by Lance Cody-Valdez

As an owner and manager of several outsourced direct marketing companies, Elijah Medge also coaches and mentors entry-level rookies and seasoned professionals. He provides mentorship in building confidence as a new business owner or sales representative. Contact Elijah today for more info!

When you’re a small business, every penny counts. You have to watch your overhead and make cutbacks everywhere. You still have to keep up with other businesses, though – many with deeper coffers than yours. That’s where technology comes in.

With some powerful software, you can realistically go toe-to-toe with the biggest companies and still corner the market. Best of all, many of these tools have “freemium” versions, so you don’t have to pay a dime to use them. Elijah Medge outlines a few below.

What is freemium sales software and what should you typically expect?

Freemium sales software or apps are stripped-down versions of their premium counterparts. They sometimes lack critical core features but more often dispense with the bells and whistles. They can optimize and automate sales processes – for everything from marketing and lead generation to after-sales support and customer care.

What you can expect exactly depends on the freemium software in question. Lincoln Murphy of Sixteen Ventures says you may encounter one of seven types of freemium models. Most of the time, you’ll be able to find good software with core features intact. You’ll be able to operate more effectively and efficiently, and more ably achieve your various business goals. You may, however, have to deal with quotas, lack of support, and other quality of life features.

Here’s a handpicked selection of freemium sales tools with core features intact:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM software helps you engage and manage customers. The best software comes with a variety of useful features – communication automation tools, auto-responders, email management, customer retention help, and marketing assistance.

Sales analytics – Dreamdata

How do you know how well your various sales efforts are going? A sales analytics app can help you find out. It tracks various sales-related metrics to give you an idea of the ROI of your various efforts. You can make changes based on the data to further increase your ROI. Dreamdata is one of the best free sales analytics apps. It’s cloud-based and integrates with popular CRMs like Salesforce. The free version can track 5,000 visitors a month.

E-signature and document tracking – Pandadoc

These days, the majority of paperwork happens online. With the right tool, you can send out receipts, ask customers to sign contracts, collect payments, and track the status of your various requests from your mobile phone or PC. Pandadoc is a standout e-signature and document tracking app because it allows unlimited free signatures, unlike most of its competitors, and supports payments and document archiving.

Vainu notes that you may need apps in other sales-related categories like sales acceleration, research, video conferencing, and customer service. Many of the apps you do encounter will have overlapping functions.

Sometimes it’s better to pay for skills.

Some critical business tasks – such as bookkeeping and accounting – are too important to entrust to a free product. When the financial health of your business is at stake, one thing worth investing in is staff education. Employer reimbursement programs can ultimately improve productivity and profitability, and there are inexpensive, flexible programs that are ideal.

Consider encouraging your tech staff, admins, sales team, and others to participate. Employees can start coursework on a flexible schedule; online bachelor’s programs like those offered by Phoenix University, for example, can be started on any of the 18 open enrollment dates each year.

Wrapping up.

Using software tools to accelerate and automate your business processes is non-optional in the digital age. With the right business and sales tools, you’ll be able to get more work done faster and boost your revenue significantly. Make sure to thoroughly research a product, read reviews, and take advantage of free trials before settling on any one product.