Revealing the different “pains” and challenges your potential customer has is an important part of any sales process. Our prospects often mention "not reaching personal targets" or "being behind in revenue compared to budget" as such pains. These are the most common decision factors or reasons to act for to our customers, be it a sales person, sales manager or CEO.
In my recent blog post “In a digital world, you still need to be human», I shared that when we sign on new customers, our assigned contact person is scheduled to call back after 14 days to see how they are getting along with the new CRM solution. Inspired by these conversations, I wrote this blog post to encourage better use of any CRM solution you might have or plan on getting.
Change does not come by itself
My sales inspirator, Michael at Zellgeist, once told me that many sales people do the same thing over and over again, and expect improved results. Think about it! If you really want to improve, you need to change. And change sometimes hurts before it does good. Change is important, and if you know where you are going, small daily adjustments will help getting you there faster.
When my sales team calls customers, we often come across people who are still planning to change or improve on daily tasks at work. We hear “on Monday”, or “next month” or “just after the next management meeting”. Inspired by this feedback, we discuss how to make it easy for companies to the get success. Besides hard work over time and fun, you can also consider these five steps on your way to success. To ensure you meet your sales targets.
1. Update company details in your CRM system
Where is your master data stored in your company? Is it in your personal mailbox or personal contact register? Or are you the type what has a great memory for such important details?
Research shows that companies buy after engaging with your company between 11 and 16 times. So every sales process should start by entering company details in your central database or CRM solution, for everyone in the organization to access.
Remember to check for duplicates. Perhaps your colleague is working on a sale to them already? Or she is in contact with others in that company who might put a different light on your possible next sale. Are you already doing business with a sister company in another country?
Centralized customer information is gold for your business, so just get it in there, and expect some help from your own colleagues on the way.
2. Know who are you talking to
How often have you talked to someone in the sales process, without really knowing the title or position of that person. I would recommend you get them onto the contact card sooner than later. They might not sign the check, but possibly guide you in the right direction. If you need more info, you should be able to check other resources social networks like LinkedIn or Companybook for more information on the fly. If you add their e-mail, your marketing department can include them in the central “lead nurturing program” as well.
3. Measure and prioritize your opportunities
The fun part is when you stop using your Excel spreadsheet and start recording your current sales opportunities in your CRM system. When you do, you are forced to add the most likely decision date and which stage in the sales process you are. It also helps you prioritize the most important opportunities. To get started, just register your top five opportunities up for closing.
4. Define your next step
Most sales need a few steps to get ready for closing. Think about your next step on your most promising opportunity. If this is a meeting, just add it into your shared calendar and connect it to the company and invite all participants. Many companies today lack the possibility to connect meetings with prospects or customers and participants in their shared calendars. If you have this capability, use it. It will tighten up your open issues and help everyone involved close the deal or stop further actions. Keep in mind, bad news early is good news.
5. Calculating your pipeline
You are now most likely just a few clicks away from knowing your sales pipeline – and thus knowing what to expect of sales this month. Will you reach your targets? If not, you might have to change some other things as well (like improved prospecting). But for now, you should expect instant results from just adding the right information into your shared CRM solution. By following these steps, I am sure you will improve your ability to prioritize your time to the things that matter most for you and your business. And between us: Start expecting immediate results.