Not enough time or too much time. That’s what it’s all about these days. Time is a commodity and saving a few minutes here or there can be a life changer – especially for sales organizations that are tied to quotas, tight deadlines, and seemingly insurmountable emails.
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Check out these 6 productivity tools that I use every day to save me those precious seconds:
1. Egg Timer
A quick and easy-to-use timer. If you’re like me, you enjoy working in intervals and keeping track of how much time you’ve spent on a particular task. Egg timer allows you to easily set timers and stay focused on the task at hand.
Create a daily to-do list and allot a certain amount of time next to it (e.g. review proposal – 20 minutes). As you go through your list of tasks, set your timer and get to work! Keep your phone on silent or turned upside down to eliminate distractions and be strict with time estimates to avoid coasting!
2. Auto Text Expander (browser extension)
This tool is no different than keyboard shortcuts on your smartphone. As a salesperson, my follow-up emails often begin with “Nice chatting with you earlier, glad we had some time to connect!”. Rather than spending 10-seconds to type this out, I have a keyword that generates this sentence (and several others).
Another example of using this tool is searching on LinkedIn. I typically look for the same 5-10 keywords in a job title (Digital Marketer, VP Marketing, Mobile Marketer, etc.), and know this could be much more efficient. By using Auto Text Expander, I can quickly populate these 5-10 keywords within LinkedIn’s advanced search tool.
Here’s a quick video summary.
Rapportive is a Gmail plugin that displays your prospect’s LinkedIn profiles and other social properties right within Gmail. It spares you the time of having to open a new tab, go to LinkedIn and manually search for your prospect.
Once you’ve installed Rapportive, all you need to do is hover over an email to prompt the sidebar display (if available). This is perfect for salespeople to learn more about their prospect prior to getting on the phone with them.
Connectifier captures contact information while viewing a LinkedIn profile. Land on a contact’s profile page and Connectifier will display email addresses, phone numbers, personal websites, and the prospect’s full name (rather than only an initial) in the right-hand sidebar.
If you know the right contact but don’t have their info, Connectifier will be your new friend.
Prospect is another tool that works from LinkedIn – it’s Connectifier on steroids and syncs seamlessly with Salesforce. Quickly capture boatloads of prospect intelligence and directly add it into Salesforce.
Their email acquisition functionality is also impressive. With one click, Prospect will test every email syntax until the right match is found. Once you have the proper email syntax (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), you can reach out to whoever you please at that company.
They charge $75/month (totally worth it!) and are headquartered in my home country, Canada. Obviously I’m a big fan. :)
6. Yet Another Mail Merge
Yet Another Mail Merge – or YAMM, for short – works from within Google Docs and allows you to send ‘moderately’ personalized emails in bulk to prospects. You can customize the name, company, website, and any other fields you wish. Note, there is a bit of a learning curve, so make sure you give yourself enough time.
The perfect use case for Mail Merge is with general follow-ups. If you have a group of people that told you timing wasn’t great at that moment and you haven’t heard from in awhile, you can pop them into a Google Spreadsheet and fire off hundreds of emails to all of those people in no time.
Disclaimer: using mail merge can make you lazy – don’t let that happen.
Bonus Tips & Tricks:
1. Pin Browser Tabs
Minimize browser clutter by ‘pinning’ your most used tabs. Right click on a tab and you’ll see an option to “Pin Tab”. The tab will shrink into an icon size so you can fit a bunch of your favorite tabs in a small space. Plus, the pinned tabs will lock into place. I use Google Chrome and to my knowledge, this functionality is available in most browsers, although enabling it may differ.
My pinned tabs include my calendar, Spotify, Salesforce, Whatsapp and a few others.
If you’re going to have 20 tabs open, you might as well condense the ones you keep open every day.
2. Undo Send for Gmail
Spare yourself some embarrassment with this handy Gmail add-on. How many times have you typed the wrong name and realized it only after you hit the send button? This nifty tool gives you a 5-second grace period to undo your send and avoid a potential blunder.
To enable this feature, go to your Gmail Settings (gear icon, top right) then head over to the Labs tab.
This one’s more for security measures, but still an integral part of my day-to-day. We all know that having the same password for all of your different accounts is a bad idea. It’s even worse to have simple passwords (words, phrases, etc.).
1Pass allows you to manage and encrypt all of your account logins and secure information in one central control panel. You only need to remember one master password to enter your control panel. I currently have 23 logins/passwords stored in there and could not imagine trying to remember all of these myself. 1Pass also syncs with your smartphone so you’re not a hostage to your desktop.
4. LinkedIn Boolean Search
LinkedIn has much more functionality beyond checking out people’s job profiles and reading articles. Here’s a list of LinkedIn’s command-based searches to help you quickly narrow down your prospects:
1. AND – Used to look for something AND something (e.g. sales AND manager)
2. OR – Used to look for something OR something (e.g. sales OR manager)
3. NOT – Used to filter out any result with the specified search term (e.g. recruiter NOT teacher)
4. (Parenthesis) – Used to group together your OR terms (e.g. (marketer OR marketing)
5. “Quotations” – Used to search for an exact phrase (e.g. “mobile marketer”)
Note: these operators must be written in capitals with spaces on each side
Familiarize yourself with these commands to boost your efficiency when navigating through the wonderful world of LinkedIn.
There you have it. Those are the productivity tools, tips and tricks that I use to help me save time, work more efficiently, and spare myself the occasional embarrassment. I encourage you to try them out and see which ones work for you!
What are some productivity tools that you can’t live without?