What isn’t there an app for? There are flashlights, birthday reminders, talking pets and apps that help you find a parking space. And when it comes to popular business functions like calendars, managing contacts and “to-do” lists, there are endless apps to choose from. In fact, there are more than 1.2 million apps in Apple’s iPhone store.
With so many options to wade through, it’s valuable to know which apps have been road-tested by other busy sales reps and deemed worthy. Here, sales pros tell you which apps they just can’t live without. These select apps (some of which are free) offer convenience, time savings and more efficient ways to manage your prospects. Whether you’re out on sales calls using an iPhone, Android or tablet, these apps are worth swiping and tapping because they truly make your job easier.
Owner, Stitch To My Lue Promotions
Fave Apps: QuickBooks, ASI ESP
Denielle Lue, who founded Stitch to My Lue (asi/522754), is on the road about 60% of the time, meeting with clients and pursuing new ones. As a “one-woman show,” she especially appreciates two apps which minimize the number of follow-ups she needs to do at the end of the day.
The QuickBooks app, which goes along with the accounting software, gives her instant access to client contact information. “I don’t have to dig through emails or wait until I get back to the office,” says Lue.
If she’s in a meeting and a client can’t locate an invoice, she can simply pull it up on her phone and re-send right there. “Again, I don’t have to create a long to-do list that I have to check off at some point later in the day,” she says.
Also, Lue likes ASI’s ESP app that allows her to do research on products and show product information while she’s with clients rather than carting around stacks of catalogs. She says the app is “quite handy” since it shows everything from item information, price and supplier contact information on whichever device she has with her. Lue adds that both apps are great tools, neither of which required a tutorial to figure out how to use them.
Owner & CEO Quintain Marketing
Fave Apps: Basecamp, HubSpot
Kathleen Booth keeps Quintain Marketing (asi/303131) running smoothly thanks to the help of several apps: TimeFox for recording billable hours, Expensify for scanning and recording receipts and Hootsuite for social media management. But the two she gets the most value from are Basecamp for project management and HubSpot, an all-in-one marketing automation and inbound marketing platform.
“HubSpot provides me with a single platform from which to manage email, social media, my blog, SEO, contact and lead management, and analytics,” says Booth. “Through it, I can quickly get a ‘big picture’ overview of my company’s marketing performance.” In addition to saving time, HubSpot offers integrated analytics for all her marketing data in one place as opposed to piecing together analytics from a variety of tools.
Basecamp, which has “dramatically improved communication,” is a cloud-based tool for project management that allows Booth’s team to collaborate on client work from anywhere. “I can also provide clients with access to it so that they can track our progress and take part in discussions about projects,” she says.
Booth finds both apps reasonably priced. Basecamp has a starter package and HubSpot has a variety of packages that can scale to fit small to large organizations, allowing it to easily grow with your business.
Managing Partner, Brandito
Fave Apps: Salesforce, Hitch Inventory Management
Michael Lovern, co-founder of Brandito (asi/325944) likes his sales reps out and in front of customers, both existing and soon-to-be. So for his customer relationship management software, he likes Salesforce, which works on a variety of devices. “It is literally our lifeline when we’re on the road,” says Lovern. “It allows us to leave a meeting while everything is fresh in our minds and quickly document what we talked about and what’s necessary for follow-up.”
Lovern especially likes the ability to track opportunities. Having hard facts showing why business is closing, or not, enables him to plan effectively. “Being able to have that data and being able to try and find patterns within that data on why certain things are happening is the most valuable information you can have as a sales-based organization,” says Lovern.
While that app is a winner, Lovern couldn’t find a solution for the challenge of storage and fulfillment. Brandito continued to track inventory on a spreadsheet, then decided to create its own app.
Hitch Inventory Management, which is cloud-based, allows users to scan product data being stored, auto-generate a product label and print it. Inventory can be easily tracked and clients can stay up-to-date. “Not only can we run a quick report and put it in an Excel file, but we can also set an alert to say we need to reorder whenever we get below 10 pieces of a notebook,” says Lovern.
Hitch recently launched to other businesses with similar inventory needs.
Director of Market Development, Vayu Media (an SEO company)
Fave Apps: Expensify, SugarSync
Expensify promises to make “Expense reports that don’t suck!” Al Loise is a big fan since he can simply snap a photo of a receipt with his Android phone and upload it when he buys supplies, gets copies or takes someone for coffee.“Expenses still aren’t fun but it makes it less miserable,” says Loise. “It keeps track of it so you don’t have to worry about holding on to receipts,” he says.
His second must-have app is a file-sharing app called SugarSync. Loise especially likes the “magic briefcase” feature which allows him to upload files such as proposals and spreadsheets from his laptop which he can then access from his smartphone anytime, anywhere. “I can just pull it from the cloud as needed,” he says. “Perfect example: I was at the gym and a client requested ad specs, and I didn’t know them off the top of my head but I knew I’d saved them in my magic briefcase. I was able to search for the file and send it to them. It definitely makes your life easier.”
Licensed Real Estate Instructor and Social Media Speaker
Fave Apps: Evernote, Instagram
Marki Lemons-Ryhal, a frequent speaker at ASI Shows, has a rule about the apps she chooses. As a “freemium girl,” she only pays if there’s a vast difference between the free and premium.
Lemons-Ryhal has been using the free version of Evernote for several years. This suite of applications is cloud-based, accessible across all her devices (desktop, tablet, mobile phone) and organizes notes in just about any form.“It has great searchability, so it allows me to do audio notes, photo notes and handwritten notes. It basically categorizes all of my thoughts,” says Lemons-Ryhal, who adds with a Bluetooth-connected phone, you can record hands-free in your car.
She is considering upgrading Evernote to get a feature which allows you to manage business cards. “When I’m at an ASI Show, I’ll be able to use my phone to scan business cards,” she says. “ It will instantly link with my LinkedIn, and if we’re not already connected, it will allow me to send an invitation.”
Another app she uses every day is a bit of a surprise. “People might not think of Instagram as a business app per se, but we live in a visual society,” says Lemons-Ryhal.
After taking a photo on a mobile device, Instagram allows you to share it with five social networking sites. For example, Lemons-Ryhal can take a photo of a promo mock-up and instantly share it on Facebook, Twitter, Foresquare, Flickr and Tumblr. Next, she takes a photo when she delivers the order to her client. If it’s T-shirts, she takes a selfie with the business owner wearing the shirt. With apps that enable instant sharing, she goes by the COPE rule, “Create Once, Post Everywhere - where socially acceptable!”
VP of Field Operations, Cloudera
Fave App: SteelBrick
A few years ago, when Lars Nilsson was managing his own consulting practice, he was introduced to a variety of technology companies looking for an easy-to-manage, configure price quote (CPQ) solution that could scale with their business. “I ran into SteelBrick as I was looking for the right tool to implement, and it became evident early on that it was an ideal fit for companies looking to build a robust CPQ solution on the Salesforce platform,” says Nilsson.
SteelBrick helps customers create professional sales quotes. The tool helps ensure quotes and proposals are complete, accurate and customized to your customers. “It’s easy to implement and manage, and also provides all the features and functionality of a best-in-class CPQ tool,” says Nilsson.
Nilsson says it reduces the margin for error in quoting that sales reps face when doing manual quotes – a benefit which has already saved Cloudera money. “It also saves account executives time through its point-and-click configuration and dynamic quote templates,” he says. “For my team specifically, it provides detailed information around pricing and quoting habits of my sales team to better assess how we need to pivot as a company.”
Sales Trainer and Author
Fave Apps: PayPal and Square mobile payment, ProMo Mobility
Mobile commerce gives sales pros the ability to complete transactions in the field. Being able to swipe a card through a plug-in on your phone eliminates the delay of calling in a credit card number or getting back to the office only to find you didn’t write the number down clearly enough.
“Sometimes you come across clients who are ready to do business right away, and I’ve found that having the ability to do a transaction on the spot is a powerful thing,” says Johnny Campbell, who has led ASI Show seminars on technology topics. He likes that it’s “immediate and very cost effective” to use the PayPal or Square apps.
Another must-have app was recently launched by ProMo Mobility, a Santa Monica, CA-based company that entered into an agreement with ASI to tap the resources of its ESP database and help suppliers and distributors create mobile-friendly websites. Campbell is highly aware of the need for suppliers and distributors to be well- connected. “This app is going to revolutionize the promotional products industry,” he says.
Reps can view products in a mobile-friendly format so if a supplier comes out with new items, the distributor can view them immediately. “Now you can have a deeper relationship with your clients. You can let them know about promotions, opportunities, new things that are coming out – you have a direct connection to them,” says Campbell. “People always have their phones nearby.”
Marketing Specialist & Sales Professional, Zco Corporation (a mobile app development company)
Fave App: Meeting Mapper
Kathryn Bisson was already a fan of Salesforce, so she was happy to try Meeting Mapper, which can be linked to that popular customer relationship management tool. “The application allows me to record meetings, note who is for or against my service, note who to follow up with and then syncs all my notes to SalesForce,” she says.
Bisson, whose company developed the app, likes the visual design of the application. It acts as a “meeting photograph” where she can view everything in one easy-to-navigate solution. Also, Meeting Mapper saves time since she can add notes during meetings. She especially likes the ability to add action items. “I like to know when is best to reach my clients, how long to wait after the meeting, and who I should be following up with,” says Bisson. “By having the app with me at all times, I am able to update the application and again sync the notes to Salesforce so when I return to the office, I have the next steps.”
Prior to Meeting Mapper, Bisson would take her computer or a notebook and pen to meetings, then return to the office and update her notes in Salesforce. Doing those same functions on a device is a big improvement. “Mobile can enhance a business’s productivity and improve sales just by providing the sales team a new outlet to enhance what they already do best,” she says.