I attended the Founder Showcase at the Microsoft Campus in Mountain View, CA last Thursday evening and while I did enjoy the overall tone of the conference and some of the presentations were very interesting, there were two specific vendors providing information on two specific products that I find to be very interesting.
Automating Your Sales Funnel Activities
Sometimes people do not buy your product or service right away (I know, hard to believe isn't it?).
For that reason you need a means of keeping you in their mind without you having to keep track of all the various tasks and activities needed to keep them aware of you and your solution.
This overall process is called Marketing Automation and per a set of pre-programmed rules it sends out email's after X days of initial contact, and if they visit a certain page on your website they log that event and send an appropriate email message. These systems also remind you to pick up the phone and call them periodically. In general good and useful stuff.
In case you don't know, the big player in this field is Infustion software for which you'll shell out $2K to $5K up front (depending on the level of customization desired) then pay $200 to $400 per month.
The vendor who caught my eye is Santa Cruz based X2 Engine, Inc, who have an Infusionsoft like product for about 1/5 of the cost.
Turning LinkedIn into a referral engine
The other vendor who really caught my eye is FindTrusted, who layers a Yelp like referral engine on top of LinkedIn.
For my Inbound Marketing consulting business, I personally use LinkedIn both to prospect for customers and to recruit writers. I can personally see the usefulness of know other people's experiences with writers I'm considering hiring.
Check them out
The first product helps you manage your lead flow more effectively.
The second helps you find service provides by reputation within your LinkedIn network (or helps you find clients if you are a service provider).