2018's top tools to assist your sales and marketing teams

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

A round-up of tools for smarter sales and marketing in 2018

The right tools can mean the difference between success and failure. Not only will they make your life easier, but they have the power to make your sales and marketing teams work smarter, not harder.

Here we round-up some of the best customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, event management and prospecting tools every marketer needs to know in 2018.

Save time with focused prospecting

It’s vital to keep your objectives in mind when prospecting new business. While methods may vary from industry to industry, it’s important to keep sight of your goals.

Tools like LinkedIn Premium offer a lot in the way of searching for people by job description, location, and much more, allowing you to create lists and target decision makers in your niche.

For exclusive insight and up to the minute contact details for the UK’s key marketing and digital decision makers, Upstream is the perfect tool. It provides you with everything you need to effectively prospect new clients. You get access to the latest sector and company news, create lists, add custom notifications and alerts and add relevance to your approach.

For agencies or businesses who value media coverage as part of their marketing strategy, Gorkana is a media and journalism database loaded with opportunities. It allows you to create lists based on industry, topic area or by publisher. A top key feature is their media requests section, which is essentially a request for information, whitepapers, or interviews from a particular industry or professional.

Add lifetime customer value with the best CRM tools

CRM software takes your customer data and turns it into useful insights that can be actioned to transform your business. You can use this data to maximise opportunities and increase lifetime customer value.

Hubspot is one of the strongest CRM platforms we’ve come across and our system of choice. It’s visually pleasing, easy to use and understand, and best of all, is free. It has Gmail and Outlook integration, offers email scheduling and tracking, call and meeting logging, lead flows and much more.

SageCRM is a great example of a fully integrated CRM, although you can also build your own package by picking and choosing modules to suit your business. Beyond desktop, it offers a mobile app (available on iOS or Android) which offers great functionality as mobile software goes. Particularly useful in the age of remote working.

For small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), Salesforce is a great option. Its nifty Journey Builder feature helps you to create an easy-to-understand, visual flowchart of your customer journeys. This allows you to connect your marketing and align your message and customer service at every customer touch point.

For a cloud-based solution, WORKetc is an all-in-one web based CRM platform. Its strengths lie in not only allowing you to manage customers and deals but also ongoing projects and support tickets. What’s more, it has a seamless integration with Google’s G Suite, as well as the popular accounting software, Xero.

Make life easier with automated marketing

Automated marketing, if done well, will make you more efficient without compromising the authenticity of the content you are producing. In turn, automated marketing can help you achieve your goals quicker.

Not only is Hubspot one of the better CRM platforms we’ve come across, it is also a fantastic tool for automating your marketing. Hubspot have a knowledge hub loaded with tips for getting the most out of your campaigns. The underlying message is to revisit your goals and focus on sending highly-targeted marketing to a narrowed audience. Hubspot and Mailchimp integrate well for targeted email marketing campaigns.

For small businesses who only need basic email marketing functionality, Constant Contact is ideal. It has a low price point while offering features a small business can benefit from – such as email templates.

Elevate your events with event management tools

Digital tools for event teams can make scheduling and executing an event a breeze. A good tool will assist with managing the end-to-end workflow – from planning and logistics through registration, lead capture and follow up; whether this is for a single large event or a busy calendar of smaller or regional happenings.

RainFocus is an emerging tool that offers just that. It can help event marketers operate more efficiently, assist with measuring ROI, and work hand in hand with your CRM. Rainfocus utilises data to turn event crowds into sales opportunities.

WebEvents Global is another great tool for events management. It’s a cloud-based system which offers registration management such as check-in and payments, email marketing, content management, room bookings and much more.

Wrapping up

When planning ahead for your sales and marketing teams in 2018, be sure to readdress your goals and KPIs. Time spent researching and starting out with a new digital tool will pay off tenfold in the long run.

Digital tools can help you know your customer journey better and allow you to align your marketing message to your goals at each touchpoint. They can elevate your existing efforts, make your team’s workload easier, focus your prospecting, and improve the lifetime value of your existing customers.

Katy Crouch is search marketing executive at Selesti.

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