A Basic Contact Management System Can Make Sure 2010 Will Not Slip Through Your Fingers

If you work at McDonald’s and you have a habit of forgetting to process 1 out of 5 customer orders, how long do you think you’d keep your job?

If you work on the pit crew for Jimmie Johnson and you keep forgetting to put 1 out of 5 lug nuts on the wheels, you probably wouldn’t make it through the first race would you?

Yet each week, as we hold our Wednesday Webinar presenting our online CRM solution to small businesses, I ask the audience what their greatest need is in a Contact Management System. Week after week I hear business owners and sales executives complain that their sales people fail to make their follow up calls.

I could go on with analogies but, really, when you compare it with just about any other profession, we are guilty of letting sales people get away with murder!

At McDonald’s you’d end up with very unhappy customers standing around waiting for their meal. At the race track, you’d probably end up with a serious accident, a expensively damaged vehicle and possibly and injury or two. The point is, in most other businesses, when virtually any employee habitually overlook a key part of their job, customers and other employees are quickly faced with the consequences and action is taken. You’re reprimanded, retrained or fired.

In sales, when you get a new lead and then forget to call them for two weeks, no one really knows it.

So, shame on you sales people for not getting organized on your own so this won’t happen. But, you know it does, too often. Maybe you get a few referrals at the networking breakfast you attend and just never get around to calling them until you discover your notes in your briefcase and can’t remember why they were supposed to be good leads.

That makes it feel less like a blatant failure but, if your responsibility is to find new customers for your business, which we know is a matter of diligence and a bit of luck, isn’t it your responsibility to turn over EVERY rock?

More importantly, shame on you business owners and sales managers. All the most successful human enterprises in history have thrived on common purpose and common procedures that drive efficiency and consistency. You know that. Yet you fail to require it of your sales people.

How many of the leads your marketing delivered in 2009 did your sales people fail to make appropriate follow up to? Based on what I hear from customers every day, its got to be 25 to 50% for many businesses. What did that cost you? A lot of marketing expense wasted. More importantly, a lot of opportunity for new accounts and new sales just left for dead.

As a business owner that spent many years selling, I’ve seen it from both sides of the table. I know as a sales person its easy to get distracted with more urgent matters. If you’re hip deep in closing the biggest deal of the year, you might be right in staying focused on that. The problem is that most sales reps just don’t have a system to be sure that they get back to those leads when the big deal is in the bag.

I also know that as a business owner, its tough to get your sales people to adopt any sort of new system. They will kick and scream and act like the new system is ruining their unique and finely tuned approach to the art of selling.

Well, didn’t 2009 teach us all that we’ve got to grab hold of every new opportunity like its golden?

As we begin a new year in which we’re all hopeful businesses will begin to grow more rapidly and a rising tide will float all of our boats, I suggest that the opportunity to create your own rising tide is only a few hours of work away.

Really. If all your leads get prompt and appropriate follow up, what would that mean to your 2010 sales? Is that worth a few hours of preparation?

It really is simple. All you need is a simple contact management system for new leads to be captured and follow ups to be scheduled.
Salespeople – just because a follow up is scheduled, it doesn’t mean your boss is going to come reprimand you if you’re a day late. It only means you won’t forget anymore and each day you won’t have to spend 30 minutes rummaging through your briefcase to find the leads you need to call.

A good web based contact management system or online CRM should be able to capture and track leads and remind sales people about follow ups literally out of the box. It shouldn’t cost much either. $1 to $2 per day per person is all you should pay for an online CRM with more capabilities than you can imagine. What is a new lead worth to you? Isn’t the expense worth it?

In fact, for that sort of cost, your new online CRM or web based contact management should also be able to do a lot of other very valuable things for you:

  • Track notes and important details about each lead
  • Manage documents related to each lead
  • Create professional quality letters and emails using templates
  • Email blasts to entire lists of leads
  • Automatic drip email marketing campaigns

And, Analytics. The interesting thing about analytics is that sales people tend to think they’re just for management.

Even with a basic web based contact management set up that tracks the follow up to leads, you’ll be able to easily and accurately track the number of leads coming in and the results. In my experience, the best sales people are constantly coming up with creative marketing ideas to get more leads. The problem is that their normally working from their gut instincts and can’t express the idea in terms of cost or potential return.

Well, if you know how many leads came in last month and what you spent on your normal marketing activities, then you know the cost. If you know how many turned into real prospects or customers, you know something about the value of those leads. Now you have a benchmark.

With very simple, out of the box, online contact management or CRM capability, you can easily gauge potential new marketing efforts against your benchmark. In fact, what I find is very common is that new online CRM users will discover that some of their most expensive marketing efforts are NOT delivering the results they think they are. That’s a good thing!

When we discover that a regular expense is not delivering the return we thought it was, we can redirect those dollars. We can reduce what we’re spending on the under performing marketing efforts and increase expenditures on more profitable marketing. Now the business and the salesperson win! More leads and more profit!

 

I know this sounds like a big sales pitch. Honestly, I want to see as many small businesses succeed as possible.

What I know is that your sales and marketing efforts will not be at peak performance without some basic contact management or CRM in place. Sure, I’d love it if you choose to take a look at SalesNexus. In fact, you can start a free trial of SalesNexus today and literally be capturing leads and managing follow ups today.

However, I encourage you to do something. Go to the computer store and get ACT! Do some searches and find the right solution for your business. There are a lot of contact management and CRM options. Just please, do something. Your 2010 will be a much more profitable journey.

Happy New Year!

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