3 Sales Tools to Help Your Marketing Efforts

Sales process is what makes your business success or failure. It’s what makes your company profitable. Therefore picking a good tool is crucial

Here are three tools that will boost your sales and help your marketing efforts:

Pipedrive

How do you close a deal? With proper engagement! At least that is the theory behind this sales engagement platform.

Pipedrive is an affordable customer relationships management platform that organize your sales process to its maximum efficiency.

  • The pipeline view feature categorizes leads by sales stage allowing you or your team to develop a clear understanding of your sales priorities and refocus efforts accordingly.
  • The statistics tool shows you the health of your pipeline and the stages that need improvement.
  • Drag-and-drop interface, foolproof menus and visual layout make adding deals, contacts and activities to your pipeline smooth and easy.

The best thing about Pipedrive is that it integrates with Ringostat, the powerful call tracking tool that lets you get more calls from your ads and landing pages. Using the two tools together you can achieve maximum efficiency allowing your sales team to focus on sales rather than recording what you do. Your calls are being automatically rerecorded in Pipedrive dashboard for you to analyze and keep the historical records.

Pipedrive Ringostat

With Ringostat Pipedrive integration you and your team are benefited from:

  1. automated sales process when dealing with calls
  2. customized call analytics in your sales pipeline
  3. controlled performance of each sales person
  4. all recorded calls and deals

Boomerang for Gmail

Boomerang

Boomerang for Gmail is a free app that lets you schedule emails to go out on a later. It lets you take control of when you send and receive email messages.

  • Write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the perfect time by clicking the Send Later button.
  • Use a handy calendar picker or the text box that understands language like “next Monday” to tell Boomerang when to send your message.

There may be lots of reasons why you’ll find this app awesome:

  • Send a pitch and set a follow-up in a week or more
  • Sleep on things you are not sure about
  • Schedule emails to go our when other scheduled tasks happen (e.g. when your scheduled article goes live)

If you prefer manual follow-ups, Boomerang will remind you of an email you must not forget.

  • Click the Boomerang button when you have an email open, and choose when you need it again.
  • Boomerang will archive your message. At the time you choose, Boomerang will bring it back to your inbox, marked unread, starred or even at the top of your message list.

You can also set reminders to make sure you follow up within a specific time frame after sending a message.

You can try it out for free before deciding if you need it!

Contractually

contactually

Contractually is another one of those tools that helps you find more worthwhile prospects and prioritizes them. But it does so using your email contacts, past messages, and other information built from your Google or Office360 account.

Contractually is a relationship building platform that is designed specifically to help you stay in touch over time with most important business relationships.

  • Import your contacts from Gmail, Office 360, Exchange or IMAP
  • Put your most important relationships, the ones you cannot afford to fall out of touch with, into "Bucket"
  • Each bucket has a follow-up time you can set
  • When you put someone into a specific Bucket, Contractually will remind you to follow up within the timeframe you had set for this bucket

That means no more falling out of touch and no more missed opportunities.

That’s the core of Contractually:

  • Categorize your contacts
  • Follow-up timely
  • Repeat

contactually

You can use Contractually to follow up on link building outreach emails and you can set up longer periods in order not to come off as too aggressive.

Are there any other sales tools you are using? Please let us know in the comments!

How Social Media Saved the Travel Industry [Infographic]

While it might seem hard to believe, the travel industry has exploded in 2016 thanks to social media.

How platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, apps and websites shaped the travel industry is a topic we are going to cover today.

But before that, some relevant stats from last year’s reports.

What 2016 Looked Like in Numbers for the Travel Industry

The tour and leisure activities industry has become a multi-billion USD market. In Europe alone, tours and entertaining activities account for over 40 billion USD, while in the US, there are over 67,000 businesses accumulating approximately 20 billion USD revenue. Travelers are more inclined to spend on sightseeing and experiencing the local life than to shop and party, which makes this segment the 3rd largest of the travel industry, after air and accommodation. 

There is a rising demand for balance between early and last minute bookings and offers. Millennials are part of the segment consumers who do not like to wait, and usually book their travels one week or less prior to departure (19%). 30% of millennials also worry that costs will rise, and therefore are more inclined in booking right away. 82% of US travelers are more tempted towards domestic trips as primary vacation. 59% of travel related searches belong to people aged 35-64. Main reasons for traveling in 2016 included relaxation, adventure, time with family, friends and rewards for the hard work and results.

Last year was a "year of adventure and new experiences", according to TripBarometer’s 2015 predictions. 69% of all-age consumers planned to experience something new, and 17% wanted to solo-travel for the first time. 1 in 5 global travelers have visited a destination because they saw it online in a TV show. With only 31% of travelers booking based on previous experiences, the majority of them embraced the idea of new, lesser-known and unique destinations.

Adventure and novelty were key marketing messages used by travel companies to attract their customers. 

How Social Media Impacted the Travel Industry in 2016

According to Tnooz, 95% of respondents interviewed in a TrustYou survey stated that they read online reviews before booking a trip. TripAdvisor user stats say that 1 in 5 users will almost always check reviews before deciding on an attraction. Out of these, Australians (82%) and Generation X (74%) are more inclined to check other opinions before trying.

More than 200 new user reviews or messages are being posted on TripAdvisor every minute, and over 6.2 million businesses in over 128,000 destinations use Trip Advisor.  
A new term has become quite popular: "bleisure". Inspired by nomads and people who travel and work remotely in the same time, the new trend addresses a mix of business and leisure, embraced by technological advances.

Last year has also brought a new perspective on the "mobility" of the industry, with traveling becoming more mobile. It seems travelers just can’t escape technology and are always connected to the online world, independent of location. Increasingly more people use Instagram and Snapchat to find attractions and destinations, empowered by the personal messages and burning hashtags.

Maps, flights, Uber – in one word, information at just one click away. Consumers enjoy the perks of gig economy giant Uber in major cities around the world, especially when "bleisuring". However, experiential travel is in high demand, as well.

For people seeking adventure, marketers are realizing they need to give travelers a taste of experience, as pictures and videos are no longer satisfying the hunger for authentic travels. A movement which has given way to adventure parks, set-up beaches and more, in order to keep consumers hooked and interested at any given time. 

Two types of travelers have emerged from last year’s travel boom: the "money rich, time poor" and the "money poor, time rich". The first, who wants to have everything planned ahead of schedule, booked, and dealt with, in order to save time, without caring much about budgets, and avid user of the hashtag #richkidsofinstagram.

The latter, defined by the average millennial who wants to gain as much of an authentic experience as possible, in a state of total "time insensitivity", but who does not have the money to afford luxury, an avid user of #hostelfriends and AirBnB. Each in their own worlds enjoying a different type of travel experience.

Social media isn’t just Facebook. With 2.5 billion global users by 2018, and introduction of Messenger functionalities for all major social media platforms, we can only imagine how impactful platforms will become. Twitter stats dating from 2014 reveal that 44% of consumers are more inclined to learn about a new travel brand by using Twitter, 27% will share positive experiences, creating buzz for travel brands and over 39% of users access the platform during their travels.

Gen Z use of Instagram is on the rise, while for the same segment of consumers, Facebook is on a steady decline. To add more, 5 out of 6 millennials connect with companies on social media and expect perks. 97% of millennials will share pictures during their travels through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Newly launched flight search TripSeats reports in their infographic that 68% of travelers are happy with social media ads and consider them to be effective in the decision-making process. Millennials again seem more open towards providing an aid to the industry, with 83% of them being open to provide their travel data to companies. More stats are available below.

With these stats in mind, it does seem like "the world is just a click away". To where from here?

Infographic

Load Balancing and Failover Improve Hosting

Everyone wants their traffic to go viral, but most don’t realize that if they do get mentioned on a major site or go viral on social media their hosting company is likely to take their site down. When this happens, they lose the benefit of having gone viral!

The reason for this is traffic limits on almost every hosting solution. If you go over your traffic limit, some hosting companies may charge you for the overage while others will immediately take your site offline.

This is only one disadvantage of typical hosting plans. Another is server failure. Your site is typically hosted on only one server. If that server has a hard drive head crash or any other technical failure your site goes down.

Content Delivery Network

By using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) also known as a Content Distribution Network, your site is hosted on multiple servers in diverse locations. This is the ultimate protection against technical failures, power outages, and internet slowdowns.

CDNs also provide caching in multiple locations closer to the end users, decreasing page load times. Other benefits are enhanced security and resistance to DDoS attacks thanks to high capacity networks of servers.

Server Failover

The best CDNs automatically reroute traffic from a failed server to the backup, ideally without human intervention. Some CDNs require the process to be activated manually while others provides automatic failover detection to immediately activate your preconfigured backup server and alert you via email.

 

Load Balancing

With Google’s emphasis on page load speed, using a CDN with load balancing can be the easiest method to decrease delays.  The idea is to have multiple servers that can serve traffic and then use the CDN as the “middle-man” to distribute the incoming requests between these multiple servers. There are many load balancing methods. Legacy CDNs usually rely on Anycast routing while the more modern ones take it a step further with layer 7 load balancing solutions.

The benefit of the later method is that, while Anycast routing using the shorter path from user to server, the layer 7 load balancing is also able to route traffic to servers based on their current traffic load.  Using both helps you not only take the shortest path but also to choose the best recipient. However, with Anycast-only solutions you always run the risk of overcrowding the popular servers while leaving the un-popular ones un-visited and underperforming.

Security

CDNs are a very effective method of protecting your site from DDoS threats and other cyber-attacks because a CDN network of servers can handle vastly more requests at one time and because its servers are positioned on the edge of your network, where they can expect all incoming traffic.

“An effective defense against an HTTP flood can be the deployment of a reverse proxy – in particular collection of reverse proxies spread across multiple hosting locations. A reverse proxy is somewhat akin to a bouncer at a nightclub, deciding which guests are allowed into the party, where the real web server is. By deploying many bouncers in different locations, the crush of incoming traffic is split into fractions, lessening the possibility of the network becoming overwhelmed.”

Today some CDN platforms also provide websites with Web Application Firewall (WAF) and even offer the options to add custom security rules for organizations that want to tweak the default security policies.

Simple Implementation

Manually implementing your own load balancing or failover solution is extremely complex. Mistakes could lead to loss of traffic and other undesirable side-effects (i.e. temporary loss of Google rankings). Fortunately, implementing an existing CDN solution can be as simple as changing the DNS for your site at your domain registrar to route your traffic through the CDN.

How CDNs Work

When an internet user goes to your URL (such as www.yoursite.com), instead of the domain name server (DNS) pointing directly to your original server that hosts your site, the CDN will send the user to the server closest to their location (based on their IP address) or least busy instead. Depending upon the size of the CDN, there could be dozens of copies of your site each on a server in a different location.

Do You Need a CDN?

Huge sites with thousands of simultaneous visitors spread across the world need CDNs. Whether you need a CDN or not depends on the type of site you run and how critical it is for you financially for that site to stay online

Business focused websites will benefit from the security aspects, faster page load times and additional availability options. With commercial CDNs services available for just few dozen dollars a month, and freemium CDNs offering free plans and trial offers, any site owner whose income is derived from being online should consider upgrading to the use of a CDN.