2014-24-October-Auction.jpgAs a testament to Salesforce’s popularity, more than 100,000 sales professionals traveled to San Francisco for Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s annual conference for customers and end users. A diverse group of business leaders, politicians and artists gave keynotes, but the focus for most attendees was how to make their own operation better by using Salesforce.com and the tools and applications that can be integrated with the system.

Among the vendors at the trade show were dozens of technology providers that are part of the Salesforce.com ecosystem. They represent a mere fraction of the more than 1,700 applications that can be downloaded and loaded into a company’s “no-software” platform.

Sorting through this portfolio of options can be time consuming, so we have compiled the top five of services that can help you open more doors and close more deals more quickly, with less work and all while delivering a better customer experience.


Prospecting has never been easier with the amount of data we now have access to. The trick is bringing relevant data to your sales people so they can identify prospects or opportunities that match your buyer personas and who are more likely to need your solution.

You can easily get free news and information delivered right to your sales people about their contacts with tools like Redhot News. InsideView and Salesforce.com’s own data.com take it a step further, letting you focus only on prospects with compelling business events that may be in a position for services or products you offer. This can rapidly close the gap on what companies to focus on and who within a company is a decision maker or influencer even before you pick up the phone.

Cultivating Relationships

Not everyone is ready to buy the first time you call them. Successful organizations are integrating marketing automation tools to message prospects along the sales lifecycle. Beyond introductions and special offers, the new breed of sales professional are presenting themselves in email as helpful, thoughtful and knowledgeable leaders in their industry, ones capable of solving business problems, not just selling widgets.

MailChimp offers a free and simple system for delivering newsletter like messages to your lists, but if you want something more powerful, Marketo, Hubspot and Salesforce.com’s own Pardot offer significantly more advanced tools that are fully integrated. You can quickly build email campaigns that offer messaging at every step of the way and trigger off of your team’s activity.

Generating Proposals

Once you find a prospect and opportunity, many organizations develop formal business proposals outlining the services or products offered, terms and even requirements. The sad reality is that most companies struggle to integrate spreadsheets, documents, images and presentations into one PDF. Then once created and delivered, there is no insight on how it was received or if the prospect even read it.

Applications like Conga and Proposable plug into Salesforce.com and give you tools to build a great proposal utilizing almost any type of file or media, even video. Some of these tools can give you insights on if it was opened, how long it was read and other metrics so you can better understand the buyer’s aptitude for your offer and when you should follow up.

Coming to Terms

Getting a signed contract for most sales professionals is really the step of the process that is the most nerve racking. First you have to propose terms, then negotiate, all while learning a new language from lawyers and keeping up with emails, phone calls and faxes. Communications can easily get lost or mis-translated which will lead to fewer sales.

DocuSign and EchoSign give you an easy way to create, deliver and collaborate on legal documents without the mess and frustration. Just point, click, send and sign, all from a computer or iPad. This can significantly reduce the levels of anxiety and speed the process of nearly any deal.

Communication is Key

The boiler room style of sales teams is largely gone, thankfully, but the phone call is still a critical component of most sales processes and one that spans all stages of the funnel. With so many different types of communicators it is important to make sure calls and messages are delivered, every time. Calls also offer one of the best opportunities to get critical customer information. The trick is getting that detail into Salesforce.com and using it to your advantage.

Before anyone even answers a call, OfficeSuite Phone pops up contact and account information from prospects or customers with every incoming call. No searching, waiting or scrolling through contacts. Sales teams can streamline routine tasks like dialing with click to call functionality and log phone calls and notes from an integrated widget. Best of all, it works with real physical desk phones, yet there is no capital expense for new equipment. You already pay for a phone system, so switching to an integrated system is essentially free or may even save you money.

Salesforce.com decided long ago to let other companies improve their user’s experiences with add-ons and integrations. Smart move! Make the most of the system by trying some of these tools out for your team. Beta test with a few users and make sure to train, train, train.

Leave a comment below if you have any of your own favorites that have proven successful with your team.

Title image by English PEN (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license