Thursday, January 31, 2008
Selecting a CRM application is a very important business decision. Following are some points that you may want to consider when narrowing down your search for CRM software:
Cost of Services
Is there an annual CRM software support cost or are you billed for on-going services? Some CRM software programs are less expensive upfront, but charge as services are used. Make sure you are clear on what you are buying prior to finalizing the CRM agreement.
The CRM solution that you select should have all the functionality that you need and be within your budget.
Does the CRM solution integrate with your current software applications?
Can you create custom reports that work for your business? Flexibility is key with CRM software.
Consider your mobile CRM users. This may include PDA, cell phone and other wireless devices.
Your CRM software vendor should have several specialized training options available to you.
Easy to Use
The CRM software that you choose should be easy to use and provide all the functionality needed in a CRM product.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Choosing a CRM software package is a complicated decision. Completion of an RFP (request for proposal) should be a vital step in selecting a CRM software vendor because it enables a customer to make an informed decision by giving structure to the information gathering process. It allows a potential customer to compare solution based on criteria that is important to them.
Putting together a CRM RFP can be a complex task in itself. Following are the factors that should be considered in a CRM RFP.
Your specific requirements, including integration with exiting systems, end user functions and other key criteria are the most important pieces of any CRM RFP.
Request a complete company history from each vendor. Ask that each provide financial status, organizational structure, mission statements, and future plans for the business.
Proposed Solution and Pricing
After you vendors have completed the previous sections of your CRM RFP, they should be well informed of your company's requirements and budget. With this in mind, they should be prepared to proposed a solution.
Additional costs for training, consulting or any other services should be included in the section of your CRM RFP. Also, include any discounts.
It is a good idea to obtain references from companies who are already using the solution that your are considering. It is best if you can countact other companies within your industry, and various people within those companies who use the CRM software. A site visit is also a good idea, so you can see the product in daily use.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The following quiz will help you determine if your company is ready for a customer relationship managment (CRM) solution.
Ready for CRM?
How do you determine if your company is ready to invest in a CRM project? CRM is a major undertaking. In order for your CRM project to be successful, you must be well prepared. Before your company kicks off a major CRM initiative, you'll need to address the following questions.
What is CRM?
CRM combines knowledge, people, technologies and processes to improve the way employees at all levels access and manage customer information, and interact with current customers and prospects.
How will CRM impact your business?
A CRM software will automate and enhance your key marketing, sales and service operations - not change them completely.
Have you appointed a project manager to head the project from start to finish?
You will need a lead on the CRM project in order for your CRM initiative to go as smoothly as you would like.
Can you get your employees to use it?
Even if your exective team is ready for CRM, that doesn't necessarily mean that other employees are.
Get everyone on the same page before you begin your CRM initiative. Show end users the benefits of CRM software and help them understand how CRM will enable them to perform more effectively. This will encourage them to embrace the idea ofd CRM software.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Prospecting, the skill that all good salespeople need but few make the time to do. Being good at prospecting is part skill, and even larger part effort. Without a sincere and dedicated effort and a good CRM tool in place it will not be successful.
Some very simple ways to generate leads quickly with CRM include:
- Ask clients to introduce, not refer you to another colleague who can use your services. This builds instant credibility and will make the prospect more willing to hear what you do. The rapport building stage has already been set when this takes place. Use your CRM tool to keep track of these prospects.
- Find a fit - If your product intertwines with that of another company, let them know. You can share contacts via CRM because your products help one another, they don't compete. You can even have a partnered workshop where you can cross market to one another's databases.
- Revive old leads with your CRM system - new buyers could be in place, budgets increased and that tough decision maker may finally be ready to buy.
- Create a "pull" effect - generate some type of activity, free giveaway, or idea that will keep them asking for more. A free teleseminar, free cd offer, or a sales tip of the day are just a few ideas.
By utilizing these methods, in combination with your other prospecting approaches and CRM software, you should never have a dry pipeline. Remember, you should never stop coming up with new ways to find business. Prospecting is a critical component to your sales success. If you don't put the effort in, the results will be obvious.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Sales is a contact sport and prospecting for new business is the name of the game. You will never meet a salesperson that failed because they used CRM software or had too many prospects to talk to. For the majority of salespeople, finding new customers is without a doubt the most difficult and stressful aspect of the profession. Prospecting should be viewed more as a mindset rather than merely as an activity. It is something you need to be constantly aware of because you never know where your next prospect will be coming from. It really doesn't matter how competent you are or how well you know your product line, if you don't have a CRM tool and qualified prospects in front of you, you don't have a sale.
- Prospecting for new business with CRM software is similar to working out. You know it is good for you and it will produce positive results if you do it routinely. Professional sales people prospect and use Customer Relationship Management software daily. It is important to block-off specific time on your calendar for prospecting activities such as phone calling and emailing and logging activities in your CRM. Treat prospecting and CRM time with the same respect as you would any other important appointments. This is not the time to check your emails, play solitaire on the computer and make personal phone calls or char with your associated. Stay focused and take your prospecting and CRM software seriously. Set the tone by closing your office door and have your incoming calls help unless it is a call from a client or a prospect.
- Be prepared, get organized and take good notes with CRM software. It is critical to have a customer relationship management system to record remarks and suspense future contacts or appointments.
- Use a script - don't shoot from the hip. There is only one thing worse than listening to a salesperson read a script over the phone and that is to listen to a salesperson without a script. Obviously, it is important to not only have s script but to practice it until it sounds smooth and natural. Set aside time to role-play with an associate over the phone. By taking turns presenting and critiquing you will gain confidence, polish your script and be more effective. When prospecting, avoid the temptation to sell over the phone. Your objective is to gather information and make the appointment.
- Strike while the iron is hot! When working with a new prospect, it is important to make contact quickly and note any activities with your CRM tool. Prospects are perishable. No matter how interested a prospect may appear, don't wait for them to call you. You are only one of many competing interests for your prospect's time and money.
- Keep the high ground and avoid the temptation to badmouth your competition. While it is fair to make head-to-head comparisons, you should avoid personal attacks. Attacking your competition makes you look unprofessional and petty. Emphasized the benefits of your CRM product or service by guiding your prospect through a comparison of quality and price. Play to your strengths and not the weakness of your competition. Let your prospect drawn to their own conclusions from a well-presented comparison.
- Rejection is a natural aspect of the sales process so don't take it personally. Learn from rejection, use it as a feedback mechanism and look for ways to improve your presentation. Record these comments with your CRM product as well. Salespeople who take rejection personally lack perseverance and seldom make the sale. Sales is a numbers game pure and simple. Research indicates that in sales you can expect your prospect to say no five times before they buy. With this in mind, realize that with every sales rejection you receive, you are one step closer to making the sale!