• Alexander Burkart

6 Platforms To Help Build & Manage Relationships at Scale

There are plenty that possess the skills of a good salesperson, but why do some continue to have phenomenal years and others not? Jeb Blount, one of my favorite authors, says the reason is what he refers to as “Fanatical Prospecting,” or that relentless drive to keep prospecting in good and bad times, to always have leads in the pipeline, to always be building relationships, and to keep at it. There is no 9-5 for these types, they will skip lunch to seize a new opportunity, they never give up. They don’t make excuses, they don’t complain, they don’t live in fear “what if they say no?" or "what if this is a bad time?" They prospect even when they don’t feel like prospecting because they are driven to keep their pipeline full.


For those who subscribe to this relationship building philosophy, any edge that saves you time or helps you establish deeper connections is a godsend. Below are some of my favorite tools that help get the job done.


Salesforce Essentials: The CRM You Always Wish Existed

If you are sick of relying on excel spreadsheets to keep track of your contacts, Salesforce Essentials is the CRM platform you've been waiting for.


Obsessed with process design? Get ready to fall in love. This platform is made for the agile entrepreneur who doesn't just get the job done, they look for every opportunity to do it better.



Investment:

  • $300/year ($25/month) per user

  • They offer a 14 day free trial to test it out.

Favorite Features:

  • They have a basic setup option that for most people will be exactly what you need, and it's step-by-step guide makes it easy to start using the platform right away.

  • You can go beyond the basic setup option and create your own custom CRM, with an insane amount of process design customization options. You will need to watch a few tutorials, but again, the basic setup option provides a solid foundation to build off of. One specific feature I love is how you can create custom outreach stages for different communication flows, and then setup automation and tracking for different types of opportunities.

  • The platform integrates with Outlook-365 and Gmail, providing you access to automatically log emails, use email templates, and access all of the data you have within Salesforce without having to go back and forth between your email and the Salesforce app.

  • This feature is also great if you have a small team. When you pull up a contact or an account, you can see what other conversations your team has had with that account in order for you to respond accordingly. It makes it so much easier to make sure everyone is on the same page before they talk to prospects or customers. Check out the below video for a quick demo.


 

Wix: My Favorite Website Builder


Outreach without a digital presence is a missed opportunity.


Assuming you have LinkedIn and social media covered, the real meat and potatoes comes into play when you build your own website.


My all time favorite website builder is Wix.com.


Investment:

  • Personal: $14/month | Entrepreneur: $18/month |Pro & Enterprise: $23-39/month

  • Discounts are often available if you sign up for a free account and wait a few days for an email promotion for first time users.

  • Pricing plans and features: https://www.wix.com/upgrade/website

Favorite Features:

  • It's incredibly intuitive and easy to use.

  • They make integrating basic SEO principles very easy.

  • You can start with any number of templates, with new ones added regularly, or you can start from scratch and build a custom site with drag and drop building tools.

  • As a company, they have ambitious goals to be able to compete with Wordpress, and as such are always adding new features and updating the platform, helping you keep your site fresh as new trends hit the digital marketing space.

Websites I've built using Wix:

Wix is not for everyone. There are plenty of businesses I would recommend a custom built Wordpress site to effectively compete for hard to reach SEO goals, as well as for those that need a higher degree of customization. On the other hand though, for solopreneurs and small businesses with under $10M in revenue, Wix is an amazing platform that get's the job done and cost effectively I might add.


 

Canva: Graphic Design for Everyone


Need a quick graphic to spruce up the event invite you're about to send out? Or how about a full on client presentation that looks like you hired a designer to make you look like a boss?


Canva.com does have a feee option, but the premium version is oh so worth it! This is great for solopreneurs, design teams, and executive assistants for those quick turn around needs.


Investment:

  • Basic Version: Free

  • Pro Version: $120/year ($12.99/month)

  • Full feature list: canva.com/pricing

Favorite Features:

  • They have hundreds of pre-made templates and designs for every social media, digital, print, and marketing collateral need you could imagine, with millions of premium stock photos, illustrations, and elements to make your designs pop.

  • You can create your own brand kit that allows you to set colors, font styles, and upload logos so that you aren't going back and forth every time you create a new design.

  • Their learning platform is an asset in and of itself for non-graphic designers to learn easy tweaks for all-star level content that engages and inspires (canva.com/learn).

  • The presentation templates along with premium access to stock images, slide templates, and other design elements allow you to create Nancy Duarte grade presentations, and what's even better is you can save your designs as editable powerpoint files.

 

Mailtrack Pro


If you don't invest in Salesforce Essentials, which comes with a mail-tracking feature, and you also happen to use Gmail, you should check out Mailtrack.


I personally have both Salesforce and Mailtrack because of how Mailtrack integrates with Gmail and the time it saves not having to switch between platforms.


Investment:

Favorite Features:

  • It's easy for non-technical people to use.

  • It lets you see in real time when your emails have been opened, how many times they are opened, how many times links and attachments are clicked, and can be customized to notify you if emails have not been opened or if they are opened weeks, months, or even years after they are first sent.

  • For example, this app will remind you a day later if an email still hasn't been opened, which may be a good indication it went to their spam folder or that it got lost in their inbox and you should follow up with a phone call.

  • This is a great tool for sales teams too. Maybe your contact went back and looked at an email you sent a couple months ago, or maybe you sent a campaign of emails out and a cold lead opened your email a year later. These insights can be very valuable in both prospecting and managing current customer relationships.

 

Calendly


I'm sure there are plenty of other scheduling apps out there, but Calendly has been my favorite.


Investment:

Favorite Features:

  • With the individual plan, you can sync two calendars.

  • The Gmail integration makes it super easy to pick specific event types and paste them straight to your email, making scheduling time with you very efficient.

  • You can customize the branding of the booking page to add a layer of personalization.


 

Gmail's Schedule Send Feature


This is a simple one, but the schedule send feature is great for when your time to write an email is now, but it makes more sense for it to go out the next morning or after whatever holiday you are working through at the moment.


On that note, if it's work related, don't send emails on Holidays, and unless you have a true trusting relationship with someone, don't send them on weekends or after work hours either. You don't want to run the risk of annoying a prospect or a customer on their day off. That's why this tool is so great. If you're like me, and get a productive kick smack dab in the middle of a national holiday and you want to crank out a bunch of emails, this makes it easy to schedule them for when your reader will actually open them and not be annoyed that you're bothering them on their day off.


Investment:

  • Free

 

I'm always looking for ways to do just about everything better. If you have an app I need to check out, or better yet if the ones I have listed above have been outdone by someone else, let me know in the comments below.

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