The 11 Best Business Productivity Tools I Use for Marketing and Sales

The 11 Best Business Productivity Tools I Use for Marketing and Sales

As a business owner, you don’t want to play around with technology. You want to find something that works, stick with it, and continue running your business. Simple and efficient processes are key, lead generation is mandatory, and effectively sharing your message on social media is a must. That’s where you need to be using the best business productivity tools.

What I have compiled here are eleven tools that can help you achieve those goals. Some are free and some are paid, but all of them are worth taking a look at. While many of these you are probably already using, if you are not using all of these or an equivalent alternative, there is some productivity gain for you to make!

Each tool I will describe below are both robust and easy to use. The list includes a lead generation tool with micro-targeting on LinkedIn; a social media management tool that enables you to schedule posts in the future as well as engage with followers of all platforms from one single dashboard; a free video creation tool for generating how-to and screenshare videos; an email efficiency tool that will replace your task manager; and a remote teamwork dashboard that has functionality specifically to help you manage your marketing projects..

Sound good? Let’s jump right in.

1. Notion – The Best App for Note-Taking and Content-Centric Collaboration Workspace

Notion App

Notion is a straightforward, large-scale software that acts as a one-stop-shop project management tool. Notion functions as a management tool and digital notebook in order to corral all personal and business-related information–ranging from deadlines and timelines to personal to-do lists. Notion is highly customizable and can be used for a single individual or across several different groups of people, functioning as both a communication tool and a productivity app. Notion is frequently mentioned on blogs and in marketing videos primarily because it caters to the aesthetically-minded among us, with blank canvases that allow you to create all of your information, mood and goal boards, and more in an aesthetically-pleasing layout or format. 

Notion is open-ended and can be used for countless tasks. Notion is a time management tool, a team collaboration tool, a note-taking tool, and allows individuals to take charge of their lives as well as providing a useful space for video recording and corresponding notes. Among its key features are its adaptability and flexibility; Notion’s single platform can be used to house business plans, budget information, team projects, business account information, and more, and can be used as a back-and-forth communication tool.

With reminders, high customizability, and the ability to expand and contract as needs and businesses change, Notion is an ideal project management software for people of all needs and businesses of all sizes, and can be easily changed to match specific needs. 

Pricing: Notion is free for personal with business plans being as inexpensive at $5 or $10 a month per user.

2. Slack – Collaborate and Communicate with Your Team Efficiently

Slack app

Slack started as a simple messaging tool that allowed teams to talk in real time in a simple chat format. With the ability to create different lines for different teams, Slack was an excellent option for team communication, with key features including the ability to organize messages according to teams, hashtags, and more. Slack has continued to improve and expand its offerings, and it can now be used as a means of providing online meetings, automating repetitive tasks, and conducting video calls, all without having to leave the app. 

Slack is also an excellent tool for its ease of use; while the app itself is primarily a communication hub, it integrates well with other apps and outside companies, allowing daily tasks like checking in on projects, confirming and conducting meetings, and messaging between teams to work alongside other important workflow and task management tools to foster effective communication and increase productivity both from within different teams and departments, and across teams and departments.

Pricing: Paid plans are as low as $7.50 and $12.50 for each user when billed annually.

3. LinkedIn Sales Navigator – The Ultimate Sales Productivity Tool for Social Selling

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

With my B2B sales background, it should come as no surprise that LinkedIn was my first social media love. It’s an incredibly powerful tool, and for years, I only used the free network version.

Wait, you haven’t downloaded my free LinkedIn for Business ebook? Snag it here!

Recently I have found the company’s paid sales version to be a huge time-saver and thus it fittingly is first to bat in this best business productivity tools list.

I first started using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to assist with a Japanese client that had no brand recognition or following in their target market of the United States. Like any company, this one needed social media marketing; however, a B2B company also needs social media selling. And what better way to find business contacts than on LinkedIn.

You might ask, So, why don’t I just use LinkedIn for free to search for prospects and send emails? Allow me to explain.

First, LinkedIn (aka the free version) has search limits; after you have performed a lot of searches, you will start seeing about three results per search. Sales Navigator provides advanced lead and company searching without limits. From a searching perspective alone, Sales Navigator makes it so much easier and quicker, and that’s half the battle.

Second, the free version offers just a handful of search filters. Sales Navigator has even more to truly enable micro-targeting, and you can save the filters. Here’s an example: I want to find people who are marketers at Microsoft who work in Seattle. Yes, I can do this on the free version. But with Sales Navigator, I can pinpoint further: Only return to me people who have posted on LinkedIn within the past 30 days. Immediately, I am able to find active users, which increases the chances that someone is going to open and read my message.

Third, the free version has InMail limits—and by limits, I mean none. Sales Navigator starts with 20 InMails per month and, depending on your subscription plan, increases to 50 InMails per month. In addition, you’re able to see which leads or profiles you’ve already viewed and/or messaged, save company names, and set up alerts for changes on leads. If, for example, one of your leads has a job change, you’ll receive an email and then quickly engage.

Like anything else, if you’re investing in your business to be successful in social media—particularly in B2B sales—LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a no-brainer. And if you’re only doing B2B social media marketing without doing any social selling (and trying to reach out one-by-one on LinkedIn), you’re really missing out on a huge opportunity.

In fact, for some small B2B companies, I would almost—not entirely—recommend that social selling comes before social media marketing. That’s because social selling gives you the ability to micro-target, receive immediate feedback, and very quickly see what works (and doesn’t). Social media marketing, from a B2B perspective, requires you to create and publish a lot of content that, at the beginning, doesn’t get much engagement until you build up a community. And if you’re trying to generate at least $1,000 per month from LinkedIn Sales, an $80 investment per month is nothing.

Pricing: Paid plans start at $79.99 per month, all with free 30-day trials

4. Agorapulse – The Ultimate Social Media Dashboard for the Ultimate in Social Media Marketing Productivity

Agorapulse

Of the best business productivity tools mentioned here, this might be the ultimate time-saver.

NealSchaffer.com has more than 500 blog posts that have been published since 2008. That’s a lot of evergreen content. The ability to leverage that content is very impactful because it lessens the burden of needing to create or curate more content. Agorapulse provides that ability through its Queue Categories feature, and it’s what made me go from an occasional user to a heavy user this past year.

At its base, Agorapulse is a social media management tool that enables users to schedule content and get reporting on it. But digging deeper, Agorapulse seamlessly enables finite control over publishing evergreen content—any day of the week, any time of the day, even down to the number of times content publishes. I haven’t found another social media management tool that offers this critical feature.

Another element of Agorapulse that is extremely helpful is called Social Inbox, and it enables users to engage with followers on all platforms from one place. Respond to comments on a LinkedIn post, share a comment on a Facebook post, like a comment on an Instagram post—all from one dashboard, not logging in to each account. In addition, the comments are in line, not hidden in a new comment like some of the other social media management tools. It’s a very eloquent solution, especially for those managing multiple profiles. Also, users can monitor comments on Facebook ads, which is very helpful.

All of these features are why I use Agorapulse—coupled with the fact that it’s robust, it’s stable, it’s constantly innovating, and, frankly, it works.

Pricing: A few free tools are available; paid plans start at $49 per month, all with a 28-day free trial

5. Google Drive (including Google Docs) – Create, Save and Archive All of Your Documents in the Cloud

google drive

While Google Drive (and Google Docs) may seem like tools meant more for students or those with collaborative writing projects, these tools are actually invaluable to have in your back pocket, no matter your precise niche or industry. Google Drive acts as an online database for countless documents, spreadsheets, forms, and more, and provides a simple and easy way to integrate all of your important documents in one easy-to-navigate and easy-to-organize space. 

One of the most valuable contributions of Google Drive is the ability to collaborate with others in real time. When sharing a Google Doc, for instance, you can see any edits being made in real time, as well as who the changes are being made by. You can use this tool to complete scheduling tasks, organize important cash flow information, and even simply house new hire paperwork and contracts. Google Drive attaches directly to your email address and the email accounts of your team, and allows you to quickly and easily share all documents between team members and employees at the click of a button. 

One of the additional features of Google Drive that can often be overlooked is the ability to transfer existing files from other programs like the Microsoft office suite. By transferring files into formats compatible with Google Drive, you make it possible to quickly and easily edit documents and allow those documents to “change hands,” so to speak.

Pricing: It’s free for most users, but if you need more functionality, you can get is as part of a Google Workspace account.

6. Loom – Easily Create Videos and Screencasts for Free

Loom

Video has become increasingly important as a marketing medium, so it should come as no surprise that one of the best business productivity tools making this list is one that will help you efficiently create videos: Loom. Especially in today’s remote work world, having a tool like Loom to easily make videos to share with co-workers or clients is an absolute must.

A tool that records your entire desktop, processes the video, provides you with a link for sharing (or emailing or downloading), and is free: Welcome to Loom. An extension for Google Chrome, Loom is simple to use and it works. Imagine being able to record a quick video, explaining how to do something a little more complex than you can type at the moment. Loom enables just that.

Loom is now beginning to roll out a desktop version, which is already proving to be very robust. The Chrome extension alone still works very well. Either record your tab within Chrome, showing your face talking in a smaller window; or switch to a program like PowerPoint, and Loom records the entire screen. No need for a heavy app—just a Chrome extension and the ability to use your computer’s video camera and mic.

Loom can be a great tool to create videos for YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Create a quick how-to video with a screen share, for example. And if you want to enhance the video with another program, adding an intro and outro, you can. It’s a great tool, and it’s absolutely free, so there’s no excuse not to try it out.

Pricing: Free

7. Zoom – The New Standard for Remote Meetings, Webinars and Even Livestreams

the zoom selfies

Zoom has come to be synonymous with professional video chatting, like Skype and Facetime have become verbs for personal video calls. Zoom seems basic enough, functioning as a way to improve customer relationship management and team communication, no matter the distance, and a way to provide a straightforward option for remote meetings and check-ins. Zoom is free, provided that there are 100 or fewer participants at a given time and the meeting in question does not exceed 40 minutes, but premium plans circumvent these limitations and make it a truly useful tool, no matter the size of your company. 

Zoom can function as more than a communication tool between existing company employees, however, as Zoom also provides an excellent marketing segue; Zoom calls can be used to teach classes, provide an introduction to a topic before a sales pitch, or even provide free training in order to pitch a product or idea.

Zoom does not only provide a platform for company communication; the program can be used for customer inquiries, marketing campaigns, and even more, as it allows the option to video or audio record meetings and sessions and make those sessions available after the call has ended.

Pricing: Free for meetings up to 40 minutes, with paid plans starting at $14.99. a month.

8. Boomerang for Gmail – The Ultimate Gmail Business Productivity Tool

Boomerang for Gmail

I’m an email person, and my inbox is my work dashboard. If someone DMs me on Twitter about doing business together, I’ll still ask them to send me an email because I don’t want to lose track of the DM. But managing an inbox can be difficult. That’s where Boomerang for Gmail comes in; it’s a very easy email efficiency tool.

I use Boomerang in a few different ways, but here’s a great example:

  • I receive an email request for a quote from XYZ Company.
  • I’ll respond with the quote and ask for a decision timeline.
  • XYZ responds that decisions will be made in a week or so.
  • In Boomerang, I will set the email to return to me in a week—but only if XYZ hasn’t reached out to me first.
  • In a week, I haven’t heard from XYZ, the email appears in my inbox, and I can reach out to check in.

Look at that control! I don’t need to use Google Calendar or another task manager; I just have Boomerang email me. I also use the tool to track things that I’d like to keep on my radar, things that aren’t necessarily important. Boomerang will remind me in whatever time frame I provide.

Boomerang has another feature that I haven’t used as much: Inbox Pause, which stops email from coming into your inbox. All of the masters of efficiency say to stay off email except for a few times a day.

Overall, Boomerang is quite robust and comes at a very inexpensive price.

Pricing: Free plans available; paid plans start at $4.99 per month, all with free 30-day trials

9. SaneBox – Prevent Spammers from Getting into Your Inbox

As its name suggests, SaneBox is a form of personal productivity and professional productivity in the form of organization and email management. SaneBox uses AI to learn how to effectively sort through emails and determine which emails are important and require immediate attention, and which emails can be pushed off until later. SaneBox can be used for both personal and professional emails, and has a feature list that extends beyond simple email sorting. 

In addition to sorting emails between “important” and “unimportant,” SaneBox allows you to switch your email to Do Not Disturb, effectively block unwanted senders and emails, schedule emails to get sent back to you, and automate some of your email tasks. SaneBox is an intuitive tool that increasingly learns how to properly sort through and arrange the emails in your inbox, while allowing you the freedom to step away from work and trust that important emails will be forwarded or resent on a scheduled day or time, and reminders will go out for any outstanding emails. 

Far more than a simple organization tool, SaneBox allows you to entrust your email organization, communication, and consistency to one platform and take a step back.

Pricing: A simple $99 a year – and well worth it!

10. Monday.com – Your Remote Teamwork Dashboard

Monday.com

As it seems like many of us are still working more from home and need an efficient way to manage our remote teamwork, there is a need for an app to help us organize our teams. While tools like Slack can help you stay in the know from a communication perspective, Monday.com helps you visualize and manage your entire team workflow.

One of the cool things about Monday.com is how easy it is to get started with one of their ready-made templates to get your team onboarded quickly. You can completely customize the platform to fit any and all of your needs without the need for any coding skills. For some ideas, check out how they can help you manage marketing projects.

I am still early in exploring Monday.com’s functionality, but if you have a large enough team (because of its business model – see below for pricing) and want to truly invest in the efficiency of your remote work, Monday.com deserves your attention.

Pricing: There are no free plans available, and since Monday.com is made for remote teams, the minimum plan is the Basic plan at $8 a month for 5 members, or $39 a month. Check out all of the pricing here.

11. BitSkout – Automate Your Internal Communication Processes

DETECT RESPONSES TO YOUR COLD EMAILS with Bitskout

BitSkout offers a potentially revolutionary service by automating data entry. Virtually every business in existence requires data entry, and BitSkout removes the need for additional team members or entire teams to stay on top of entering data. Rather than having to shift physical sheets and information between hands, or needing to keep on top of several different people, BitSkout allows you to simply upload or scan documents in order to automatically extract information and export it into the document, spreadsheet, or program of your choice. While BitSkout may not entirely remove the need for admin, it can go a long way in reducing the number of hours spent on data entry and filing. 

BitSkout is compatible with countless apps that companies already use, including DropBox, to seamlessly and easily shift data from one spot to another and keep important information and documents carefully organized and properly filed. BitSkout can also reduce the likelihood of human error, and ensure that information is delivered properly and correctly, to reduce the possibility of losing clients, receiving or delivering incorrect information, or harming customer or company relationships. 

Pricing: Try for free for 14 days. Paid plans begin at 59 euro a month.

Keep in mind that for every tool that’s available, you’ll be able to find several alternatives. However, these are the best business productivity tools that personally help me and improve my efficiency and productivity. I hope you find them to do the same for you. And if you have a favorite productivity tool that I haven’t mentioned, please share it in the comments.

The 56 Digital Marketing Tools I Recommend
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This is a post written on behalf of one of my marketing partners. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hero photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash

Best Business Productivity Tools FAQs

What are the 5 most commonly used productivity tools?

Here are some of the commonly used productivity tools:

1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
2. Google Drive
3. Loom
4. Agorapulse
5. Zoom

What is the most useful productivity tool?

Determining the most useful productivity tool depends on a brand/company’s goal and strategy. There is a lot of useful productivity tools a business can use. An example is Asana — a project management software. This tool is designed for businesses to manage project productivity within the team. They can create project workflow and assign tasks to team members.

What is productivity tools used in business?

Here is a list of productivity tools used in business:

1. Agorapulse
2. Loom
3. LinkedIn Navigator Sales Tool
4. Podio
5. Leadpages
6. Canva
7. Dropbox

What are the 3 types of productivity tools?

The three types of productivity tools are:

1. Task manager
2. Calendar apps
3. Note-taker

Is Microsoft Office a productivity tool?

Yes, Microsoft Office is designed as a web-based productivity tool. It helps users to communicate and collaborate on content across any device. It can also be shared and managed between users. Microsoft Office consists of different productivity tools with different functions such as Microsoft Planner, OneNote, PowerPoint, Flow, and others.

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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2 Comments

  1. Have you tried using kanbantool.com to manage your projects and team? If not, do it. I think the tool is great, so I hope you’ll like it too.

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