I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t get the sales or marketing professional on your holiday shopping list something fun, for enjoyment outside of work hours. But if you’re buying for a colleague or peer, or just know something work-related would be appreciated, here are a few suggestions.
1. A license to ActiveWords or TextExpander
These programs, in a nutshell, use just 1-2 keys to auto-complete frequently-used copy or (in the case of ActiveWords) execute multi-step tasks on your computer for you. Excellent time-savers both (ActiveWords is for Windows, TextExpander is for Mac), especially for the email responses, instructions and other highly-repeated pieces of content that sales & marketing pros bang out repeatedly throughout the day and week.
2. Tornado Retro 51 Pen
I am in love with these pens. They have a fantastic weight and ink flow. They’re more expensive than your typical BIC pen, but way cheaper than the high-end pens you typically find in the jewelry and stationary stores. Believe me, anyone who takes a lot of notes all day will greatly appreciate this one.
3. Subscription to your local business journal
I think the weekly metro business journal has gotten a bad rap of late. With metro daily newspapers cutting coverage and resources in their own business news departments, weekly business journals are emerging as one of the most important sources for aggregating regional business news, finding out who’s doing what, which companies are on their way up, and who else in your business community you should get to know and network with. I find a 15-20 minute scan of the weekly journal each week gives me what I need, and is well worth the time.
4. Thin Moleskine notebooks
I used to carry the larger “pocket” notebooks, with the nice elastic band. But I’ve taken to using the thinner ones now, which still fit in a jacket pocket (or purse) but take up less space. They’re great for taking quick notes or jotting down ideas on the go, and having them all in one place.
5. Business card holder
The death of business cards has been greatly exaggerated. And when someone asks for them, the last thing you want to do it pull out your wallet and hand over a card with bent corners that’s clearly been in there too long. It’s far more impressive to pull out a clean business card holder, and hand over a nice, crisp card. There’s value in the presentation.
6. Shower notepads
Everybody gets good ideas in the shower, but few of those ideas are remembered once you’re out. These waterproof notepads are perfect. They take notes with a simple pencil, and dry quickly.
7. Subscription to WordTracker
Every sales and marketing professional should be using a keyword research tool like WordTracker on a regular basis. It’s not only a great way to research keywords to use more regularly in your daily copy as well as your core positioning, but can also ensure that the content you create has a better chance of getting you better natural search coverage. Easy to learn, easy to use.
8. A copy of Getting Things Done
This is still the seminal book for most highly-productive professionals. Anyone who feels disorganized in a typical workday will find even a couple of David’s ideas help make them feel more organized and efficient. As a bonus, buy some of David’s templates as an accompanying gift. After reading the book, your recipient will likely want them too.
9. A multi-plug travel power/USB hub
Easiest way to make friends at any airport. You will need this anyway to stay powered and connected, and those around you will greatly appreciate it as well.
10. Subscription to Inc Magazine
This is one of the few magazines I read cover to cover, every month. Everyone from entrepreneurs to enterprise sales executives can learn a ton from the inspirational stories, innovative ideas and best practices featured on a regular basis.