Friday, November 26, 2010

Top 10 Reasons for Sales People to use CRM

I was at a dinner party awhile back and two guests were fretting over the implementation of CRM software at their company.  Their main concern - now their company would know where they were all the time! The first thought that comes to mind is how much do these guys goof off that they are this concerned?

Perhaps they don't know what's in it for them?  Many CRM benefits are directed to Management. Having worked with NetSuite, Salesforce, Zoho, Front Row CRM and Goldmine (to name just a few) the question is, Why should Sales People to use CRM? 

Top 10 Reasons for Sales People to use CRM:
  1. It will help you close more business. Using probability ratings will help you understand where to spend your energy. It bubbles deals in the sales funnel up to the top so you can see them and give them the love they need to close.
  2. You will work smarter. CRM is a great organization tool. It helps you understand who to call, when and about what. Everything is in one central location - no scraps of paper, no wondering what you should be doing next, no lost numbers. If you use dashboards, it lays it all out for you. So simple.
  3. It makes prospecting faster. Have you every had to build your own list? It can take hours. It is so much easier to upload a list or even better, find a list worked by previous rep and dig in. Calls are faster, sometimes warmer and the research is less monotonous
  4. Your memory isn't as good as you think. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night realizing you forgot to call someone or send an email? CRM reminds you to touch base or what the next step is to move the deal along. As long as you enter the details, they will be there for you so you can sound like you remember everything your contact said. You will look like a super star!
  5. Having a compelling reason to call. Almost all CRM systems have filters that allow you to sort by address, City, vertical, company size and more. It is so easy to create a compelling reason to call. I am in your area, we are hosting an event that is relevant to your business, someone in your vertical just bought our product and they love it so you should buy from me as well!
  6. You never told me that! Have you ever had a Manager say that they did not know about something you were working on? Or that you hadn't updated them on a deal? Well, CRM gives your manager access to all of your data which should (in theory) relieve you from having to reiterate details.
  7. Avoid others from scooping your deals. Lead conflict happens everywhere. If your company has a policy on deal registration then CRM will protect you. No more worrying that someone is working a deal behind your back. If you work in verticals or territories, you can run a filter and see who is working deals in your patch. Avoids run ins with your piers and protects your hard work. It is fantastic! Unless, of course, you are one of those people doing the scooping.
  8. Mass Market to your base. If your CRM has email blasting, you can create email letters, advise of promos, send PR announcements to keep your prospects informed while keeping you top of mind. With some CRM platforms, you can integrate with outlook so that all of your correspondence is tracked in the CRM. Makes searching so much easier.
  9. Never lose a prospect. Some companies have dormant or untouched lead rules. For example, if you have not reached out to a prospect in 90 days, they can be approached by another rep. Set up filters to catch prospects before they are removed from your base.
  10. Make more money! By learning how to use your CRM and understanding the previous 9 items, you will make more money. In the past, the volume of deals and prospecting may have kept a portion of your business is your peripheral vision. CRM will keep you sharp and help you earn more commission.
If you invest the time watching the CRM tutorials and really learning the product, it will pay dividends to you in many ways. It will help you work smarter as outlined above but it will also earn you respect and recognition from your piers and the management team. Since so few people really take the time to learn CRM, you will become the subject expert and bring value to your organization.

Happy Selling!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Twitter Best Practices: Top 10 Twitter activites

If you are new to Twitter, here are some best practices that will help you be successful:

  1. You want to turn strangers into advocates - write your 140 character message with that in mind
  2. Choose a handle that will be easy to search or has meaningful key words "CRM" "Sales" "Telecom"
  3. Leverage the Twitter background to expand upon you and your business
  4. Add a photo or image. There is nothing worse than looking at an egg instead of a face. It just doesn't make you want to follow that handle
  5. Follow people, lots of people and search by interests or key words. Search and follow your customers, vendors, competition and "friendlies"
  6. Follow people back! This is the fastest way to learn & grow
  7. Use links! Link back to videos, web sites, articles - anything that is more than 140 characters
  8. Retweet. What's that you say? Taking someone elses message and resending it to your network
  9. Use Direct Messaging. Respond to people who show interest in your tweets. It's like texting.
  10. Have some fun with it! You don't need to go for the jugular with twitter. Be genuine and share ideas. Sharing ideas and knowledge is the foundation of Twitter.
So who uses Twitter? Well, you might be surprised - middle class, up and coming, obviously the cool kids that are progressively minded. I use the cool kids reference in jest. Actually, Twitter is a fantastic B2B tool. With Twitter being only 5 years old, it is a treasure chest that is growing exponentially.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Working with the Y Generation: interview with Dan Pink

As you may know, I am a huge TED fan and I came across Dan Pink as he looked at The Surprising Truth about what motivates us.

The link for his candid talk about managing and working with the Y generation has some interesting points. Being conditioned from the old school, I find myself resisting some of the notions Dan brings to the table. Especially the notion of employer expectations of an employee to conform to the employers pardym. Dan's discussion is summarized into the following:
  • Talented people need organizations LESS than organizations need talented people
  • Expecting the Y Generation to conform won't work
  • Organizations need to win peoples talents
  • The old school ways of having companies trade security for employees loyalty is not the currency of Y Gen's.
  • Y gen's see a lack of reciprocity in trading security for loyalty and that is why talent leaves
  • Employers wonder why employees are disengaged, why the best people don't stick around. The way Y Gen's view the employee employer relationship is that employees offer talent and employers offer opportunity
  • Companies lack of opportunity is why talent leaves
Opportunity can some in many forms - collaboration, special assignments, growth, development, experience. If you look at Dan Pinks presentation on motivation, money is not often a good motivator.

A big shift for organizations to digest! Enjoy the video!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why Prepare for Sales Appointments?

Why Prepare for Appointments?

Scheduling appointments with prospects is hard work. You not only have to arm-wrestle with gatekeepers, but then you have to contend with voice-mail. But eventually, whether by sheer persistence or a little luck, you get through to the intended prospects and you schedule appointments. All of those efforts, however, are wasted if you’re not properly prepared for those appointments.

How do you properly prepare?

The preparation process actually begins before you schedule the appointments. That’s right…BEFORE you schedule the appointments—before you even make the first prospecting call. It starts by specifically targeting your prospects. Doing a little research if necessary and identifying market segments for which you know your product or service is particularly well suited. With a target market segment in mind, you will need to develop two groups of questions to ask during the resulting conversations.

The first group of questions will help identify specific problems prospects are attempting to solve or goals they’re attempting to achieve—areas in which your product or service is highly effective. Here’s an example:

Lately, we’ve had a number of requests from companies in your industry to help them develop cost-effective methods for complying with the new EPA requirements for storage and disposal of industrial solvents. Has your company established such an initiative yet?

The second group of questions will reveal aspects of your product or service that help prospects with their efforts, and establish reasons for them to meet with you. Here’s an example of such a question:

Would there be any value in exploring the specific ways we’ve helped other companies not only minimize the impact of the new compliance requirements, but at the same time substantially reduce their recurring solvent expenditures… and then determine if those methods would work for your company?

Asking, and obtaining answers to these questions will facilitate scheduling appointments that are decidedly relevant and focused for both you and the prospect. In other words, they represent substantially more than suggestions by prospects to “Stop by when you’re in the area.” And, they are more productive than those appointments where you have pleasant conversations and leave literature which, after the meetings, is promptly filed away, and just as promptly forgotten.

There's more to do.

After you schedule the appointments, there’s still more preparation work to do. You should learn as much about the prospects as possible. Visit the companies’ web sites. Google the key players and learn what you can about them. Check the web sites of trade associations to which the prospects might belong and search for articles about them or submitted by them. The more you know about the prospects, the more intelligent and relevant the discussions will be.
More questions.

Just as you prepared questions for the initial prospecting call conversations, you should prepare questions to ask during the appointments—questions that will control the subject matter and direction of the conversations.

Develop the questions you’ll ask or third-party stories you’ll tell to expand on the initial reasons for meeting and help prospects discover specific reasons to do business with you. Also, decide on the strategy and questions you’ll use to obtain the additional information required to fully qualify the opportunity—investment issues or timing of a buying decision, for instance. You need not memorize each and every question. But, you should begin the appointments with a sense of how and when you will bring up the relevant topics.

And finally...

Be prepared to ask for a commitment—whether it’s to take the next step in the selling process or to make a buying decision. All the preparation is for nothing if you leave things open-ended at the conclusion of the meeting. Be prepared with a specific strategy and specific questions to ask.
So, why prepare for your appointments?

The more you prepare for appointments, the more control you’ll have over the selling process. The more control you have over the selling process, the more frequently you’ll “go to the bank.” And, that’s a pretty good reason.

Thank you to Steve D'Agostino from Avega - for sharing this article with me!
Happy Selling!