If you have a smart phone or tablet, you already know that there are hundreds—thousands—of productivity apps available for the connected sales professional. Many are free; some are not. A simple Google search for recommended apps will generate pages upon pages of suggestions. Keep in mind that most of the advice you will receive is a matter of opinion based upon one’s experience. Also, new apps are created every day (and existing ones may cease to be supported), so take into consideration when the recommendation is given.
This is by no means an all-inclusive list of useful apps. Nor is it a list of the absolute best ones. This is a list of apps I personally use and find particularly beneficial. I specifically did not include the “no brainers”. For example, if you primarily fly on Delta Airlines, you don’t need me to tell you to use the Delta app (at least I hope you don’t need me to tell you that!). These are apps you may not have heard of or might not be familiar with. I hope that you find this useful.
Dropbox is a simple, secure way to move documents between devices, share them with others, and have them immediately accessible to you wherever you are via the cloud. If you’ve ever had your e-mail jammed up because you tried sending someone a very large attachment (or someone sent one to you), Dropbox will eliminate that frustration. It is also super easy to transfer files (documents, photos, video, etc.) between your desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phone.
Ask any sales person to list their top frustrations and I promise you expense reporting will be on the list. Your company will gladly reimburse you for your authorized business expenses as long as you can provide receipts for your expenses. No receipt, no reimbursement. Arrrgh! Genius Scan is a simple app that allows you to take a picture of your receipt using the camera on your smart phone or tablet and then send it to yourself as a .pdf so you can file your expense report when you are back in the office. Never again “eat” an expense because you lost a receipt!
Traveling to a major city and don’t have the time or patience to rent a car? Say goodbye to rude, unreliable, often dangerous taxi cabs. Uber is one of the best apps. Ever. It’s like having a private driver at your disposal wherever you go. Their services are available in over 100 cities and 30 countries. Once you have created a free account, all you have to do is enter a destination, touch a button, and a car is on its way. It knows where you are. It sends you a text with the driver’s name, description of the car, and license number. The driver then calls to confirm your pick-up location. The app shows you the car’s route and ETA. At the end of the ride, you are automatically billed (gratuity is part of their rate) and a receipt is immediately e-mailed to you. It could not be simpler. Seriously – it couldn’t.
It seems like every business nowadays offers a loyalty program. In exchange for your precious contact information and willingness to allow them to track your every purchase, they shower you with discounts and perks. As a sales person who travels a lot and spends a lot, you would be foolish to not take advantage of these programs. The cash savings, free tickets, upgrades, etc. add up fast! CardStar from Constant Contact is a terrific app for organizing all of your loyalty program numbers in one place so you don’t have to fumble with dozens of membership cards or keychain fobs.
Similar to CardStar’s solving the problem created by the explosion of loyalty programs, Password Caddy is a terrific, secure app for storing all of your login information (websites, usernames, passwords, etc.). I’ve been using this app for years and love it. Even though there are lots of other password management apps on the market, this is the only one I have ever used, so it’s the only one I can personally recommend.
Traveling abroad and don’t have time to learn a foreign language? No problem! iTranslate will break down the language barrier and ensure you don’t blow that big deal overseas. It translates over 80 languages and is simple to use. Best of all, in addition to typing in your queries it also allows for voice input and output. I gave this app a workout when we had an exchange student from France living with us for two weeks. It works!
A good customer relationship management (CRM) system is a sales person’s best friend. It allows you to log calls, pursue leads, work opportunities, check dashboards, and conduct due diligence. Most popular CRM tools such as Salesforce and Siebel (Oracle) offer free mobile apps that allow you to access your company’s CRM wherever you are.
Web conferencing is a staple in today’s world of sales. Whether meeting with a customer or collaborating with colleagues, web conferencing is an efficient way to conduct a “virtual” meeting without sacrificing the benefit of visual presentation. In addition to making it efficient, today’s technology also makes it easy and impressive. WebEx (which my company uses) and GoToMeeting are two of the most popular. Both offer free apps for your smart phone or tablet, so you never have to miss a meeting again or be confined to your office.
Sales people give and receive business cards every day. Even in today’s digital world, paper business cards change hands during almost every sales call. What’s different in today’s world is what you do with those business cards you receive. File them in a Rolodex and keep them in your desk drawer? I don’t think so! There are many apps that allow you to use the camera on your smart phone or tablet to scan the card, which it then “reads” and organizes the information into electronic contacts. I recommend WorldCard, CardMunch or CamCard. Most apps have free (or “lite”) versions in addition to paid versions for under $9.99. I suggest trying the free version to make sure it suits your needs, then upgrading to the paid version to enjoy the extra bells and whistles.
If you have an iPhone or iPad then Keynote is an absolute must. Why? Like it or not, we live in a PowerPoint world. Keynote allows you to view, edit and share PowerPoint presentations from your Apple mobile device – either on-screen or by connecting your device to a projector or HDTV.
What do you do when you find yourself in an unfamiliar city and you are itching to play poker? With the Bravo app you can easily find the nearest poker room, check out the table limits, rules and promotions, and even see how many people are playing each type of game at how many tables and whether or not there is a waiting list. Pretty much the only thing the app doesn’t do is guarantee you’ll come home a winner!
Do you have a favorite app that helps you be more productive, more successful? If so, please add a comment to this post and share it with us. Giving the gift of insight to others is great Karma!
Header image by William Hook on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0