Cloud Computing is Hot, but is it Right for Your Business
Posted on : 16-04-2014
A flat economy, costly hardware upgrades and a reduction of IT resources is causing more and more businesses to migrate their computer operations from local servers to the cloud. What can cloud computing provide to your business and should you take the leap?
Sales Best Practice: Skilled at dealing with adversity and failure
Posted on : 09-04-2014
Every now and then, I run across an idea which makes a significant impact on me. One such was the idea (I wish I could remember who first said it) that the surest indicator of success was the ability to deal effectively with adversity.
Quality Service Comes at a Cost
Posted on : 04-04-2014
I recently wrote an article titled “CRM: A Race to the Bottom” where I discussed the cut throat competitive nature of the customer relationship management software industry where vendors are doing almost anything to attract new customers.
The Practice of Sales
Posted on : 01-04-2014
“Every profession expects the serious practitioner of that profession to continually seek out the best practices of that profession, and then to roll them into his/her routine with discipline.”
Sales Q&A – Should I keep calling?
Posted on : 26-03-2014
Q. My boss recently decided that we must call prospects once every hour, every day, until we get a yes or no, regardless of what they say, or if it’s voicemail. What’s your opinion of this?
Make Social Media a 2-Way Conversation
Posted on : 21-03-2014
In a recent seminar, one of the sales people asked if I thought that creating relationships with people wasn’t just a natural ability. You either had it, or you didn’t.
Sales Best Practice: The science of making good first impressions
Posted on : 17-03-2014
In a recent seminar, one of the sales people asked if I thought that creating relationships with people wasn’t just a natural ability. You either had it, or you didn’t.
I replied that building relationships with prospects and customers was a competency, just like planning and preparing, asking questions, making a presentation, etc.
Commence Shatters Industry Standard with Departmental CRM
Posted on : 14-03-2014
EATONTOWN, N.J., March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Commence Corporation, a leading provider of cloud-based CRM software for small to mid-size businesses, today announced the repackaging of their popular CRM product to better support changing customer requirements. New packages will be available starting March 15, and include CRM applications for sales, marketing, project management and customer service.
Sales People: Position Yourselves with Power
Posted on : 10-03-2014
His eyes were narrow and bloodshot from staying out late and partying too heavily the previous night. A two-day old stubble framed his face. He was wearing a dark colored tee-shirt, which he hadn’t tucked in, a pair of jeans, and scuffed loafers which had probably never seen shoe polish. It was the second day of my Sales Academy seminar, and this participant in the program was complaining to the group that his customers were only interested in low price.
CRM: A Race to the Bottom
Posted on : 06-03-2014
Customer Relationship Management (or CRM which helps businesses streamline the internal business processes that impact sales execution and customer service) is booming. So much so that new companies and products seem to pop up like mushrooms on a moist afternoon. This is because the cost of entry into this space is very low. Anyone with a PC and some development skills can put together a basic contact manager, buy a website template and a URL and compete in the CRM sector. The market sector has become so competitive that new vendors, and some established ones that are struggling to build a customer base, will do almost anything to get you to use their product including giving it away for free.
Webinar Series Brings Added Value to Commence CRM Customers
Posted on : 03-03-2014
Commence Corporation, a leading provider of online Customer Relationship Management software, has announced it is conducting a series of educational webinars throughout the month of March. The sessions will be focused on specific components of the CRM software such as tips for administration and customization, creating e-mail marketing campaigns, efficient activity management and more.
Sales Q&A #31 – Customer doing business with several vendors
Posted on : 25-02-2014
Q. What do we do when a customer wants to spread the business between several vendors, even though I know we can provide better service?
A. If you are looking for a short, easy solution, there isn’t any. The solution to this, like so many sales problems, is a matter of a long term, consistent approach on your part. There is probably nothing you can say or do, in the short term that would impact this.
Sales Best Practice #16 – Has cultivated a unique personal presence
Posted on : 18-02-2014
There is something about a superstar sales person. They radiate confidence and make an impression that you notice and remember.
That’s because they understand, and implement, this best practice. They intentionally and thoughtfully cultivate a unique personal presence. They understand that they will be more effective if their customers remember them positively, and so they work to stand out in the customer’s mind.
Sales Performance Tips – Astute Planner
Posted on : 11-02-2014
Here’s one of the foundational principles for sales success: You’ll always be more effective if you think about what you do before you do it.
Can you imagine a football team not creating a game plan or not practicing before the big game? Can you imagine a musician not preparing a piece of music before the recital? Can you imagine a politician not practicing the big speech? Or a doctor not reviewing the x-rays and the procedure prior to a major surgery? Or a lawyer barging into a case without having planned it? The answer to all these questions is, “Of course not.” In every event of any importance at all, professional, effective human beings plan and prepare beforehand. It’s an essential step toward success.
CRM for Sales Automation No Substitute for Good Sales Management
Posted on : 06-02-2014
As an executive you are angry and frustrated with the performance of your sales team. Sales are stagnated, leads do not end in closure and every month is a repeat of the month before. Something has to change. You start thinking that maybe you need to shake up the staff or get a CRM system so that the team can get organized and close more business. My advice. Don’t do it, at least not yet.
Sales Q&A #30 – Getting an appointment
Posted on : 29-01-2014
Q. Dave, I’ve tried for months to see a prospect account, but can’t get them to return my calls. When is it best to just give up?
A. There is a question we have all asked at one time or another. As usual, there is no simple answer. Let’s explore this.
First, let’s decide whether or not the potential of the account is worth some extraordinary measures and additional investment of your time. Is the potential dollar volume substantial? Is it just an ordinary account? Is it smaller than most?
If it is a small account, I’d say give up and move on right now. It probably is not worth your effort. If, however, the potential is substantial, then that impacts your strategy. So, determine that first.
Is Customer Relationship Management an Oxymoron?
Posted on : 27-01-2014
Customer Relationship Management or CRM is a booming market. Companies both large and small want to streamline their internal business processes and improve how they sell and provide service to their customers. The service side is becoming extremely important because businesses see improving the customer’s buying experience as a differentiator between their company and their competitors. This all makes perfect sense, but what is a bit perplexing is that the CRM software solution providers do not seem to practice what they preach. Here is what I am referring to.
Is There a Storm Approaching in CRM Software?
Posted on : 23-01-2014
What a crazy industry. There are literally more than 450 CRM solution providers all vying for a piece of a rapidly growing software sector called CRM. The intense competition has forced many vendors to do things I am sure they had no intention to do when they entered the market and that’s offering their software and cloud hosting service for free.
Best Practice #10 – Makes good use of tools provided by the company
Posted on : 17-01-2014
I just rode with two sales people for one of my clients. One of them went off with only the address of the company in his head. He took nothing into the sales call, and took no notes afterward. The other had looked up each call in the company’s CRM system, and had printed the records to take with him. He approached each sales call with a folder in which he had the printed record and some literature. Immediately after the sales call, he made notes on the document, and would enter it into the computer when he was finished for the day.
Sales Q&A #29 – How many sales calls on a customer?
Posted on : 02-01-2014
Q. What is the best and ideal number of visits to be done on a current customer on a regular basis to retain his loyalty?
A. Here I go again. It depends.
So many questions in the world of professional sales are answered by that phrase.
It depends on how detailed is your product line. The more complex and difficult it is for the customer to decipher, the more visits by you. The more simple the product line, the fewer the visits.
Top 20 CRM Software
Posted on : 20-12-2013
Commence CRM has been named one of the Top 20 CRM Software solutions by Capterra.com. Providers were ranked by popularity using a combination of their total number of customers, users, and social presence. We believe that our ranking would be higher based on new functionality added to the product since this review. We are however pleased that our firm has been recognized for the high quality product and service we provide.
Has the CRM Software Industry Gone Insane?
Posted on : 19-12-2013
Looking for a CRM solution to improve how you market, sell and provide service to your customers? If you are then according to industry reports there is a good chance you will become part of the 73% percent of companies that have failed to implement the system they selected or to realize a return on their investment. The CRM industry has gone insane. Both vendors and consumers are to blame for creating an environment that has produced nothing more than frustration, failed implementations and unmet expectations.
Have You Selected the Right Cloud Provider?
Posted on : 16-12-2013
A recent report by the Gartner Group should be raising concerns for adopters of cloud computing services. The research firm predicts that 25% of the top 100 IT service providers in the infrastructure space won’t be around by 2015. The report indicates that some will be merged or acquired and some will simply go out of business. What does this means to cloud adopters?. It means you need to be extra careful with whom you do business. This will certainly be a wake up call in the CRM software industry where literally dozens of smaller solution providers offer hosting services from virtually unknown cloud hosting services.
Best Practice #37 – Engages in annual planning retreat
Posted on : 11-12-2013
“Ready, shoot, aim.”
Unfortunately, that’s the approach many salespeople take to task of determining how to best invest their sales time. It leads to squandered sales time, unproductive days, and results which are far less than they could be.The best salespeople, the top guns, take a different approach. They engage in certain planning disciplines which help them make good decisions about the investment of their sales time and help them to stay focused on the most important use of their time.
Customer Support Differentiates CRM Software Providers
Posted on : 09-12-2013
CRM is all about building and managing the business relationships with your customers and in order to be effective you have to do this before, during and after the sale. Mid-size and larger organizations realize that this will require a fairly comprehensive CRM solution that addresses four business processes; account management, sales opportunity management, marketing campaign management and customer support. They also realize that they will require professional services, training and perhaps some assistance in tailoring any CRM solution to their requirements. This makes the CRM software selection process a bit easier for these companies because there are only a few high quality solution providers that can meet these criteria. It also serves to quickly differentiate the myriad of product offerings that do not.
Leveraging Satisfaction to Build Customer Relationships
Posted on : 05-12-2013
So, you have created a customer, you’ve actually sold something, and you have some money in the bank.
Before you become too enraptured with yourself, let me remind that you are not finished. There is a greater goal, and a larger and more encompassing strategy into which this transaction fits. If you focus all of your time and energy on creating sales, you will, unfortunately, miss the mark.
Three Business Challenges that Prompted One CEO to Take Action
Posted on : 03-12-2013
Your sales organizations should operate like a well-oiled machine, enabling management to produce accurate forecasts and predict future revenue, but it’s an area that too many companies continue to struggle with. I remember attending board meetings where a forecast from a crystal ball would have been just as accurate as what was provided to me from our regional sales managers
Sales Q&A #28 – How do we get more calls in when driving?
Posted on : 26-11-2013
Q. How do we get more calls in when driving time is so long?
A. I’m going to answer this on two levels. First, when you have a big geographical territory with lots of windshield time, you have to do a better job of routing your calls to maximize the time with the customer. Plan your basic itinerary at least a month in advance, and try to schedule your calls in a logical pattern so that you are not driving back and forth. Schedule the longest drives before your first appointment, during lunch, or after your last appointment so that you are using the 8:00 to 5:00 selling time to its maximum advantage.
Best Practice #50 – Regularly talks with customers about their needs
Posted on : 19-11-2013
“We need two cases of widgets.”
Here’s how the average salesperson responds to that request. “I have them in stock. It’ll be $300 each case.”
Ah, but the superstars have a different approach. “OK. Can I ask why you need those now?”
“Sure,” says the customer, “we got a new project from one of our customers, and these are going to be packaged with a couple of other things for the sample prototypes.”
Commence CRM Highlights Midmarket Product Positioning
Posted on : 15-11-2013
Most CRM Software offerings are designed for a specific market segments and fall into one of three categories; Small Business CRM, Midsize CRM and Enterprise CRM. This paper highlights several areas that differentiate the market segments and where Commence CRM fits in the industry. The differences traditionally lie in the following areas.
One of the Emerging New Rules for Sales: The Value-Added Sales Call
Posted on : 12-11-2013
"My customers seem to have less time available for me than before. They are harder to see, and when I do get in front of them, they often seem rushed or preoccupied. What can I do about this?"
Sound familiar? It’s a question that I am hearing more and more often. I’m sure you have run it through your mind a few times.
Social CRM: Reaching Out to Customers through Social Media
Posted on : 08-11-2013
Social customer relationship management, or Social CRM, is becoming a critical component for conducting business in today’s competitive environment. Today, customers are not afraid to tell the world about the experience they have had in conducting business with your company. Social sites like Twitter and Facebook along with other industry blogs can play a significant role in driving potential buyers to your site or away from it.
Don’t overlook those who may impact the sale
Posted on : 04-11-2013
Every salesperson is taught early in their career that to be successful you have to get to the decision maker. In today’s difficult economic environment this is truer than ever before. First line managers that often made decisions in the past now need to get executive approval for even small purchases. Sales people know this and are now making an even greater effort to get to the decision maker. But they need to be careful not to ignore others who can impact the decision process or become part of the process late in the game. Have you ever experienced the following?
Commence customers coming on board with CRM hosting service
Posted on : 29-10-2013
For more than two decades companies have been managing and maintaining their business software on traditional client server platforms. This requires the purchase of the proper server hardware and software along with backup and recovery systems, virus protection programs and disaster recovery plans. In addition you need experienced IT personnel to manage and maintain these systems because they have been highly customized over the years. All of this is costly and with today’s difficult economic environment small to mid-size businesses are struggling to maintain their infrastructure.
Best Practice #41 – Manages emotions to be always productive
Posted on : 11-10-2013
I had just switched jobs, going from a salary, bonus and company car to a 100 percent commission position. It was a big risk, but I had calculated the amount of existing business in my new territory, and calculated that, if I could double it, I’d be actually making a better living.
Sales Q&A #27 – How do you get inside sales to be proactive?
Posted on : 30-09-2013
Q. How can we get inside sales to do some proactive sales activities each day? We expect our inside salespeople to use some of their time to shift into the proactive mode to make outbound phone contact to existing and new business. But it is hard for them to do this regularly.
A. I wish I had $5.00 for every time I came across this question. I would have retired years’ ago. Let me answer it in two ways.
Sales Q&A #26 – How many sales calls should a sales person make?
Posted on : 24-09-2013
Q. How many sales calls should a sales person make?
A. In about one out of every two seminars that I do, I hear this question. It springs from a manager’s concern for defining what constitutes a “good sales day.” And sales people want to know so that they have some ammunition to fend off unreasonable expectations of their managers. So, let me settle the issue once and for all: I don’t know.
Persistence is Key to Winning Sales
Posted on : 19-09-2013
As an executive I get sales calls every day. If I answered even half of them I would not get anything done. What is a bit perplexing however is how few of these sales representatives ever call back. It’s as if they have already determined that since I did not take their initial call I have no interest. I may indeed have an interest, but like most company executives I do some traveling and have a busy schedule. When I return to the office I probably do not have these people on my return call list because I expect that they will call again, but very few do.
Bring Your Own Device a Growing Trend in the SMB Community
Posted on : 05-09-2013
You may have heard the term before “BYOD” or bring your own device. This is a growing trend in the small to mid-size business community and its one that is good for both business and employees.For decades the standardization of hardware and software had been a top priority for IT departments and for good reason. Lack of compatibility among different vendors’ hardware and software offerings made maintainability and support of disparate products a nightmare for IT professionals. As a result, companies were basically forced to standardize on hardware platforms and software products that could be upgraded and supported by in-house personnel.
How to get up when you’re down
Posted on : 27-08-2013
I’ve been pondering an email I recently received. In it, the young sales person described his most pressing challenge: The sales roller coaster. When things go well, he’s up, emotionally, and when things don’t go well, he’s down. The swings from up to down were wearing on him. His real question is one every sales person must confront and successfully resolve: How do I manage myself to keep my emotions up and my energy high?
Handling an “Entitlement” Mentality
Posted on : 23-08-2013
Q. My question is about the now generation of kids that are potential candidates for sales positions, or already on your sales staff. They think they deserve it all now, and are not willing to work hard for their pay. How do you deal with this type of person when you are interviewing them or if they are already on your sales staff?
Systematically pursues partnerships with high-potential customers
Posted on : 19-08-2013
Suppose you viewed your job a little differently than the typical salesperson. Instead of “selling stuff” being the primary focus of your job, you, instead, saw your job as building relationships with individuals and companies such that they moved ever closer to you, and as a result, purchased more and more from your company.
Should Your Company Use a Cloud-Based CRM App?
Posted on : 15-08-2013
Cloud computing is gaining acceptance in business, and CRM is no exception. Firms now operate in a mobile world where sales, customer service, and production teams may not be in the same geographic location. Individual employees often work from home or on the road, and it is common for many professionals to have a 24/7 workweek. Fortunately, a wealth of cloud-based apps to manage customer relationships have come on the market, providing new benefits to these companies on the move.
Contact Management vs CRM Software
Posted on : 13-08-2013
Companies seeking a contact management or customer relationship management solution need to consider one aspect of their business before diving into the evaluation of products. Ask yourself one simple question – do you work with individual people, companies, or both? The answer will put you on the right track.
7 Little Things You Can Do to Show Customers You Care
Posted on : 05-08-2013
Making customers happy and completely satisfied is the best way to ensure the growth of any business. But of course, this is often easier said than done. After all, problems can come up and glitches in all types of systems can develop. For instance, not every customer care representative is as good as the next, and some CRM software solutions can turn out to be lacking in the solution department.
Sales Tips for Getting Around Two Difficult Situations
Posted on : 31-07-2013
Sales professionals have a tough job. While constantly under pressure to make their monthly or quarterly sales numbers they have to deal with prospects that – well don’t always represent their position of authority or their company’s requirements accurately. You know the story. How many times have you been told that someone is the decision maker, only to learn later that they clearly are not? Well here are two situations that come up frequently and what you can do about them.
Using CRM Software for Acquiring New Customers
Posted on : 29-07-2013
Can customer management software programs have an impact in acquiring new customers? You betcha! Today’s top rated CRM software solutions now make it possible to create customized drip marketing campaigns to introduce your business to new prospects and to nurture ones that are not yet ready to make a decision.
CRM Software Now an Unavoidable Investment
Posted on : 26-07-2013
In today’s fast paced on demand environment if you are not able to address customer inquiries quickly and efficiently you’re out of business.
Organizations big and small need to efficiently manage customer relationships and they can no longer do it with a spiral notebook or an Excel spreadsheet. You need to be agile, social and prepared to engage your customers. The only way to effectively do this is to have one central database where you can capture, track, manage and share customer information with people throughout your organization. This is the promise of CRM software.
Sales Question and Answer #25 – How much time and money should I spend on my own education?
Posted on : 23-07-2013
Q. I’ve read your ideas about the need to invest in developing myself. Can you quantify that? How much time and money should I spend on my own education?
A. Now that‘s a question I’m rarely asked. It’s refreshing to receive it.
I’m assuming that you are referring to your education beyond formal schooling. After you’ve finished your degree and you’re done with your academic education, how much should you invest in your continual growth and development?
Closing the Sale Means Being a Good Listener
Posted on : 18-07-2013
Regardless of the type of business you are in, your prospect has some idea of what he or she wants to buy. But most are not 100 percent sure because they may be dealing with uncertainty and experiencing insecurity. No one likes nor enjoys being uncertain or insecure and they are not going to buy if they feel this way.
Best Practice #31 – Makes it a practice to expand the customer relationship by bringing customers to our facility
Posted on : 15-07-2013
Every now and then I encounter a salesperson who believes that it is to his advantage to have all the calls and requests from the customer go to him personally. Picture a salesperson with his arms wide open, trying to encircle and control every relationship with the customer, every communication, and every transaction.
CRM Buying Secrets of the Experienced Consumer
Posted on : 11-07-2013
Companies that have become successful with CRM software have a uniquely different approach to the evaluation and selection process. I call these the experienced consumer. The experienced consumer has most likely purchased software before and knows that mistakes can be costly.
CRM Buyers Guide for the Commodity Buyer
Posted on : 09-07-2013
The commodity buyer is the complete opposite of the checklist consumer. There are actually two types of commodity buyers. They are typically defined by size.
Commodity buyer 1 is a mid-sized or larger firm with specific business requirements that need to be met. The requirements are typically documented but may not be fully understood by the product evaluators. This however is irrelevant because the commodity buyer is not going to spend too much time evaluating CRM solutions, or comparing features and functions like the checklist consumer does.
Dealing effectively with the competition
Posted on : 08-07-2013
Unfortunately, the existence of the competition impacts every industry, every business and every sales position. What the competition does or does not do can make a dramatic impact upon a company and a sales person. That impact can range from squeezing you to the point where you go out of business on one extreme, to creating tremendous opportunities for growth and profits on the other. The competition and their potential impact on your business is a fact of life. No matter how hard you wish, you are not going to be able to make the competition go away.
What Type of CRM Buyer are You?
Posted on : 02-07-2013
The CRM software sector is an explosive market. The introduction of cloud based CRM solutions that no longer require the implementation of computer hardware or software, coupled with a large number of low cost offerings for small to mid-size businesses, have fed the global growth of this industry. Growth predictions for this sector indicate that businesses are going to continue to buy CRM software to automate and streamline their internal business processes. Despite the rapid deployment and ease of use of web-based systems, the CRM software sector continues to suffer from low utilization levels and unmet expectations.
Commence CRM Poaching Salesforce.com Customers
Posted on : 01-07-2013
Competition has sure made a difference in the CRM software sector just like every other industry today. Of course it’s great for the consumer, but it can wreak havoc on a manufacturer or solution provider. This appears to be the case for CRM industry leader Salesforce.com who paved the way into the world of cloud based computing, but who today is struggling to retain their price points against strong industry competitors like Microsoft and lesser known Commence Corporation.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late – Invest in Your IT Infrastructure or Invest in the Cloud
Posted on : 28-06-2013
Cloud based computing is beginning to make sense to small and mid-sized companies that may have gotten themselves in a jam by failing to invest in their IT infrastructure. The dismal economic climate has forced many businesses to push off investing in their hardware or software until a later date. The problem is that date continues to get pushed further and further down the road.
New Conversations Feature in Commence CRM Gets Good Customer Reviews
Posted on : 27-06-2013
Commence Corporation is a CRM software solution provider that has continued to invest in their product by introducing new features and enhancements year after year. This latest one called “Conversations” is an instant messaging tool that is built right within the CRM software. It’s a handy application that complements e-mail and your telephone, and is used to communicate with internal or external staff. What’s nice about conversations is that once a message is posted it will appear on the dashboard of the Commence CRM users and they can respond accordingly. There is no requirement to open a folder like there is with e-mail and if the end user is on the telephone they can still read and reply to the message.
Sales Question and Answer #24 – How do I get to see new prospects who won’t return voice mail?
Posted on : 25-06-2013
Q. How do I get to see new prospects who won’t return voice mail?
A. Since this continues to be one of the most asked-questions I receive, I’ve decided to spend several months on this question. In an earlier article, I talked about creating a powerful, persuasive opening statement. Recently, I discussed the concept of an effective “pre-call touch.” In this piece, I’m going to discuss some effective tactics for making the call.
Utilizing Twitter to Counteract Negative Customer Reviews
Posted on : 17-06-2013
One of the more challenging aspects of business management is counteracting negative customer reviews. Customer relationship management (CRM) is always a delicate balance of responding without seeming defensive.
And in this new world of instant messaging, mobile platforms, and social media, where news is spread virally, companies need to respond quickly and efficiently. Twitter, the micro-blogging social media platform, is a great tool for CRM.
Sales Best Practice #30 – Systematically analyzes key accounts in order to identify opportunities for growth.
Posted on : 12-06-2013
Mediocre sales people are content to react to the requests of their customers, and focus on maintaining the relationships in order to solidify the business they enjoy.
The best sales people understand that, while some of the above is necessary, they proactively seek to discover additional opportunities for growth in their key accounts and strategically build relationships with people who can open doors for them.
Creating new customers – Eight ways to identify new suspects
Posted on : 06-06-2013
Every sales organization, and every sales process, begins with identifying a group of suspects. Suspects are people and organizations you suspect may one day do business with you. They aren’t yet prospects, because you don’t know if they have a legitimate need for what you sell, or if they can make the decision and buy your product or service. That determination comes later.
5 Statistics that every Sales Manager should track using their CRM system
Posted on : 30-05-2013
The most basic function of any sales manager is to make sure that their sales team is doing the things that they need to be in order to be successful. Sales managers should keep their eye on certain statistics that will give them valuable information about the performance of their team. These statistics can range from activity tracking, response time, sales tactics, using internal resources and rate of closing.
What’s the Best CRM Software?
Posted on : 23-05-2013
There is no such thing as the best CRM software.
There are several products that may address your business requirements better than others, but there is no top CRM solution or best CRM system. Sorry to disappoint you. There is a lot of hype in this industry sector and millions spent on marketing and branding, but the best CRM software for you is the system that best meets your current and future business requirements. It’s that simple.
Don’t Let Quality Leads Slip Away: Executive Takes Action with CRM Software
Posted on : 21-05-2013
Larry Caretsky, Commence CEO, has released the white paper “Don’t Let Quality Leads Slip Away: Executive Takes Action with CRM Software.” The project was driven by our internal requirements and the frustration shared by so many executives I had interviewed who were looking to address this business challenge.
Sales Question and Answer #23 – Which sales magazines and sales improvement seminars do you recommend?
Posted on : 20-05-2013
Q. Dave, I’m interested in what you would recommend for a subscription to a monthly sales magazine and a sales improvement seminar.
A. You have touched one of my hot-buttons with this question. So, forgive me if you give a longer answer than you expect.
Sales Best Practice #29 – Creates a well thought out monthly plan
Posted on : 13-05-2013
There are several very common temptations that routinely present themselves to the field salesperson. One is to become too reactive. When you succumb to this temptation, you eventually default to a mindset that sees your job as essentially being your customer’s gofer. You determine where to go and what to do on the basis of who wants something from you at the moment. Thus, where you go on Monday depends on who called on Friday.
Beliefs that limit a salesperson’s performance – the problem with passion
Posted on : 09-05-2013
This is one of those pieces of conventional wisdom that no one seems to question: “It’s good to be passionate about your product.” Like so many of these conventional myths that ingrain themselves into our psyche, this one has the potential for frustrating countless thousands of sales people, sales managers and chief sales officers.
Top Tips for Using Social Media to Enhance Your Reputation
Posted on : 07-05-2013
Did you catch that Clydesdales commercial during the 2013 Super Bowl? Budweiser had just a bit of an audience that day, yes? Now – think back. How did it end?What’s the last action you can do to be a tiny part of this masterful piece of marketing?
If you can get your audience to respond, act, remember, engage, think, click, create, offer, contribute, participate, like, tweet, take action – or even name a baby Clydesdale – you have successfully used your social media marketing tool.
Using CRM to Leverage Sales
Posted on : 06-05-2013
In part one of this paper, we discussed how critically important it is to select a sales model that is appropriate for the products or services you are selling. In our case study the ‘NewCo’ company needed to transition from a high cost direct sales organization to selling via the internet and channel partners.
Reaching Buyers at the Right Time
Posted on : 02-05-2013
Internet marketing experts estimate that at any given time only a fraction of the market is interested in the product or service you are selling. The problem is if you don’t know who they are or when they plan on buying, how can you earn their business? Here are some things you can and need to do.
Commence Corporation celebrates Take Your Child to Work Day
Posted on : 30-04-2013
Take Your Child to Work Day is gaining momentum in the state of New Jersey and provides an opportunity for children to experience what mom and dad do in their careers while the kids are busy at school. It’s a fun time for all and helps build a bond between staff members and their children.
Pointers for Breaking the Ice with New Customers
Posted on : 29-04-2013
Breaking the ice with new customers is based on the initial meeting or point of contact. With that, it is important to have an understanding of the prospect’s purpose and goals. Preparation and planning for that initial meeting is imperative.
Getting the Right Sales Model is Critical for Small to Mid-size Businesses
Posted on : 26-04-2013
“This is nothing new.” says Larry Caretsky, president of CRM solution provider Commence Corporation. “I think the biggest challenge facing small to mid-size companies today is dealing with the evolution of how products and services are sold today. The Internet has created an on-demand mentality for all kinds of products and services – products that were once sold by professional sales people, either face to face or via the telephone. While the bigger guys have adapted to this new sales paradigm, many small to mid-size companies are trapped in old school thinking. They tend to stay with what they have done for years even though it is no longer working.”
Join the Conversation with Commence CRM
Posted on : 18-04-2013
At Commence we value our customer relationships.
“Relationships, not technologies, are what make CRM strategies successful. They connect people and get work done, deliver value, solve problems and gain insight into how better to serve customers in the future.”
How CRM Can Help You Better Communicate with Your Customers
Posted on : 16-04-2013
Probably the number one mistake that companies make is that they think CRM is solely about their own efficiency. That’s well intentioned, but if this is indeed the only focus of their CRM, they’ve taken their eyes off the ball. Of course, the ball is the customer.
Pure Play CRM Vendor Making Big Impact
Posted on : 15-04-2013
You don’t have to be an 800 pound gorilla to provide a quality product and make an impact in the CRM software industry. In fact, pure play CRM solution provider Commence Corporation has been doing it for more than two decades and has a large and rapidly growing customer base.
Achieving a holistic 360 degree view of your customer
Posted on : 12-04-2013
Four best practices for achieving a holistic customer view. One of the main reasons businesses implement a CRM system is to gain a complete, 360-degree view of their customers. However, large enterprises in particular often have difficulty achieving this goal. Many organizations grapple with how best to provide a holistic view of all the activities of an enterprise customer and how to implement a one-stop shop for analytics and actionable data.
Commence Teams Up with the Kahle Way Sales System
Posted on : 10-04-2013
Commence Corporation, a leading provider of online CRM software, has teamed up with Dave Kahle of the Kahle Way sales system to provide customers with a winning formula for improving sales execution and performance. Start with a top rated CRM solution for contact and account management, lead management, sales opportunity and pipeline management, sales reporting and sales workflow automation. Complement this with sales representative and sales management training from an industry expert to create and implement a structured sales process that will deliver more sales more quickly.
Sales Best Practice #28 – Sets annual specific, measurable goals for sales performance
Posted on : 08-04-2013
The best salespeople are habitual goal-setters. There’s a good reason for that. When you set a goal, you survey the world of all possible things that you could possibly do, and decide which of those things are the most important. You then turn that decision into a goal. And that goal then influences your day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month decisions.
Commence Bridges the Gap in CRM
Posted on : 05-04-2013
The CRM software sector is highly competitive with dozens of automated systems to choose from. There are desktop solutions, hosted and cloud based systems that can be deployed in just a few minutes. Prices are all over the map ranging from free to more than $200 per user per month and in some cases just don’t make sense. It’s a confusing sector that has left many companies on the fence with regard to which CRM system to choose and here’s why.
Multi-tasking, focus, and other stuff
Posted on : 03-04-2013
I just had a conversation with a sales manager at my last seminar. The gist of it is this: he has so many competing responsibilities; it is difficult to spend time with his sales team. Sound familiar? It should. I have heard that idea expressed countless times by executives, sales managers and sales people. In one way or another, sales professionals find themselves increasingly occupied by trivial tasks at the expense of the important ones. Effective sales time management is the greatest challenge facing sales professionals in this turbulent economy.
Are you on the fence with your CRM selection?
Posted on : 01-04-2013
Selecting a CRM system for your business can be a daunting exercise. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to make a decision about a product or service that you do not feel educated about. You don’t have the time to dig into the details of every CRM product offering, but you may not have to.
Make CRM Work FOR You – Not Against You
Posted on : 22-03-2013
Want to improve your marketing and brand awareness, generate more leads and close more business? Of course you do and you can with the right tools and business processes. Today’s online CRM programs offer excellent functionality to help you become a more efficient sales and service organization. But it’s hard to use CRM to automate your internal business processes if the processes themselves don’t exist.
3 Tips for Finding the Right CRM Vendor
Posted on : 27-03-2013
Picking the right tool and the right vendor is the most important first step to effective use of a customer relationship management, or CRM, system, according to Mark Dancer of Channelvation, featured in MDM’s recent episode of Executive Briefing. You have to pick a solution that is aligned with how you want to use CRM.
Sales Question and Answer #21 – Dropped the Ball
Posted on : 25-03-2013
Q. If you dropped the ball with a customer, how can you redeem their trust again?
A. By “dropped the ball”, you can be referring to two different situations. First, it was your company who messed up. Your company didn’t fulfill the promises you made. Or, second, it was you. You didn’t do what you said you would do, or you somehow personally violated the customer’s expectations for you. Regardless, the remedy is similar.
Are You Price Sensitive or Value Sensitive?
Posted on : 22-03-2013
While the economy limps along the computer software industry is doing fairly well perhaps due to the continued growth of software as a service. Software as a service (SaaS) allows businesses to begin utilizing a variety of software applications quickly and efficiently. With software as a service there is no hardware to purchase or software to implement. Both hardware and software is provided, managed and maintained by a third party solution
It’s Time to Upgrade from Contact Management Software
Posted on : 20-03-2013
There was a time long ago when contact management products like ACT!, Goldmine and Maximizer provided good value for people looking to manage contacts, their calendar and their activities. But limited functionality, troublesome synchronization of data, and lack of mobile access has now made these products obsolete. The good news is that there is a completely new generation of products available that are affordable, and offer so much more than traditional contact management systems.
CRM Competitors Invade Salesforce.com Territory
Posted on : 18-03-2013
Now that the enterprise CRM market has become saturated, CRM solution provider Salesforce.com has set their sights on the small to mid-size market. But they are running into some stiff competition in this sector.
Salesforce.com has done an excellent job at building their brand and creating name recognition. How have they done this? With a lot of money and some tricky marketing. The problem is that they have a cost structure that’s not really designed for small to mid-size enterprises. Let’s face it, Salesforce.com was designed for enterprise level companies that have unique business requirements – features that people simply had to pay dearly for if they really required them. I am referring to things like multi-language and multi-currency support and the ability to support several thousand users.
Customers Realize Maximum Value with CRM Video Training
Posted on : 15-03-2013
Commence On-Demand, the popular online CRM software for small to mid-size businesses, is helping customers realize a rapid return on their investment through the use of video training. “We know our customers are busy and may not have the time to schedule formal training sessions” says Flo Viau, a senior member of Commence Corporation’s professional services team, “so we are making it easier for them by continuing to add video training sessions to our current library. This allows customers to view these video presentations from the comfort of their office desktop PC or from home.”
Sales Best Practice #27 – Has a systematic set of criteria for classifying customers and prospects into ABC categories
Posted on : 13-03-2013
Today’s selling environment is jammed with an unbelievable array of “things to do.” Left without any mechanism to take control, salespeople can easily default to a way of going about their jobs that is characterized by being extremely busy at all the wrong things. We spend all day reacting to the pressures and demands on us. At the end of the day, we have been busy, but we’ve accomplished little of value.
The best salespeople understand that daily temptation to give in to the urgent in place of the important. They understand the need to prioritize. And, when it comes to sales, the most important aspect of your job to prioritize is your list of customers and prospects.
Best Value in CRM Software
Posted on : 11-03-2013
If you are a small to mid-size business looking for CRM software you probably have one business objective in mind and that is to find: (1) a stable and quality company, (2) a top rated product that will meet your requirements and (3) a firm that will provide you with world class customer service.
There are a plethora of CRM solution providers to choose from, but very few that meet all three criteria. There is one company however that has consistently risen to the top in all three areas. That company and product is Commence. Outlined below are some of the reasons customers say they chose Commence CRM for their business.
4 Reasons Why [CRM] Software Purchases Fail
Posted on : 07-03-2013
Have you ever been in a “blame” meeting? It’s one of those meetings called when numbers are down or after a project or purchase failed miserably. As you might guess, there’s a lot of finger pointing and blame spreading. Not only are these meetings painful, they are completely unproductive. Since everyone is too busy deflecting blame, no one learns from their mistakes.
Fundamentals of Key Account Selling
Posted on : 06-03-2013
Almost every professional B2B sales person comes to grips with one of the challenges of penetrating key accounts. Key accounts are different than the ordinary, and require some more sophisticated skills and strategies. Here are four fundamentals for effectively penetrating key accounts.
Sales Question and Answer #20 – Is Being Yourself a Sales Strategy?
Posted on : 04-03-2013
Q. Is “being yourself” a sales strategy?
A. If you are naturally an attractive, sensitive, empathetic human being who everyone loves to be with, if you have a great measure of sensitivity and perceptiveness coupled with outstanding intelligence and unshakable integrity, then the answer is “Yes, of course, be yourself.” If you are anything less than perfect, though, maybe you ought to carefully consider it.
Small Businesses Need to Think Differently when Considering CRM Software
Posted on : 03-03-2013
Small businesses have the same challenges as larger firms. They want to improve how they market, sell and provide service to their customers, and they want to use CRM technology to gain an edge over their competition. Where they differ however is how they evaluate and purchase the products and services that can help them to achieve this goal.
Commence CRM Battles Industry Leaders in Europe
Posted on : 27-02-2013
Who says a smaller less known CRM software provider can’t mix it up with the big boys? While industry leaders Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com fight for market share in Europe they now have to contend with Commence Corporation, a company that has been gaining ground in the small to mid-size business sector.
Sales Best Practice #39 – Regularly and systematically meets and interacts with all the key contact people within A accounts
Posted on : 25-02-2013
It’s so easy to become complacent and satisfied with our “relational comfort zones.”
Those are defined by the people with whom we have developed comfortable relationships, who can be counted upon to see us and spend some time with us. These people make us feel comfortable.
Commence CRM – The Best Choice for Small to Mid-Size Businesses
Posted on : 20-02-2013
Competition in the online CRM software sector is intense and growing as more players seem to enter the space every day. While companies like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com CRM are mainstream players that are trying to be all things to all people, several other CRM software providers are now challenging these companies with similar offerings that have been designed specifically for small to mid-size businesses.
Commence Automates Lead Management Process with Flexible CRM Program
Posted on : 18-02-2013
Commence Corporation, a leading provider of online CRM software, is helping small to mid-size businesses tackle the grueling process of lead generation, lead qualification and lead management. “This is one of the biggest challenges facing the SMB sector” says Larry Caretsky, president of Commence Corporation. “Many of these firms do not have highly experienced sales management or their sales staff may not have worked with automated programs like CRM software before. As a result, there are a lot of manual processes in place that work but are highly inefficient and costing these companies time and money.”
Commence Corporation Tangles with CRM Giant
Posted on : 15-02-2013
Everyone knows that the CRM software industry is highly competitive with companies like Microsoft making a whole lot of noise and spending millions of dollars to market their solution. So how does a smaller player like Commence Corporation continue to make a name for itself and win decisions over this industry giant? “It’s easy if you understand what you provide and your competitors do not” says Tom Gibson, sales manager at Commence. “Of course some people are always going to make their decision based on name recognition, but Microsoft’s reputation in the CRM sector is sort of ‘good company, so-so CRM product’ and it has been this way for years.”
The Ultimate Sales Improvement Skill
Posted on : 13-02-2013
These are incredibly difficult times for sales people.
Competition in almost every industry continues to intensify. At the same time, customers seem to expect more and more service and demand lower margins. Most markets are rapidly changing, and it’s hard to keep up with the changes in technology and products.
CRM Software – No Training Required
Posted on : 11-02-2013
Got your attention haven’t I and isn’t this exactly what small businesses want to hear? It sure is and it’s the “tag line” of the majority of CRM vendors who sell to the small to mid-size business community. Why? Because it’s the only way to sell to this segment of the industry and it works.
No one wants to hear that they have to invest time in training or customization to address their business requirements. The darn thing should just work out of the box and make my organization a more efficient sales and service organization.
CRM No Commitment – Means No Results
Posted on : 06-02-2013
As an executive of a company servicing the Customer Relationship Management software sector, CRM has become a bit of an oxymoron for me. I believe that building long term business relationships with your customers requires a commitment to providing quality products and great customer service. This traditionally involves reaching out to your customers and engaging with them so that they realize the maximum value from your product.
Best Small Business CRM 2013
Posted on : 04-02-2013
Small businesses have the same challenges as larger businesses. They want to improve how they market, sell and provide services to their customers. They want a dashboard that provides a snapshot of current business activity and they want real time reporting so that they can make informed business decisions.
A Three Step Approach for Differentiating CRM Software
Posted on : 01-02-2013
Selecting a CRM software solution for your business does not have to be a grueling exercise or require months of analysis. Believe me, it’s not as hard as you think if you know how and where to focus your time. This three step approach will help you to determine what type or category of CRM solution you should be looking for in just minutes – I promise. This paper is a three part series starting with an introduction and discussion of the first step in the three step approach.
Commence Addresses Gap in Mac CRM Software
Posted on : 31-01-2013
A few years ago you would have never thought that the Apple Mac would become so popular as an alternative for automating and managing business processes. The PC owned the desktop for more than two decades, but that was then and now is now.
The one concern that does exist is that the number of business applications designed specifically for the Mac is far less than for the PC and in some areas there is a large gap. One business segment that has experienced this is the CRM or Customer Relationship Management sector. While there are some programs that support the Mac, they require additional add-on or plug-in software which is often more costly and can be problematic.
Lead Management Tool Helps Close More Business
Posted on : 29-01-2013
Leads are the bread and butter of every company. Properly capturing and managing leads can make the difference between closing more business or wasting time on tire kickers. Despite this, most small to mid-size companies do not have an efficient process for lead management and conversion. The good news is that they can.
Maintaining Price Points in 2013 Challenging for CRM Vendors
Posted on : 24-01-2013
A lot has changed in the past 24 months in the CRM sector. Increased competition at all levels has created a commodity market where price points have fallen drastically and vendors are struggling to renew their agreements with existing customers. Perhaps most affected by this is the once dominant Salesforce.com who was first to market with a cloud based offering for account management and sales software. Being first to market enabled Salesforce.com to establish a high entry price for their product which many companies were happy to pay. But that was then and the market for CRM software has changed substantially in the past two years. So much so that Salesforce has now set its sights in other areas for growth, such as unified communications and social CRM. This has opened the door to pure play online CRM providers who are now signing up customers that two years ago would have gone to Salesforce.com.
Sales Question and Answer #19 – How to Become the Best Salesperson
Posted on : 22-01-2013
Q. Mr. Kahle, was there ever a time in your sales life that you just decided to be the best? Or was it something that you have always had? I started a business a few years ago, and need to take it to the next level.
A. Wow. What a good question. I have honestly never been asked that before, nor have I ever thought about it. So, your question prompted a whole new area of thought for me.
Professional Service is the Differentiator for Commence CRM
Posted on : 17-01-2013
Customer Relationship Management is all about maximizing the long term business relationship with your customers. In order to do this you need to ensure that you become efficient with how you market, sell and provide service to your customers. The problem here is that this is a significant challenge for most small to mid-size businesses, who often do not have the resources or experience to become a more efficient sales and service organization. Those who foolishly believe that a good CRM system will address this requirement have found out the hard way that it won’t and are now frustrated that a year has gone by with little to no change.
Step Three in the Approach for Differentiating CRM Software
Posted on : 15-01-2013
Ok you are nearing the end of the process. In Step One, you selected the category of CRM vendor best suited for your business and in Step Two you narrowed down your choices to 2-3 vendors. Now you are looking for that one unique differentiator that pushes you in the direction of one vendor or product over the other and here it is – Value Added Services.
Foolish Thinking Causes the Failure of CRM Software
Posted on : 14-01-2013
Small businesses often struggle with how they manage and execute their marketing message, lead generation programs and sales opportunity management. This is because they typically do not have the expertise on board to implement or automate the internal business processes that drive these requirements. What’s worse is that many believe that the mere purchase of a good CRM software program will fix the problem; then later learn that it won’t. Want to know why? Because CRM software doesn’t run your business – people do.
Use Online CRM Software to Connect With Your Customers
Posted on : 11-01-2013
You have probably heard the old saying: “Leave your customers alone and they will go away“. In today’s business environment staying in touch with your customers is paramount to achieving a level of service that drives customer loyalty. While the human touch is important for building rapport and ensuring that your customers are pleased with your product or service, CRM software is now playing an important role in complementing the human side of the service equation.
Setting Expectations for Online CRM
Posted on : 10-01-2013
Small to mid-size businesses looking for online CRM software need to set the proper expectations when selecting newer CRM technology that’s delivered over the Internet.For the past two decades the standard for CRM software was on premise or desktop applications. Over the years, these programs became very mature allowing administrators and end users to tailor the software to meet unique business requirements. Companies that are now looking to transition to online CRM where the software is hosted or managed by a third party need to appreciate that many of these newer CRM software programs have been designed to provide customers with a set of “out of the box applications” and features that meet generic business requirements. While some of the enterprise CRM solutions offer tools for customization they are traditionally very expensive and require programming expertise to utilize. This can add a significant cost to the overall expense of your CRM system.
A Three Step Approach for Differentiating CRM Software
Posted on : 02-01-2013
Strategic Planning for Sales People
Posted on : 31-12-2012
“Ready, shoot, aim.” Unfortunately, that’s the all too common description of the field sales person’s modus operandi. In a misguided attempt to stay busy and see as many people as possible, too many sales people subscribe to the theory that any activity is good activity.
There was a time when this was true. Customers had more time, sales was a simpler job, and any conversation with a prospect or customer was a good thing. But times have changed, and the job of the sales person has become much more complex. The pressure on the sales person to make good decisions about the effective use of his time has never been greater. Sales people now must confront an overwhelming number of potential “things to do,” and that requires them to make decisions about which customers in which to invest their time, to prioritize their activities every day, and to continually choose from a menu of possible activities. In other words, sales people must now engage in strategic planning.
Sales Question and Answer #18 – Are sales people made or born
Posted on : 21-12-2012
A. I field this question, in one form or other, in almost every seminar I do. Just heard it again yesterday in relationship to the competency of building relationships. The questioner opined that building relationships was a natural talent. You either had it or you didn’t.
One of the things I’ve learned over the years is this: On some issues, the person’s opinion says more about that person than it does the subject of his thoughts. I’ve found that to be true in regards to the question “Are sales people made or born?”
Top Salesforce CRM Competitors
Posted on : 13-11-2012
Many people hear a lot of great things about Salesforce.com CRM and instantly wonder if it is the right platform for them. If this sounds like you, then you are probably full of questions and quite intrigued. You may also be wondering what the top Salesforce competitors are, so you can compare and review them. After all, if you are going to make use of a cloud CRM, you should make sure that it is the right one for you.
Contact Management Software for Apple Mac and PC
Posted on : 19-03-2012
There are some features that you will want to look for when shopping for your contact management software to make it more user friendly. You want to make sure your software is user friendly so your employees want to use it and don’t see it as another thing that will take up more time. To make it user friendly, make sure you find contact software that can be used online. Not only does this save you money but it also makes it easier on your employees since the contact management system can be accessed from anywhere. You may also want to look into making sure the software is compatible on both Mac and PC computers. This way everyone can have access to the system and there are no compatibility worries. You also want to make sure email and other programs can be integrated into the system to make it easier to have everything in one place.
What is Cloud CRM Software?
Posted on : 25-03-2011
The term Cloud CRM software means different things to different people. CRM refers to Customer Relationship Management or the process by which you market, sell and provide service to your customers. Today’s highly competitive landscape coupled with a difficult economic climate has many businesses looking at Customer Relationship Management software as tool to give them a competitive edge over their competition.
Sales Best Practice #25 – Maintains good records about customers
Posted on : 12-12-2012
It is the Information Age. That means wise and effective sales people collect, store and use good information about their customers and prospects. That information provides the salesperson with a competitive advantage, is invaluable for planning for the best use of his sales time, and allows him to be much more effective in his sales calls.
Commence CRM Makes Mobile Computing Easy
Posted on : 10-12-2012
The mobile device market is booming. 2012 will be the year that mobile devices, specifically tablets, end up as holiday gifts for more people than ever before. While many of these tablets will be used mainly as social media devices, more and more companies are beginning to outfit their field sales and service personnel with tablets for business use.
What does this mean for CRM solution providers? Well cloud based CRM providers like Commence Corporation are paying very close attention to the mobile explosion and understand that the use of these devices for business purposes will continue to grow.
Gaining Market Share in a Difficult Economy
Posted on : 05-12-2012
In the B2B world, the relationship between the customer and the vendor, and more specifically, the vendor’s sales person, can be of utmost importance.
It doesn’t take long in the business to understand that if the customer dislikes you, he is rarely going to see you. And if he does know you and trust you, he is more likely to do business with you.
Sales Question and Answer #17 – Scheduling Field Visits
Posted on : 27-11-2012
A. There are a couple of ways to answer the question. From one perspective, you need to have your own relationship with the good customers in your area of responsibility. There are several reasons for that.
First of all, you’re a boss – part of the company’s management. As such, you are perceived to have more power and influence than a sales person. Your good customers will want to know you, because the relationship with you gives them access to higher levels within your organization.
Best Lead Management Software is Commence CRM
Posted on : 21-11-2012
Managing and qualifying leads is a serious matter in today’s highly competitive market. Poor lead qualification means that your highest cost resource (i.e. your sales team) is spending valuable time and money on sales opportunities that either never close because they were poorly qualified or if they do close, they do not return the margin you need to stay in business. So what do you do? You can’t buy you way out of this problem by hiring the best sales people in the country that are experienced qualifiers, but you can fix the problem quickly and efficiently for just a few dollars a month. How?! By implementing a lead management system from Commence Corporation. Each new business opportunity is properly qualified — not by the experience level of the sales representative, but instead by an automated process the rates and color codes each new lead based on a set of pre-determined criteria.
Are You Paying Too Much for Your CRM System?
Posted on : 19-11-2012
If you chose a CRM solution over the past 18 to 24 months you may have paid more for that system than you would today. The CRM software industry that had once been dominated by a few vendors, like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com, has now become highly competitive and somewhat of a commodity. In fact, there are now more than 400 companies offering some component of CRM software to the small to mid-size business sector. This increased competition has caused prices to plummet and the advantage that companies like Microsoft and Salesforce.com once had in the sector has withered away. Why has this happened? The answer is quite simple.
Sales Best Practice #24 – Regularly and methodically invests in personal and professional development
Posted on : 16-11-2012
Only one out of every twenty salespeople has invested $20.00 or more of their own money on their improvement in the last twelve months.
Amazing, isn’t it? In a world that demands ever-improving productivity, the overwhelming majority of salespeople are content with their personal status quo. That is not true, of course, of other professions. That’s why teachers have in-services, doctors go to conferences, nurses have on-going training, ministers and social workers attend workshops, etc. Members of every other profession in the world understand that continuously improving yourself is one of the characteristics of a professional. If you are going to be in the game, you have to play by the rules. And continuous development is an expectation for every professional.
It’s Time to Move Past Contact Management
Posted on : 14-11-2012
Many small to mid-size businesses continue to manage their business using basic contact management tools and an Excel spreadsheet. They have become so comfortable with this process that they may have overlooked the value offered today through the use of CRM or customer relationship management software.
Why should these businesses consider CRM? The answer is clear. In order to respond quickly to customer inquiries and new sales opportunities, follow-up on leads and get proposals out the door your staff regardless of their position needs immediate access to vital customer information.
Beliefs that limit sales people – Good salespeople are good talkers
Posted on : 13-11-2012
“He has the gift of gab. He’ll make a good sales person.” It’s been a while since I last heard that expression. The idea is, of course, that sales people are good talkers. If you are a good talker, you are well on your way to having the necessary qualifications for a sales career. While that figure of speech isn’t popular today, the idea behind it continues to have currency.
That idea is, like so many other pearls of conventional wisdom, completely and utterly wrong.
Nothing Personal but Your Sales Management Process Stinks
Posted on : 07-11-2012
“…no CRM system alone is going to fix a sales team that has no sales process, no management and no direction.”
Sales is a tough game and getting harder and harder in this troubled economy. For sales people it seems like the competition will do almost anything to win business. This is why it so critical to have an established set of rules in place for qualifying new leads and managing the sales cycle. By properly vetting leads you can ensure that you are following up on the most promising new business opportunities. Having an established sales methodology or process in place will help define each stage in the selling cycle from introduction to closure.
Apple Mac Users Recommend Commence Online CRM
Posted on : 06-11-2012
Users of Apple Mac computers have had difficulty finding customer management software designed to operate specifically on the Mac platform. Some vendors indicated that they could operate on the Mac, but required plug-in software or add-on components that added complexity and caused reliability concerns for Mac users. While more options have become available, internet bloggers and customer forums are recommending an online CRM software program from Commence Corporation that not only offers robust functionality, but operates natively with the platform. Commence CRM also integrates with e-mail for the MAC allowing Mac users to continue to use the e-mail environment they are accustomed to.
Does Your Monthly Sales Forecast Keep Coming Up Short?
Posted on : 26-10-2012
If you’re a sales executive you have got to be tired of explaining why the monthly or quarterly forecast keeps coming up short? I understand because I have managed large teams of sales representatives ranging in experience from 1 year to more than 20 years. I shared your experience then I decided to fix it. What I learned is that there is one main reason why the forecast consistently disappoints and a fairly easy way to address this challenge.
Sales Question and Answer #16 – How to Handle Difficult Customers
Posted on : 24-10-2012
Q. How would you suggest I respond when a customer gets abusive and uses profanity with me?
A. That’s a difficult call. I have had only a couple of these experiences in my career. Let me do a little thinking out loud (or as it may be, on the computer.)
First, let’s clarify the situation. We are not talking about a customer whose conversation is routinely laced with four letter words. In that case, there is no animosity, anger or abuse directed at you; this is just how he/she speaks. These customers are crude and vulgar, but they are crude and vulgar with everyone, not just you, and there is no negative impact intended. We all know customers like this.
#1 Alternative to Salesforce.com
Posted on : 23-10-2012
Salesforce.com has done an excellent job in establishing themselves as a leading provider of CRM software. They have done it with a massive marketing and advertising campaign and a pretty good product, but this solution is not for everyone and small to mid-size enterprises continue to find it to be cumbersome and simply too expensive. The good news is that like any product or service offered today there are some very good low cost alternatives that are easier to use.
Managing Customer Relationships Doesn’t Have to be a Chore
Posted on : 19-10-2012
The key to building quality customer relationships is ensuring that all employees have immediate access to the data they need when a customer calls. Today’s customer management software solutions offer the ability to capture, manage and share vital customer information with the people who need it to provide world-class customer service.
Are CRM Product Reviews Losing Credibility?
Posted on : 15-10-2012
Consumers looking to purchase specific products and services often turn to the internet to begin the process of gathering information about what’s available to them. The internet is a wonderful, quick and efficient source of information, enabling you to hone in on specific products or services and visit individual company websites or read product reviews.
Sales Best Practice #22 – Has a system for selling any product or service that we present.
Posted on : 12-10-2012
The best salespeople are systematic in their approach to their job, while ordinary salespeople are haphazard. That’s one of the reasons why they are the best.
We know that sophisticated routine work is best accomplished by implementing effective systems. McDonald’s, for example, didn’t get to where they are by hiring the best people they could find and then asking them to figure it out. Rather, they created a system, and then constantly tweaked that system. That approach applies to every area of human endeavor. From surgeons to ministers to fishermen to house painters, the routine and sophisticated aspects of their jobs are best addressed with systems. It applies to sales as well.
Thinking about Sales: It’s all about the Risk!
Posted on : 10-10-2012
Sometimes it is so frustrating. You know you have a better product than that which your prospect is currently using. Your price is attractive, your service is outstanding. If the prospect would switch to your solution, you know they’d be delighted. You’d save them money, smooth out their processes, reduce their inventory and generally make their life simpler.
Commence CRM Reviewers Guide Making an Impact on Sales
Posted on : 01-10-2012
Every company interested in selecting online CRM software wants to make sure they are making the right decision by fully understanding the capabilities and limitations of the products they are evaluating. This can be a challenging task for the person or people chosen to complete the evaluations.
Sales Question and Answer #15 – Betrayed
Posted on : 28-09-2012
Article By Dave Kahle
Q. I worked on a large bid for a company with which I had relationships in the past. I knew that we could do a great job for them but I also knew the buyer in charge of the project worked from fear and comfort and it would be a big change for him to turn over about 600K of business to us.
Small to Midsize Companies Need Better Sales Processes to Improve Sales Performance
Posted on : 20-09-2012
In today’s highly competitive market you need to have well-defined business processes for lead generation, lead qualification and sales pipeline management if you want to survive, and it does not matter what you are selling. Small to midsize firms however are often at a disadvantage against the industry giants in this area for the following reasons:
Sales Best Practice #8 – Knows how to overcome procrastination
Posted on : 13-09-2012
“Mañana.” It will wait until tomorrow. There are times when it is so tempting to tell yourself that, and to actually believe it. Clearly, sometimes it is true. However, when we continually put off for tomorrow those things that could and should be done today, we become less effective today. And while it is true that it is only one day, the truth is that we will never have that day back again.
Don’t Fly Solo with CRM Software
Posted on : 12-09-2012
Small to mid-size businesses want to take advantage of the same technology the big guys are using for lead generation, efficiently managing the sales cycle and improving their customers’ buying experience. The good news today is that they can. Online CRM programs are affordable, easy to implement and easy to use. So why do so many companies fail to realize a return on their investment with CRM software? The answer is simple.
CRM Invest Streamlines Order Taking Process With Commence CRM
Posted on : 05-09-2012
Eatontown, New Jersey (PRBuzz.com) September 5, 2012 -- Commence Corporation a leading provider of desktop and cloud based CRM software is continuing its expansion in the Baltic region through a partnership with CRM Invest, a consulting firm that provides application development and system integration services based in Finland.
Closing the Sale – A Realistic Perspective
Posted on : 04-09-2012
There is not a salesperson in existence who hasn’t repeatedly heard of the need to “close the sale.” Every new sales manager must view the process of encouraging his/her sales force to “close the sale” as an initiation into the profession. If you’re going to be a sales manager, you, therefore, must improve everyone’s ability to “close.” Doesn’t it come with the job?
Sales Question and Answer #14 – No response to emails
Posted on : 29-08-2012
Dave, I have been a fan for a number of years, and have a number of your books. In the last couple of years, I have grown increasingly frustrated. Why won’t people respond to my emails, return my voice mails, or even see me when I show up in person? Am I doing something wrong?
European IT Components Distributor to Sell Commence CRM
Posted on : 24-08-2012
Info Stor supplies products and services that organizations need to build and maintain their IT infrastructure. The company’s mission is to help organizations meet their information storage and other IT challenges by sourcing and supplying quality IT related products and by managing the implementation of sophisticated multivendor solutions. The company offers a line of products and services including SAN and NAS data storage systems, VoIP phone system implementation, server operating system upgrades, migration to cloud computing software and software development services.
Has the Shine Come Off the Salesforce.com Apple?
Posted on : 09-08-2012
Let’s give credit where credit is due. Salesforce.com paved the way into the cloud based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software sector with a unique offering that made good sense for customers who were tired of spending months of time and thousands of dollars struggling to implement desktop software applications. Being the first company in the SaaS, or software as a service sector, Salesforce.com was able to charge a hefty price for their offering and companies were more than happy to pay it. But that was then and this is now.
How Not to Make Joint Sales Calls
Posted on : 08-08-2012
While I continue to believe that, I received an email from an Ezine subscriber some time ago that made me think a bit more cautiously about this. He identified himself as a buyer, and wrote me about the practice from his point of view – a person on the other side of the desk. He began by observing that joint sales calls with the sales manager often caused more harm than good.
Commence CRM Helps Struggling Sales Representatives Get Focused
Posted on : 30-07-2012
If you are a sales professional in today’s competitive market you need every advantage you can get to close business. While some sales organizations are mired in paperwork and struggle to ensure new opportunities don’t fall through the cracks, others are turning to easy to use low cost CRM programs like Commence for help. Commence CRM has been specifically designed to address the common challenges faced by sales representatives across every industry — those being lead qualification and the efficient management of the sales process.
Sales Question and Answer #13 – Are company backorders costing you the sale?
Posted on : 25-07-2012
Article By Dave Kahle
Q. Help! I’m so frustrated. I just attended a “sales training” program that never addressed the real issues that I have to deal with every day.
What causes me problems is not my lack of sales ability, it is my company’s back orders, the lack of responsiveness and competence in my customer service people, and the mistakes in delivery by the warehouse. Those are the real issues. What can I do about those things?
How do you make the Right CRM Decision in a Commodity Market?
Posted on : 20-07-2012
Ok, you are looking for a CRM solution for your business. You have surveyed the market reviewed and tested a dozen or more CRM software solutions and you are still not comfortable in making a decision. In fact you’re frustrated and you are not alone.
The CRM software sector may be one of the most competitive in any industry. There are literally hundreds of CRM solutions available from desktop programs that run on your personal computer to cloud based ones that operate over the Internet. What’s most troubling is how hard it is to differentiate one from another. Other than price and term of contract they all seem the same. I understand and hear this every day.
Has CRM Software Become a Commodity?
Posted on : 17-07-2012
The CRM software sector had been and continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of the computer software industry. Analysts’ predictions of explosive growth served as the catalyst for those companies looking to grab a slice of this booming market. It wasn’t long before a myriad of CRM offerings became available.
Sales Best Practice #6 – Plans every sales call
Posted on : 10-07-2012
It continues to amaze me that so many sales people shuffle into most of their sales calls with very little, if any, prior planning. I suppose that is why this is one of the practices of the best. Most surveys of how field sales people really spend their time conclude that the typical sales person spends somewhere between 20 to 30 percent of the work week actually talking with customers. Just think about it – that time spent with customers is the heart of your job. Of all the things that you do in a typical work week, of all the tasks that you perform, nothing is more important than that!
Top 5 Cloud Based CRMs – Property Portal Watch
Posted on : 10-07-2012
Commence CRM is a robust highly flexible customer management solution for the middle market. Commence offers customers the ‘Freedom of Choice’ to deploy the CRM solution on premise or hosted on demand via the cloud. What differentiates Commence CRM from other CRM solutions starts with an intuitive, friendly user interface that makes the product extremely easy to navigate and easy to use.
Thinking About Sales: Is Integrity a Sales Strategy?
Posted on : 03-07-2012
I was speaking to a group of professional sales people in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the subject of integrity in business. At dinner later in the evening, my host, who had been sitting in the audience, sheepishly shared with me that several of the people seated near her snickered at the idea. Evidently, to them, sales was just a series of transactions, and the sales person’s job was to wring as much money out of each transaction as possible, under whatever means were necessary.
What CRM Vendors Don’t Want You to Know
Posted on : 29-06-2012
If you’re a small to mid-size business looking for a Customer Relationship Management solution you are most likely focusing your attention on evaluating and comparing each product’s features, functions and price. And while that may indeed be the key criteria for your decision there are several things that CRM vendors don’t want you to know that could impact your final selection.
Best Sales Management Tools for Small Business
Posted on : 20-06-2012
Small to mid-size businesses are finally paying very close attention to managing the sales process and are in desperate need of easy to use sales tools for automating the sales cycle and reporting on pipeline activity.
While there are a number of CRM software programs that offer sales cycle management one of the best ones for small to mid-size companies is Commence CRM. What makes Commence so popular is simply how easy it is to use.
Top 10 CRM Software Solutions for Small Business
Are you looking for ways to simplify the way you store all your potential customers and clients data? Do you need a system to track your sales pipeline and contacts?
In sales you often feel overwhelmed by the amount of data and facts you need to remember. Finding new clients is a huge task itself, let alone keeping in mind about every smallest thing in relation to your clients and prospects.
Is Your Business Implementing Workflow or Workarounds?
Posted on : 20-06-2012
Small to mid-size businesses often struggle to automate their internal business processes and tend to use workarounds rather than automate workflow.Workflow can be viewed as a series of steps that are required to complete a task from initiation to completion.
Sales Best Practice #5 – Is good at closing the sale
By Dave Kahle
The best salespeople earn that designation because they write more business than the mass of salespeople. They get the order!
One of the practices that contributes to that success is that of “closing the sale”. Unfortunately, there is no one issue that is more misunderstood and incompetently trained than that of “closing the sale.” Much of the sales training on the subject, as well as the vast preponderance of sales literature, is way off the mark.
Salesforce.com Challenged by Small to Mid-Size CRM Competitors
The market for Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) is highly competitive. While Salesforce.com, a pioneer in the evolution of cloud computing, was once the only game in town, 2012 is presenting some challenges to the current market leader as more and more competitors enter the race. One of the top Salesforce.com competitors is Commence Corporation, a company that has been providing customer management software to small and mid-size companies for more than two decades. Well regarded for its award winning desktop products, Commence now offers a robust cloud based CRM solution that’s easier to use and less expensive than Salesforce.com.
Investing in the Right CRM Automation
Customer Relationship Management software, Cloud CRM, Hosted CRM, Sales Software, Sales Automation, Customer Management Software…call it what you like, but you still need it.
I previously worked for two CRM software companies, so when I created the RevTurbo® Selling System, CRM technology was the logical solution to accurately track and measure its success.
Thinking about Sales: Your Most Powerful Sales Tool
Did you enjoy what you had for dinner last night?
You are probably wondering what that question has to do with sales. Bear with me a moment, and answer the question.
Now, pause a moment, and think about what you did when you read that question. Your mind probably flashed back to yesterday evening, and you saw a picture in your mind’s eye of what you had for dinner. Then you recalled your response to the dinner, and made a judgment that you did or didn’t enjoy it.
Professional Selling Skills Tip # 4 – Get To Top Management
Today’s challenging economy may be the best thing that’s happened for sales professionals in more than a decade and here is why. Every financial decision at any size company is now going through a level of scrutiny like never before. If you cannot demonstrate that your product or service will provide the customer with a rapid return on investment your chance of winning their business will be greatly diminished.
Professional Selling Skills Tip #1 – Probing
Selling is an art and effective sales people have mastered the art of proper communication during the selling process using three simple but effective techniques called “probing”. There are three types of probing questions: open probes, closed probes and supporting probes.
Professional Selling Skills Tip #2 – Handling Objection
Good sales managers will tell their staff that it’s OK to get no for an answer as long as it’s during the initial call or sales visit. This makes perfect sense as no one wants to spend their valuable time when the opportunity for a sale simply doesn’t exist. But in the world of sales, no does not always mean no.
Sales Tips Articles
Articles with professional sales tips to help increase your sales effectiveness.
Top 21 Hosted SaaS CRM Reviews
Here are my pics for top CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. List list has been limited to only web-based applications, since these tend to offer the most convenient pricing and lowest overall TCO.
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