According to IDC, global information technology spending will top $4.8 trillion in 2018, with the U.S. accounting for approximately $1.5 trillion of the market.

So, if you simply need to answer a few questions about a project, schedule a meeting with a colleague, or network with prospects in a faraway place, use technology. There are a number of free and affordable tools and apps available in the market to assist you, and all you need is to have these tools loaded on your device and your contact list ready.

Here are a few of our top picks.


1. CircleBack (iOS, Android) is an address book and contact management app that keeps your contacts clean, de-duplicated, up-to-date and in a centralized location. With its email signature capture feature, you can add new valuable connections to your address book from Gmail, Google Apps, Outlook/Exchange, and Office 365. You can also add contacts to your address book using CircleBack’s business card scanner. Saving your contacts in CircleBack makes your prospect’s/colleague’s information handy, allowing for easily organized online meetings.


2. Calendly: Calendly is a simple, easy-to-use meeting scheduler. With it, you don’t need to rely on traditional tactics like e-mail or phone tags; it allows prospects to connect right away. You can set your availability, share a link with customers, colleagues, clients etc., and let them pick the event time that gets added to your event calendar automatically. Calendly integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook, and is fully optimized for desktops, phones, and tablets. Once this is done, connect with clients/colleagues at the decided time.


3. Google Hangouts: Use hangouts for video or voice calls, group chats, text-based messaging, file transfers, and for document and spreadsheet presentations. Google Hangouts focuses on ‘face-to-face virtual interaction’ and uses sophisticated technology to flawlessly switch the focus to the person currently chatting. It can be accessed via a Web browser or the Android/iOS app. Once connected, you may need to take notes or share documents.


4. Evernote: With this note-taking app, create agendas, write memos and craft presentations. Add comments to the documents and share them during meetings. The app helps to pace-up projects and maximize productivity by allowing multiple participants to access and work on various aspects alongside each other. Notes can be taken in a variety of formats including text, sketches, photos, audio, video, PDFs, web clippings and more, and you can sync and comment on content across all devices. If you’re conversing with a new prospect, and you think the relationship can be taken further, go ahead and do more research on the prospects and create a strategy on how to follow up after this meeting.


5. HubSpot CRM tracks customer interactions automatically whether in an email, across social media or on a call. The CRM syncs with Gmail, or Outlook using HubSpot Sales, and captures every call, email or meeting as they happen. With HubSpot, follow up by sending useful content to your prospects, figure out what content your lead is consuming and personalize it further. You can even make calls from inside the CRM and book more meetings. Once you’ve built a rapport and come to an agreement, you can use DocuSign.


6. DocuSign: The electronic signature app offers a convenient way to sign, complete and request signatures from anywhere, anytime, using any device. All documents are tamper-proof and highly confidential information is protected through encryption, making them quite secure. DocuSign’s eSignatures are also widely acceptable and legally binding. So, once you close the deal, start delivering, and take intermittent feedbacks using your CRM or other tools to ensure things are going well. Continuously improve and innovate!


With these tools, you can simplify your workflow and network easily and smoothly. So, connect and conduct business with people in any part of the world using technology to save your time and effort and to free up your resources for better purposes.