Wednesday, October 31, 2007
There are some simple, yet productive ways that we can better manage our time and achieve true success in accomplishing our daily objectives by using customer relationship management software.
1. Set aside dedicated, uninterrupted time. If you know that your CRM staff starts at 8 am, be there at 7 am to allow yourself time with no interruptions where you can get to things that need your attention without being bothered. Off peak periods are the best time to do this. Record this in your customer relationship management software.
2. Have your voicemail reflect your schedule changes. A good method to deal with this is to have your voicemail indicate that you won't be available until 'x' time and have your receptionist hold your calls as well. This will allow you to give full attention to the task at hand using CRM software.
3. Ensure your staff is notified of your availability or lack of during that time. It is also critical that they are aware of who should be contacted at that time for matters that come up that may require a CRM manager's attention. Many times this task can be fulfilled by a senior CRM rep or handled once you are available.
4. Have a dedicated time to set objectives for what you would like to accomplish during that time and stick to it. Often people will find other things that derail them from completing the CRM task they originally set out to do. If you have a monthly report due but there are 5-6 other CRM tasks that could use your attention, then you need to prioritize what is the most important.
Time management does not have to be difficult, but it does require practice. By carefully monitoring your time so that you are making productive use of it and setting aside uninterrupted time to work on your individual tasks you will find it easier to get more things done. Using CRM software improved time management. That short amount of time can provide amazing benefits for both yourself and your CRM team.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
If you look at your forecasting in your CRM solution for the rest of the year and wonder how many of the deals you're working on have closed, don't think your are alone. If you are interested in getting some of your deals moving, to get them through the sales process, follow the steps below.
There are several type of individuals that we deal with in any selling situation.
The Approver: This is the person that most of us wish we could start with, but we cannot always get access to them. They typically are at the top of the company and they have full decision making authority. They can accept or reject what you are proposing without anyone else's approval.
The Decision Maker: This person is usually one step below the Approver. They will give you the false impression that they can buy when in reality, they cannot say 'no'. The Decision Maker will not resist the Approver. When all is said and done, the Decision Maker has to say 'yes'. If you don't utilized your CRM application and win the business, someone else is going to!
The Influencer: There are several Influencers in the buying decision. Their job is to give guidance and suggestions to the decision maker by providing them with feedback and evaluation results. Individuals in this area typically have impressive titles, however their advice can be taken or ignored; keep this in mind and refer back to your CRM notes when planning your sales approach.
The Recommender: These individuals use CRM daily, are usually the general staff of the organization, and at some point are asked to look at the feedback the Influencers are passing up the chain of command.
Take a look at your sales forecast. In your CRM system, note a 1 for Approver, 2 for Decision Maker, 3 for Influencer and 4 for Recommender for every prospect that you are currently working with.
- Add up the total number of Approvers and Decision Makers.
- Add up the Influencers.
- Add up the Recommenders.
Note this information in your CRM solution. The majority of the people most likely are Influencers and Recommenders. If you would like to close more deals, you need to go one step beyond where you are right now. By dealing with the appropriate decision maker, you will be able to quickly determine whether your product/service is something they are interested in. By doing this you will also be able to determine which prospect are worth spending your time on and which prospects you should let go.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Having clients come to your office for a meeting can be very anxiety ridden, some fear it as much as going to the dentist. While companies utilizing the WOW factor effectively is becoming more common, it is essential that you learn to set yourself apart from your competitors in order to be successful. By making some simple changes including the use of CRM, you can address this quickly.
First, keep in mind that long presentations aren't going to win anyone over. Keep to an agenda for your meeting, refer to CRM notes and ensure that the customer's objectives are part of it.
Second, give special attention to their visit. Do not hand the reins over to someone internally who plans meetings, often they may misunderstand details that could be significant to the client. You should know your client's personality and what is important to them based on your CRM notes, so ensure you've done you homework.
Third, ask if they would like to see your facilities, don't just assume. Some may not see as much value in a tour whereas another client may have extra time available to do this.
Fourth, ensure that your top staff is available for the meeting and be sure that they are educated on what is important to the client based on your CRM notes, as well as what they dislike. Also, update them on the meeting agenda and discuss details to validate that all questions are answered.
Fifth, get the client talking by allowing them to share some information about themselves. Be sure to incorporate any information into your CRM software. Realize the meeting is about your customer, not you or your product/service.
Finally, a sales visit to your office should be thoughtful and should demonstrate that you are trying to help the client address their issues, hopefully by utilizing some of your products. By studying your CRM notes and ensuring that you ask good questions and listen, the problem solving process becomes easier and will make you more successful.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Prospecting, the skill that all good salespeople need but few make the time to do. Being good at prospecting is part skill, and an 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 way to generate leads quickly with CRM include:
- Ask clients to introduce, not refer you to another colleague who can use your services. This build 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 then know. You can share contacts via your CRM software because your product helps one another, they don't compete.
- 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.
Friday, October 05, 2007
We have all heard the phrase 'garbage in, garbage out'. When any company begins to evaluate a CRM system and they review their entire CRM strategy - this is always one of the first expressions to come up. With a proper evaluation of your current systems and appropriate planning for the future, you can make sure this doesn't become the fate of your company.
If there is one thing you need to always keep at the top of your list - ease of use is it. Your CRM system will be useless if no one enters the information you want to track, if data isn't entered because it takes your users way too much time to perform these tasks or if you're not quite tracking the appropriate data to actually benefit your company. It's really quite simple, if your users don't see how a CRM system will benefit them - it won't.
CRM users need to see and understand value. If your CRM users don't get why they need to enter certain information in their CRM system, your data will likely suffer. The success of your CRM initiative is going to be extremely dependent upon the value its users believe their efforts will produce. Users will always ask themselves, how will my CRM system make my job easier, save me time, and possibly make me more money? You should be able to immediately answer such questions.
If your users are convinced that their CRM system will make their job easier and saves them time, you will be able to collect the exact information you are seeking. Many users that have never had experience with a CRM system are amazed as to how much time a good CRM system will save them. Instead of fumbling through note cards or a database that doesn't provide much useful information, their CRM system can give them any needed information about prospects and customers in one click.
Once a company executes a great CRM strategy with a CRM system to match, they wonder how they ever did business without it. Along with the proper direction on your CRM initiative, you can make sure your CRM system will produce the success you're working for.