Executive Toolbag At The Ready

Every now and again I get around to using LinkedIn.  Since I do not actively market my "linking in", I am not on the site as much you might think.

I was just on the site this evening and I noticed a great question from an associate of mine, John Warner, who is launching a wiz-bang communication platform utilizing "trusted relationships" to get more things done.

John asked several of us the following question: From simply email to something sophisticated, what's the primary software you use to do business development?

Feeling chagrined that I hadn't responded to any questions in a while and my own curiosity being aroused, I proceeded to chart all the tools that I use on a daily basis.   A little longer that I would have liked but a good exercise for me, I thought that it would make sense to share this answer with everyone...

Here is what I responded:

John,

I wish I had a "silver bullet", but I use quite a few tools -- a mix of open-source, free, and pay-to-play tools. The philosophy is that everything is cross functional and fully mobile.

I need to be able to manage client files and contact info from my phone and my laptop without any interruption. Here are a few of the tools:

  • JOTT (www.jott.com) — still the best way to leave yourself notes, have them transcribed into text, and emiled back to you for $4 per month…
  • reQall (www.reqall.com) — as good as JOTT (maybe a little cooler because it categories your voice notes) and completely free...
  • InstantConference (www.instantconference.com) — your own conference call line with direct integration with Outlook…
  • Funambol (www.funambol.com) — open source way to sync your calendar, contacts, and email with your mobile device …
  • Acrobat (www.acrobat.com) — free online file storage (5GB), WebEx alternative, word-processor, and online PDF creator…
  • Evernote (www.evernote.com) — free note-taking online, desktop, and mobile tool for managing customers (or anything)...
  • ZamZar (www.zamzar.com) — convert any file to ALMOST any other file format and then have it emailed back to you for free…
  • DimDim (www.dimdim.com) — competitor to WebEx but completely web-hosted and free…
  • Viviti (www.viviti.com) or Wix (www.wix.com) — marketing website creators with amazing templates and storage…
  • Qipit (www.qipit.com) — take a picture of your whiteboard “genius”, email it to Qipit, and it will be converted to a searchable PDF…

Less info and more enterprise, but open-source and useful:

  • Alfresco — Content Management
  • dotProject — Project Management
  • JasperReports — Reporting
  • Liferay Portal, Enterprise Portal
  • Magento — E-Commerce Platform
  • Pentaho — Business Intelligence Portal
  • SugarCRM — Customer Relationship Management

LIVE Mesh from Microsoft allows me to keep all my files synced (up to 5GB) across my Macbook and WinMo phone. ADrive offers me 50GB of free storage that is web-accessible. A few more I have used are:

  • Syncplicity — sync up to 2GB across mobile, laptop, and desktop
  • DropBox — sync up to 2GB across mobile, laptop, and desktop
  • SugarSync — best sync tool for mobile contacts and files but not free

When I was using Vista (before OS X) I loved XOBNI (www.xobni.com) which allowed me to integrate LinkedIn, Forbes, Hoovers (and more) directly into Outlook. Apple Mail does not have anything comparable right now (still holding out hope) but there are Apple Scripts that allow me to automate appointment creation and email syncing. I have two products running on my desktop constantly:

  • Calgoo — free tool that does bi-directional syncing between iCal and GCal...
  • sfCubed — free tool that does bi-directional syncing between iCal and Salesforce.com...

Managing social media is another matter (and more complex). Tweetdeck is the favorite desktop Twitter tool and Adium manages all my protocols (Yahoo, GTalk, Yammer, etc...). DIGSBY is the best Windows tool and when they release a Mac version I'll drop Adium in a flash...

For raw, unabashed lead development, I use IMPLU or JigSaw or LInkedIn to qualify and "flesh out" prospects. A series of Google news feeds, RSS links, and "target" alerts keep me informed as to the latest into client specifics.

For managing voicemail I use YouMail (www.youmail.com) exclusively.  My GrandCentral voice account is largely unused...

I forgot -- I also use: QIK, DashWire, Huddle, Xpenser, Bitstrips, Animoto, blist, Twilert, Dial2Do, Lookery, DropCard, jConnect, Drop.io, SlideShare, BrandDoozie, reTaggr, Flowgram, Filterbox, Woopra, Issuu, Spock, DocStoc, and few others on a case-by-case basis. A dozen different options for the exact right weapon to close any deal.......

While it seems like there are too many tools to manage here, I would note that each of these tools  (while also free...) provide unique value.

--- Shout out to @joefeser for the pingback that my links were not all working...  (for a semi-tech write-up you would think hyperlinks would be taken care of......)