channels to talk about specific projects or subjects, upload images and other files, link to web pages, private message each other, and its all kept in the cloud and completely searchable. Never lose a conversation or piece of information again. You can even bring your clients into a particular channel to really open communication. To top it off, Slack integrates with a huge amount of other online tools, meaning you can get messaged when new jobs are created in your CRM, or when a new calendar booking is made.

Trello for sales/marketing workflow

Make your workflow visible to your entire team. At it's heart, Trello is all about recording snippets of information in cards and organising them into logical lists on boards. From simple todo lists to complicated workflow processes, Trello gives you complete control and flexibility to create an easy to use way to manage your business. With the ability to assign people, due dates, labels, and files to cards, as well as checklists, comments, and a multitude of integrations and automation plugins, you really can create a workflow system that works the way you do. 

Start off with a simple kanban style board with lists for Backlog, To Do, Doing, and Done and use the cards to represent tasks. Assign team members and due dates to the cards to ensure accountability and then move them between the different lists to represent their current state. This level of visibility and responsibility does wonders for productivity.

Pull it all together

On their own, each of the five tools discussed above can have an immediate impact on the effectiveness of your business. However, the magic really happens when you start integrating them together into a system that is worth more than the sum of its parts. 

For us, we have a bright pink 'Fancy a chat' box on the home page, which offers potential customers a simple, no-obligation way to book a chat over a cup of coffee. Completing the booking request automatically creates:

  • a calendar event for one of the team, 
  • a new lead in our CRM system, 
  • a new task on the sales Trello board to be tracked, 
  • and it sends a message to the sales Slack channel to let us know a coffee chat was booked.

With one seemingly simple action of booking a chat, a complex, integrated business system is activated to ensure a high level of customer response and team visibility – all without us doing a thing!

Phil Vinall is a digital strategist at Webscope, an Auckland-based company that helps businesses with their websites and digital innovations, including apps and CRM systems.