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Review: Palo Alto Software Sales and Marketing Pro

Peter Drucker once said, “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” You can’t do that without a sales plan or a marketing plan.

Every research study you hear about small business says the number one challenge facing business owners today (and yesterday and tomorrow) is a lack of sales.  This review of Palo Alto Software’s new Sales and Marketing Pro is aimed at helping small business owners who need a step-by-step approach to creating a dynamic and usable sales or marketing plan, or both.

Lots of sales and marketing experts tell you to have a plan and to work that plan. But my questions areDo I really need to write a plan? Isn’t it going to go stale as soon as I finish? Can’t I just carry the details around in my head as I rush from appointment to appointment?

I met Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software, last year and listened to him present to a room full of entrepreneurs. I can just picture him getting ready to school me in his most passionate and enthusiastic tone about how a plan should be a living document. Tim is a valued and frequent contributor here at Small Business Trends [1] and is actively involved in the small biz community.

As soon as you open Sales and Marketing Pro, you know you’re in for some work, but that you’ll have someone holding your hand to get it done. At least that’s how I felt as I opened the review copy I was provided. The software does some unexpected, but positive, things.

First, after you land on the easy-to-choose-from dashboard, you notice that for every question the software asks, it provides a wide range of useful content as well as tips, links and resources to help you get the plan done.

SBT_Palo-Alto-Sales-Marketing-Pro_process [2]

Some things I really liked:

The software also includes special offers from strategic partners and valuable free content.  You can get a copy of John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing book for free (just pay postage). There are SEO and social media books and e-books, price breaks or longer-than-average trials with BatchBook, VistaPrint, and other vendors in the marketing and public relations space (PR Web, for example).

One small thing I wasn’t crazy about: When you go to the Sales Resources button (called Home on the software’s nav bar), it won’t allow you back into the actual software until you exit the Resources window. Even if you minimize it and get back to the main window, it won’t allow you into the software again until you close the Resources tab. A small point, but one that kept stumping me. (There are tons of great documents in that online sales library, though.)

This review of Palo Alto Software’s Sales and Marketing Pro [3] is for the business owner who goes through the day putting out fires, but knows that new prospect call needs to get done before the end of the day. If you are a business owner who wants to create a plan, but simply can’t afford the time to explore how to do it, this software may be just the thing you need to help you get a plan completed one step at a time.