Cream of the Crop features a rotating panel from the Harvest Group, a landscape business consulting company.

We’re obviously well in the midst of a digital era in the United States. Our lives have been consumed with a vast array of electronics, personal computers and software tools designed to automate our lives. Late Gen Xers and early Millennials have seen the greatest changes, including the rise and fall of many great companies. Our generation ushered in social media with platforms like chatrooms and Myspace.

But no one really knew how communication was going to change over the next couple of decades.

I personally remember my mom getting irritated because of long-distance phone bills from calling friends, while kids today easily pick up their smart phones and send a Snapchat for free.

While we’ve all had to become more responsible for time management, it’s undeniable that technology has helped improved our lives, often saving us time and money. These tools can be an even greater benefit if we integrate them into a structured process.

Today, we have tools like customer relations managers (CRMs), email software and social media platforms to help us be more efficient. There are also ways to integrate these tools so that they all work together to achieve your sales efforts.

While most business owners are willing to use new tools, I find that many are unaware of what is available to them and their sales staff. Let’s be honest, who can keep up?

That’s why I want to highlight five key sales tools that may help your team create more leads and close more sales. Keep in mind this is not an all-encompassing list. I would recommend that you examine your company and staff and research what tools can be integrated into your processes to support your goals.

1. CRM.

These tools track your interactions with prospects and clients. They often have mobile apps that will track calls and emails, logging them into the customer’s profile. For sales, I prefer CRMs focused around the sales process and pipeline development.

Recommendation: Pipedrive

2. Email software.

Email software is an easy way to send out professionally designed emails promoting your brand values to clients. Many of these tools have automated processes that can be integrated into your website, such as welcome emails or even an email explaining your proposal process.

Recommendation: Mailchimp or Constant Contact (Advanced Option: Drip)

3. Social media.

Depending on your market, social media is a great place to help build your online presence and showcase work. You can do anything from prospecting to showcasing project highlights. Consistency in social media is key.

Recommendation: B2C Markets: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; B2B Markets: LinkedIn

4. Website data scrapers.

Information is power and most don’t realize there is an abundance of information on websites. There are tools that can be used to target and collect data from websites and social media platforms. You can often pull data such as emails, phone numbers and address for individuals who could be your contact about contracting for services.

Recommendation: Find That Lead or Go Pin Leads

5. Presentation tools.

I have always tried to push for an in-person presentation for prospects asking for a quote, but in today’s age, that is becoming less and less viable. Be prepared – whether presenting in person or online – to make sure that your values are communicated.

Recommendation: Prezi Presentations

These tools may seem intimidating at first, but most are very user friendly with a library of videos and training material to help with integration. I would identify one of your team members to champion the process and help others.

While these aren’t the only tools to support your sales staff, they can serve as the core of your sales process. If you have these areas covered, I would encourage you to explore other areas of your company and see what digital options may be out there to improve processes and profits even more.

Editor’s note: The author’s recommendations are his own opinion and not those of Lawn & Landscape magazine. Darnell receives no financial compensation from any of these companies.

Chris Darnell focuses on bringing landscape businesses’ sales and marketing strategies into the digital era.