With some applied ingenuity Google Apps and associated tools can be used for sales management in a small business.
It's a long, hard, lonely road for the enterprise sales professional who doesn't have some kind of kind of sales solution that allows them to get automatic data on all of their sales prospects. Imagine if you called a prospect's office only to find out that 1/3 of their company had been let go because a merger - a merger that you didn't know about?
Sales enablement solutions prevent sales professionals from making that kind of blunder. These days, even the high-end ones like InsideView offer some kind of free solution. If you're in sales and you've never used something like this, I suggest you try it. You may not need to use Google Alerts again, if you do.
That being said, there's still some tools that you can't always find easily using a great sales enablement solution. This article lists some of the big things that sales professionals can find using Google Apps and tools.
- Google News Alerts: While these are not as targeted or precise as what you'd get out of a sales enablement solution, they are delivered just as frequently. You should be getting alerts on your top 100 accounts and top prospects. Otherwise, somebody else will.
- Google+: It's really, really easy to add a Google Plus account to your social media software (e.g. SocialSprout, ConstantContact, etc.). For less than five minutes of additional work, you allow your customers and prospects to engage with you in a new channel.
- Google Checkout: If you're a sales professional at a smaller company that's looking to help your firm dip your toes into eCommerce without going "full-on eCommerce," then Google Checkout could be a good way to get started. This is an especially good fit if you already have a low-converting basic shopping-cart solution. Sales professionals love it when they get credit for a sale that their customers made without them on the phone, right?
- The Apps Marketplace: The Google Apps Marketplace is no joke, especially if you're looking for small enterprise or small business sales solutions. There's one other strange note here - OracleCRMonDemand actually has a solution available for Google Apps that very few people know about.
Sales professionals that don't yet have a CRM system can really benefit from the Apps Marketplace. There are some very cool sales applications in there, including some that handle some very niche sales categories:
To dig a level deeper than this post, definitely download this great presentation done by my Canadian friends Kersten Kloss and Chris Hamilton at Sales Tip A Day Consulting. It's called - you guessed it - Google For Sales (PDF).