Inbound Sales, Social Selling, Smarketing... the list goes on, advances in sales that are supposed to help us to find a way to get through the increasingly thick fog that separates sellers from buyers. The fog that has grown through distrust, badgering and increasingly desperate sales reps trying to find new business in a cluttered marketplace. Buyers don't buy the way they used to and hitting targets seems like more of an uphill struggle than ever.

I have recently started using the HubSpot sales tools - many of which don't cost anything so you'd be bonkers not to have a go - and thought I'd share a couple of things that I find really useful - because right now, sales teams need every extra advantage they can lay their hands on!

Email tools - I love these!! My personal favourite is the feature that gives you full visibility on what is happening with emails you sent. I know when people open my emails and what links they are clicking on. Prospects are very time poor and knowing someone has just read an email, clicked on a link and engaged with what you sent means you can put in a call at just the right time! 20 minutes later and your prospect might be doing something else (or talking to a competitor). Remember that proposal you sent to Bob 5 weeks ago, imagine knowing he'd just opened the email and being able to put in a call and see what he thinks?

Templates - email templates can be really useful - as long as you take the time to contextualise and personalise each one before sending - you can also get stats on open rates for a particular template, allowing you to test new ideas for subject lines and see what works best for engaging your prospects.

Meeting scheduler - I imagine most people are using these now? I can add a link to my email sig that people can click on to book a call or meeting with me. It syncs up with my diary and saves a whole load of calls or emails to and fro to work out a time when everyone that needs to be present is available.

CRM - If you work in sales and enjoy using a CRM call me, you are either one in a million or a liar. Most sales people hate CRM's and most sales managers spend far too much of their time badgering their team into updating the CRM. The HubSpot one that I use means I can create a new record with a couple of clicks (no laborious filling in of boxes) and then automatically logs all my calls and emails to that company, along with their interactions with our website and marketing emails.

Social Selling assists - I also like that I can plug in a prospects LinkedIn & twitter urls and the CRM will include their tweets and updates in the timeline, great for knowing what they are thinking about.

I defy anyone to not find themselves at least 10% more productive with these tools and for sales managers, imagine the difference to the bottom line if your whole team is focused on active buyers rather than chasing long shots or "just checking in" with people that will never buy!

Feel free to get in touch ( if you want to know a bit more, I'm happy to point you in the right direction.