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9 Tools And Services to Boost Sales for Your Small Business

9 Tools And Services to Boost Sales for Your Small Business

No matter how big or how small a business is, it can always benefit from tools that will help to boost sales. It is particularly important for small business owners to take advantage of these tools, because as we all know, it isn’t always easy to generate profits all the time. Let’s take a look at some of the best tools we have found that will help boost sales for your small business.

1. Level Eleven

level 11

    This sales performance platform will help increase productivity within your sales team. Enjoy real-time visibility of everyday performance, define important sales behaviors, and keep your team on the right track with goals. Your sales reps will have personalized analytics, peer comparisons about performance data, historical trends, and the ability to get excited about campaigns.

    2. Clari

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    clari

      Here is a productivity platform that takes advantage of data science to improve the performance of sales teams. Use it increase productivity and increase the accuracy of forecasting, give sales reps mobile alerts to sales insights, keep deals from getting delayed or lost all together, improving communication within your team, and more.

      3. Yodle

      yodle

        This tool gives you a great marketing platform, with many business automation services referred to as marketing essentials. You can use the services that are geared to generate local listings in over 50 business directories. This is going to make your business a lot more visible to the public, and generate more sales over time.

        4. SalesAutopilot

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        sales autp

          This is a great marketing, sales, and CRM tool that all business owners should take advantage of. There are many services for small business owners, including support ticket tracking and customer feedback. You will get just what you need for email marketing, at an affordable price. This is the ideal all-in-one tool for the small business owner on a tight budget.

          5. Opporty

          opporty

            This is a social platform for businesses of all sizes. You will be able to offer products and services to clients, post and share content, hire new employees, work with other businesses, and a whole lot more. Features include the ability to interact with businesses and individuals closely, increase revenues, showcase skills, and more.

            6. Clever Solution

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            clever solution

              You need to have a great digital presence, and this service can help you get just that. Not only will you have a great website, you will also be able to greatly increase your customer base, which is going to increase sales. Web designs are unique, and visitors will keep reading because they are interested.

              7. RegFox

              reg fox

                If you are planning a conference or an event, this tool is a good one to have for event registration services. You can keep all of the processing fees from ticket sales, unlike many similar services. There is a fee of less than $1 per attendee, but it is still a lot cheaper than the competition (at least $50 cheaper).

                8. Repsly

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                repsly

                  This is a B2B mobile cloud solution that allows for better management of field activity. You can track the activity of your sales reps, and then take steps to make better decisions that will affect your profit margin. Features include mobile feedback forms, easy collaboration, personalized and structured databases with customer fields, the ability to take electronic signatures, and many more.

                  9. Sellsy

                  sellsy

                    If you are looking for a total package in a sales management solution, this is it. It will integrate CRM (Customer relationship management), ERP (Enterprise resource planning), and eCommerce, improving productivity by combining business functions into one interface that is easy to use. Features include a task management tool, the ability to send sales documents using the intuitive document generator, and giving your business better collaboration among team members.

                    Featured photo credit: Jordan Donaldson via unsplash.com

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                    Jane Hurst

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                    Last Updated on December 5, 2018

                    How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

                    How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

                    Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

                    We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

                    How do they do it?

                    By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

                    1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

                    There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

                    If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

                    2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

                    Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

                    According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

                    Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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                    3. Demand Learning from Your Team

                    CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

                    “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

                    His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

                    Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

                    “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

                    Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

                    4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

                    Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

                    Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

                    • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
                    • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
                    • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
                    • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
                    • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
                    • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

                    5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

                    Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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                    Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

                    • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
                    • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
                    • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
                    • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
                    • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

                      “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

                    Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

                    6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

                    The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

                    Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

                    You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

                    7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

                    Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

                    But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

                    On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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                    • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
                    • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
                    • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
                    • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

                    8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

                    Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

                    When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

                    9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

                    The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

                    What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

                    Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

                    10. Empower Your Employees

                    Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

                    They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

                    Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

                    You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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                    If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

                    11. Nurture Your Company Culture

                    Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

                    Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

                    However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

                    Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

                    Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

                    Be a Leader, Not a Boss

                    Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

                    However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

                    In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

                    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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