The 10 Must-Have Sales and Marketing Business Tools

Today, CIOs are expected to develop strategic partnerships with sales and marketing in order to co-create business differentiation by leveraging the very best technologies. Here are the 10 indispensable marketing and sales tools for you to consider.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

In a recent Wall Street Journal post titled "How CIOs Can Boost Their Businesses as Chief Digital Officers," Clint Boulton noted a Gartner study of 2,000 CIOs who serve as chief digital officers as well, focusing on mobile, analytics, social and cloud tech to grow their businesses. These CIOs who are also CDOs collaborate with other lines of business like operations, sales and marketing to improve awareness and also establish a strategic presence for IT.

In another global survey of 2,000-plus CIOs, Gartner listed digital technologies as the top priorities in 2013 for CIOs. Today, CIOs are expected to develop strategic partnerships with sales and marketing in order to co-create business differentiation by leveraging the very best technologies. That said, I decided to ask a super innovative CIO for his recommendation of must-have sales and marketing enterprise tools and applications.

Fortunately for me, the super innovative CIO happens to be my colleague, Dan Petlon. In 2012, InformationWeek named one of the top 500 innovators and rule breakers of business technology. My company's CIO Dan Petlon was ranked 80th on the list for his game changing use of enterprise applications to drive business growth. In addition, Boston Business Journal named Petlon one of the top 10 CIOs in Boston.

Here are the 10 indispensable marketing and sales tools for you to consider, per Dan Petlon: Salesforce is our window into everything that touches our customers, from sales opportunities to product support to training, etc. Having everything in one place keeps everyone that touches our customers working together to help our customers be more successful. We measure our success by our customer's success. It is worth emphasizing that Salesforce Chatter, a social collaboration tool embedded in our Salesforce CRM solution, is helping us improve business agility and customer delight. Chatter allows employees to collaborate around a topic in a social stream that is targeted and personalized. We have groups for discussions around our competition, vertical markets, our various sales tools and more. Chatter helps us connect areas of the business in ways not possible through traditional means such as email. We also have social machines that chat to us and our customers.

Marketo. Marketo is our Marketing automation platform, providing automated lead nurturing and very sophisticated campaign management. The Sales Insight component gives us granular data on who is visiting our website, and is used as a signal to reach out to the folks browsing our site. We have had Marketo in production for about a year. In that time we have closed deals worth over ten times what Marketo costs us annually. Using Marketo we have also significantly grown our sales pipeline, further validating our strong return on investment based on our ability implement marketing automation and lead nurturing capabilities. As our CEO often says, "do more Marketo!" is a nearly configuration-free cloud-based outbound dialer integrated with Salesforce. No hardware, no extra integration work, nothing to do on your PBX -- simple and elegant. The have an extra cool feature that uses a phone number from the local area code you are calling to make the calls, as folks are much more likely to answer calls from a local number. provides analytics and total visibility about all calls and allows our sales teams to be more efficient and effective on their calls.

LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a tremendous source for new leads. We are amazed at the reach of our collective network of contacts. It is increasingly hard to successfully connect to a manager with buying power without an introduction. Your LinkedIn network is a great way to get those introductions. Encourage all of your employees to connect to your sales teams to help them grow your networks. Also encourage everyone to make introductions for the sales teams when asked. By harnessing the company's collective network, our sales teams are able to reach the right people!

Box. Box gives us a simple and secure way to share files with employees, partners and customers. Our marketing team maintains a library of materials to support our field teams, and the teams can sync the library down to their laptops or mobile devices. Now everyone always has the latest and greatest materials without having to hunt them down. Box also provides access from any device. is a Salesforce tool that we use to clean customer and prospect data as well as to source new leads. It is built into our everyday Salesforce workflows, and has done much to improve our customer data quality. They now have a licensing agreement with D&B, so the data is even richer. allows us to automatically clean and enrich our data so that our sales force is always working with the latest and most up-to-date information.

CloudFactor. CloudFactor is a very cool integration tool for Salesforce to Google integration. It provides context sensitive data from Salesforce right in your Gmail client. Without leaving Gmail you can see Salesforce contact, account, case, and opportunity info. There is also a contact syncing component to keep your Google and Salesforce contacts in sync. CloudFactor saves our sales force time as they are corresponding with our customers, they can quickly see current information as well as log the current conversation to the customer record in

Google. Google has a wealth of tools that can assist in your sales and marketing efforts. We use Google Apps for mail and calendaring, and increasingly for collaboration with partners and customers. Google Analytics gives us insight into our web traffic. Google+ Hangouts provide simple to use video conferencing, and while we're doing all this other Google stuff, we might as well do some searching too.

timetrade. timetrade is a tool that embeds a "Click to Schedule" button at the bottom of outbound mails, and integrates with both Google and Salesforce to offer employees available time slots to schedule a call. It sounds simple, and it really works. We have generated many opportunities we would have otherwise missed just by having this simple convenience in our mails. Timetrade reduces the constant back and forth of trying to schedule meetings, allowing us to better focus on our customers.

Okta.Okta is a cloud single sign on tool that provides a central entry point into all of our tools. Okta gives every employee their personal Enterasys application dashboard where they work from. It also allows us to onboard employees faster as we can quickly provision all of our enterprise apps in minutes to a new hire. Okta is not really a sales and marketing tool but it is critical to the success of all other tools. As you can see, we are building our tool sets comprised of cloud solutions in order to give our employees access to what they need, from anywhere, and on any device. User experience is everything.

As you can tell from Dan's work, Enterasys is always looking ahead to the next thing that will make us more agile. With this as our driving force, we have realized three straight years of top line growth as a company. This culture of engagement is also what led to us being named a Best Places to Work by both the Boston Globe and Boston Business Journal in 2012. We were also named a Top 10 Coolest Companies to Work in Boston by OC Tanner, a workforce consulting group. As we enter 2013, I'm confident we will continue to innovate and push the boundaries of a truly open and collaborative organization.

What are some of the best sales and marketing tools and applications that you recommend? I look forward to your learning more about the tools you use to improve and accelerate business growth.

Go To Homepage

Popular in the Community