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Whether you love or hate the term “growth hacking”, if your job is to get more people to use your app or buy your software, then you need to recognize the amazing apps tools you have at your fingertips.
Growth hacking tools are become more prevalent as B2B startups become sexier (it’s happening!), and smart people are building things to help companies grow.
It seems every day I come across a new “sales automation” or “sales hacking” app that promises to revolutionize my sales process and close millions of dollars in new business in just six weeks with only a few steps each day and blah blah blah… it’s all bullshit.
Sales are hard, but there are a ton of apps and free resources that make it a little less hard if you are willing to put in the work.
Remember, you are ultimately reaching out to people who don’t know you, your company, or your product. Getting prospects to start paying attention to you takes time, persistence, and a little bit of finesse, but nothing that can’t be learned.
I am no expert on sales or growth hacking, but I have some decent experience running a sales organization and I have seen what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to software that will help you do your job better.
Below is a list of resources and tools (some free, some paid) that you can use to grow your business. Try them all, pick the ones that work, and run with it.
Blogs You Should Follow
Both Sides of the Table – Mark Suster, Upfront Ventures
Suster is very good. He takes a realist perspective on business and discusses everything from venture capital and company management, to marketing and sales. Specifically, take a look at his posts on sales and the PUCCKA strategy.
Feld Thoughts – Brad Feld, Foundry Group / TechStars
Feld is the granddaddy of startup bloggers. His posts are outstanding and insightful, if nothing else. Sometimes the topics can be a bit pessimistic, but he has some sage advice nonetheless.
Andrew Chen – Andrew Chen (duh)
Chen was one of the first bloggers to really dial in on startup metrics like LTV and important topics like customer retention. His essays are few and far between, but they are almost always quality.
Paul Graham – Paul Graham, Y-Combinator
The godfather of Y-Combinator, the incubator of all incubators, Paul Graham is a modern day Moses, leading startups to the promise land in droves. His essays date as far back as 1993, but somehow they are still relevant today. Need a starting point, read Graham’s essay Do Things That Don’t Scale.
OK Dork – Noah Kagan, AppSumo / SumoMe
Noah is one of the best. He is fun and goofy, but he knows how to internet really well and you should learn from him. Sign up for his insightful posts on marketing and growth hacking right here, right now.
Ryan Holiday – Ryan Holiday, Author / American Apparel
Ryan is a prolific reader and writer and pursuer of all things growth. Still in his twenties, he has written three books and is the VP of Marketing for global clothing brand American Apparel. Listen to what he says.
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Communities You Should Join
GrowthHackers.com – It’s like reddit for growth hackers!
Inbound.org – It’s like reddit for marketers!
Books You Should Read
Growth Hacking – Ryan Holiday
Startup Growth Engines – Sean Ellis
Predictable Revenue – Aaron Ross
and much, much more…
Cold Emailing – The Best Growth Hacking Tool
One of my favorite tactics in business development is “cold emailing”. Cold calling is dead, people do not want to be disturbed. And there are ways to use cold emailing that can deliver serious results for your company. Here are some of my favorite articles and resources on cold e-mailing:
Some More Great Growth Hacking Tools
This list is not all-inclusive, I am sure I left some out. If there’s one you think is worthy, put it in the comments below. 🙂
For managing your personal emails
Followup.cc – never forget to follow up ever again (seriously, buy this right now!)
ToutApp – email automation
Autpilot – email automation
For finding emails of prospects
SellHack – find peoples email addresses
SalesLoft – great way to purchase accurate email addresses
Zoominfo – find peoples email addresses
Data.com – find peoples email addresses
Rapportive – gmail plugin for finding peoples info
For building landing pages, gathering emails addresses, and email marketing
SumoMe – An amazing wordpress plugin for gathering subscribers
Unbounce – easy to build landing pages (for those who can’t code)
Wufoo – easy to generate web forms
Mailchimp – manage your email marketing campaigns
A Thought On CRM’s
I have gone back and forth on CRM’s for a while. Many swear by Salesforce but I find that unless you are experience with it, or you have someone who knows how to set it up with your company’s processes, then it is a very steep and expensive hill to climb.
For growth hackers who are just starting out, or who are on a low budget, here are a few suggested CRM’s that will help you organize your leads. The most important thing about CRM’s, you should not, is that they are only as good as the data that is inside them. The adage junk in, junk out definitely applies here.
Highrise – commonly used by developers
Close.io – very clean app, easy to use
Nutshell CRM – one of my favorites, very easy for sales managers to prescribe sales processes
Pipedrive – another clean CRM
Base CRM – labeled the post-PC CRM
Nimble – social CRM
Contactually – another social CRM (better than Nimble)
LinkedIn Is Your Friend
If you are in B2B sales, or if you do business development for a B2C company, your job is to contact other professionals. LinkedIn can help you find them, but you have to know how to use it.
If you can’t spring the $40 per month for a premium account, you can use the advanced search to gather some really good prospect data.
This is assuming you know your target customer, their title, and the industry they work in. If you don’t know that, you need a lot more than growth hacking tools.
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I will re-iterate, sales is tough, but it isn’t impossible. You have to hustle.
Start off by putting in tons of hours and you will reap the benefits later on, rest assured.
There are so many blogs and articles and tools and communities and all sorts of resources that are there to help you. But if you aren’t careful, you can drown in all of the information.
Try to digest the information piecemeal, find the tools that work for your. A/B test. Document your processes.
Write down what works for your sales style and use it over and over again.
Be as resourceful as you can and stay on the lookout for new strategies and tools that can make you better at getting more customers or users.
And at all costs, grow your company!
(Please comment if you have suggestions for tools or resources that I missed)
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