Five Incredibly Useful Tools Every Connected Salesperson Needs

Which computer are reading this on right now? Depends on where you are.

At any given time, I may be working any of four machines — at my desk on a Windows desktop computer, in Starbucks on  my Windows laptop, on a plane tapping on my iPad Mini, or in line somewhere thumbing my iPhone. Many of the sellers I work with live in a similar multi-gadget world.

Each one has our contacts, our calendars, our office paperwork, and our proposals. Our lives are on these things. How do we keep them all connected?

Tech cat compfight cc

Photo Credit: Annamagal via Compfight cc

 Here are five tools I use to keep it all straight:

Evernote: Twenty years ago I was the guy whose desk looked like a bomb had gone off. Papers scattered everywhere… piles on top of piles. I insisted I knew where everything was. I was lying. Now most of the paper’s gone — I scan it or snap a picture with my phone, upload it to Evernote, and throw it away. Evernote is the file cabinet I keep everything in, with a search function so powerful I can find anything by typing in a few keywords. There’s an app for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, so you can keep it all connected. There’s a free version, with a Premium going for $45 a year.

Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanner: Somehow all that paper has to get into Evernote. I good scanning device makes the job so much easier. I’ve been using the Scansnap for a couple of years now. It’s very compact, so it doesn’t take up much room on my desk; scans smoothly and quickly, and you can set it to deposit documents directly into Evernote, into another folder on your computer, or attached to an email. The only thing it can’t do is travel. For a while I brought a Neat Receipt portable scanner with me on the road, but I was never thrilled with it. These days on the road I can just take a photo with my phone (Evernote connects to the camera).

CompanionLink: I’m constantly making calendar entries and adding contacts, on whatever device I have handy at the time. It’s Outlook on the Desktop/Laptop, plus the calendar and contact apps on my phone and tablet. Companionlink for Outlook keeps it all straight. An entry into Outlook is sent, via CompanionLink, to Google, which then syncs with my phone and tablet. The new CompanionLink 6 does it in real time, so I no longer have to sync manually. As of this writing, you can buy a license outright for $49.95 or pay $14.95 a month for a subscription. They offer a 14-day free trial.

Calendly: Here’s the problem this is designed to solve: You are trying to schedule three separate meetings with three separate clients, all of whom have asked when you’re available during the same week. You can send each of them a list of available times, knowing full well that your schedule is going to change five minutes after you send it, and that two of your customers are going to choose the same time.

I just started using Calendly in the past few days in an effort to solve this issue. Calendly syncs with your Google calendar. You set the parameters (length of the meeting, days/times you’re willing to be available, etc). Calendly gives you a web link to send out. Your customers only see the times you’ve made available; each time someone chooses a time, the meeting shows up on your calendar and that time disappears from what everyone else sees. If you’ve got Google syncing with your devices (see CompanionLink, above), the process should be seamless. There’s a free version, and a significantly more robust paid version for 10 bucks a month (8 if you pay for a year in advance). I’ve only been using it a few days on a 14-day free trial, and my opinion may change, but so far I like it a whole bunch.

Wunderlist — I’ve struggled with To-Do lists for years. Outlook was too inflexible. Evernote’s Reminders has some good features, but I found it too hard to keep track of everything on a day-to-day basis. Enter Wunderlist, an app that does the “to-do” thing and nothing else. You can categorize tasks (work, home, errands, “at computer”, etc), and set due dates when appropriate. It gives you the ability to look at a single day or the week at a glance. Tasks disappear with a satisfying check of a box. There’s a web version, along with apps for Windows 8, Mac,  iOS, and Android, and the devices sync through the cloud. They’ve got a free version, along with a “Pro” option for five dollars a month. I’ve done just fine with the free one so far.


Question: What’s your favorite indispensable tech tool? Tell us all about it! You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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