Must-Know: 20+ Tools and Hacks to Reduce Sales Admin Work & Improve Sales Productivity

20 tools for reducing sales admin work and increasing productivity

While reviewing our own sales tech stack here at Signority to find more opportunities for automation and workflow simplification, we chatted with our new friends at SalesWings to pick their brain. That turned into a very comprehensive list they were kind enough to share with us, and you below. So, read on and start making your sales team a lot more productive this new year!
The working day of a sales professional is always too short, and sometimes it can feel like there’s not enough time to, well, sell! Indeed, a 2015 study by Cirrus Insight showed that sales professionals spend less than half of their time selling. This statistic was also confirmed by Alice Heiman, founder and Chief Sales Officer of sales consulting and coaching firm Alice Heiman LLC.
It’s an egg-and-chicken situation: sales professionals need to sell more, but they have too many other tasks that prevent them devoting more time to selling. So, the first step to boosting sales professionals’ productivity is to automate basic admin tasks. This will give sales professionals more time to actually sell.  
Below are some tips and tools to help sales professionals spend less time on admin and more time selling.

Schedule time you want to dedicate to administration

First of all, sales professionals should schedule administrative blocks outside of calling hours, in the same way they schedule all other tasks such as meetings with clients. Nevertheless, David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, says that if a task requires less than 2 minutes of your attention, then you should do it. Getting quick and easy tasks out of the way immediately can benefit your productivity measurably.

Use a sales-oriented CRM

There is no doubt that CRM systems can help sales professional stay organized and focused. However, a common complaint sales professionals have is: “CRM is time consuming and reduces selling time”. It has to be said that CRMs are becoming more advanced and intuitive, thus meaning that a greater number of tasks can be automated to save time. For example, Salesforce can automatically update the activity on the contact or lead’s record, meaning there is no need for manual updates.
Three kinds of tools can help to boost your CRM:

  1. Tools that allow to you synchronize your email (Outlook or Gmail) with a CRM.

    Salesforce: Salesforce is probably the most well-known CRM. It has a huge eco-system of partner apps for all possible aspects like contact “hygiene” (check RingLead), email marketing (try Sendloop), a handy lead scoring system (Saleswings add-on) and even Gamification (Ambition). For instance, all you have to do is go to the AppExchange to find 1,000s of tools that allow sync between email and Salesforce. One of our favorites is ZynBit, which also delivers excellent customer analytics.
    Pipedrive: a CRM and pipeline management tool which focuses on key features for sales and a visible pipeline view. Pipedrive syncs perfectly with Gmail and Outlook, so that your team never need enter a contact twice. Pipedrive as Salesforce also integrates with several tools such as Saleswings lead scoring add-on for Pipedrive.
    Nimble: Nimble is a social CRM that updates your entire contact database thanks to great integrations with all social channels. “No data entry”! At Saleswings, we are also fans of their mobile app which offers great usability and provides “social insights” for each contact you’re planning to meet. Nimble uses third-party integration: PieSync. PieSync allows you to integrate Gmail & Outlook contacts within Nimble. That means that all your email contacts can be synchronized with Nimble contacts.

  2. Tools to synchronize your CRM and business cards

    A great tool that works with all the most popular CRM is FullContact. FullContact works with Zapier to import business cards into various CRM tools, and can automatically capture contacts from email signatures. All sales professionals have to do is keep sending emails and contact data entry gets automated. This is a huge time saver. FullContact is more than just a business card synchronizer. It is an address book hub that allows you to synchronize your contacts across multiple social media accounts. It keeps contacts up to date (picture, company, email address) and most importantly removes duplicates. Another good and popular alternative is MagneticOne Business Card Reader. As with FullContact, you can Snap a photo of the business card and it will import all the data directly into the CRM. 

  3. Tools to remove duplicate data in your CRMs

    Duplicate data is a pain in the neck for all CRM users. The consequences range from multiple spacing from inaccurate reports to taking the wrong decision due to inaccurate metrics. Unfortunately, there is no miracle! Duplicates are part of sales life; leads submit forms and sales teams input manual entries. The solution is to use tools that detect and eliminate duplicates automatically. For instance, RingLead and Data Cleanser detect and eliminate duplicates within Salesforce.

Avoid falling into the email trap

Email is the most important means of communication for most sales people (apart from their phones). However, salespeople shouldn’t be sucked into email administration.
Five kinds of tools can support a sales professional’s email productivity:

  1. Email tracking and lead scoring

    Saleswings is a fully automated add-on for advanced Lead Activity Scoring. Sales professionals send an email (Outlook or Gmail) with a link to the website and Saleswings identifies the most sales-ready leads based on their website activity as well as scoring their level of engagement/interest. The Saleswings lead scoring add-on also works with campaign tools such as MailChimp, forms and CRM such as Salesforce and Pipedrive. It automatically notifies the sales team about a lead’s interest, acting as an opportunity radar. This allows the sales team to focus their resources and time on the hottest leads.

  2. Email templates

    Here at Saleswings, we use Gorgias. Gorgias allows you to insert templates with shortcuts. and includes variables like the recipient’s name or the subject.

  3. Email personalization tools

    To personalize emails and avoid spending too much time looking for information about the prospect, I would advise salespeople to use Crystal, Charlie and Datanyze.
    CrystalCrystal can tell you what to write in an email or how to create a message that engages the person in a way they’d expect from you.
    Charlie: Charlie synchronizes with Google Calendar and sends you a one-page resume on everyone you’re going to meet with, before you see them.
    Datanyze: Datanize has many incredible features, but one of the most unique is knowing which technologies your prospects are using. It is important to know if your prospect is using your competitor’s software or software that integrates with your own.

  4. Tools to keep track of time spent on emails and online in general

    There are a variety of time tracking tools available today, from those targeting time spent on a particular project to those tracking time spent on a particular activity online, such as emailing, blogging, micro-blogging, browsing, or just plain social networking. Two good tools are RescueTime and TwentyFive.
    RescueTimeRescueTime not only informs you about your daily activities but also allows you to set the number of hours you want to spend in a day on a particular site. RescueTime will alert you if you run out of time.
    TwentyFivethe main idea behind TwentyFive is to record your time using the Pomodoro Technique.

  5. Electronic signature solution to simplify & automate contract signing

    The advantages of an e-signature are evident for anyone who has ever had to deal with a paper-based signature. The latter involved a lot of paper waste and back-and-forth between the person that needed to sign and the company. Hugely time consuming!
    Thanks to electronic signatures, deals are closed faster and there is less administration involved. Signority is a great example of an electronic signature tool which offers the ability among many other things to let your sales team send a contract out and set automatic follow-up email reminders as well as notifications when your client has opened, viewed and signed the contract. This is incredibly important as following up during these key events can help lose or close many deals.

Optimize your route when visiting clients

Clients are often located in different parts of the city or country, so salespeople need to spend time organizing their day and scheduling visits. One hell of a job! However, there are tools such as Badger Maps that make field sales reps’ lives easier. Badger Map puts the user’s territory on a map on their device, showing them where their customers are and offering new leads that they didn’t know about. Basically, what it does is connect into the CRM and give reps access to the data in the CRM on a map, when they are out in the field.

In conclusion, reducing administrative work is essential to allow sales professionals to do their job – selling. Using just some of the apps above will allow you to cut your admin time. The real secret is to go digital, and to use a more digital approach.

About the author

The author Sara is a digital marketing specialist at Saleswings, a website tracking and lead scoring add-on. The software identifies your most sales-ready leads based on their website activity. It analyzes your leads’ past and future visits and scores their level of engagement/interest.