4 Tips for Selling in a Down Economy

how to sell crm to executive decision maker
Tips for selling to the executive level

A lot has changed in the past 24 months.  Companies have been forced to reduce expenditures, place purchases on hold or buy from a competitor that came in with a better deal. But despite increased competition, reduced budgets and a more stringent buying process, decisions are still being made to purchase products and services.  What’s changed is a shift in buying behaviorDecisions that had been traditionally made by middle management or a committee now require approval by a senior executive.  Most sales people perceive this as a negative and if your team is thinking this way, they may need an attitude adjustment. Here’s why.

Every sales person has experienced how difficult it is to get to the economic buyer. He or she is traditionally buffered by administrators, gatekeepers or committees of people that block your path to the decision maker’s office.  The fact that executive management is now engaged in the decision process is the best thing that has happened to sales people in years. It opens up an incredible opportunity for sales professionals to state their case directly to the person who will be making the decision. Not only does this shorten the sales cycle, but it gives them the opportunity to layout the key selling points of your product or service in terms of ROI, which is how executives think.

The Key to Winning More Deals

Selling to an executive can be intimidating and they will expect a lot from you which means you must sell value.  They will expect you to take the time to understand their challenges and recommend solutions that will significantly impact their business.  Executives look for solutions, not features, and they will respond to sales professionals that can solve their problem.  Here are 4 tips for selling to the executive level:

  1. Let the executive do most of the talking – the more you learn about the prospect’s pain points the better you’ll be prepared to recommend a solution.
  2. Use examples of how your product or service has addressed similar challenges in the industry. This will demonstrate that you understand the problem and have a solid recommendation or solution.
  3. Show enthusiasm – if an executive senses your excitement about addressing their problem they will be much more receptive to working with and buying from you.
  4. Be persistent — it will pay off. Executives of small to mid-size businesses are often crisis managers and can be pulled in several directions. Don’t let them off the hook. Once you’re engaged, get to a decision one way or another.

About the authorLarry Caretsky is the CEO of Commence Corporation , a leading provider of Customer Manager and sales process automation software for small to mid-size businesses. Caretsky has authored several white papers on the subject of sales process management, lead scoring and using CRM software to improve sales execution. For more information see www.commence.com or call 1-877-COMMENCE.

Commence CRM Offers Solution for Stranded Goldmine Customers

February 4, 2010 – Commence Corporation has announced a competitive upgrade program for small businesses currently using the Goldmine contact management software.  More than a year ago FrontRange announced that they would no longer be enhancing their standard contact manager product, leaving many small and mid-size businesses with the option to migrate to the company’s more expensive product or seek an alternative solution.

“Many of these businesses have simply stayed put and have continued to utilize discontinued versions of the Goldmine software”, said Nicole Reed, Customer Manager at Commence Corporation, “but with the release of the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system, these older versions will no longer work. This has generated a number of calls to Commence Corporation from Goldmine customers seeking a migration path to newer, supported CRM software.”

Commence offers a robust contact manager along with a suite of CRM software applications for managing sales, marketing and customer support. The Customer Management software is available for deployment on-premise or hosted under a “software as a service” or SaaS model.  Commence also supports the Microsoft Vista and Windows 7 operating systems along with the upcoming Microsoft Office 2010 software.

Larry Caretsky, president of Commence Corporation, welcomes the addition of these customers. “Commence has been servicing SME businesses  for twenty years,” noted Caretsky. “A good portion of our business comes from companies that have outgrown traditional contact management software such as Sage ACT software and Goldmine software. These companies need more then a simple contact manager, but not the cost and complexity of enterprise CRM software. We are positioned right in the middle of the two, which has served our business very well over the years. Our CRM solution is comprehensive yet intuitive and affordable, and can be deployed over the Internet,” says Caretsky.

About Commence Corporation:

Commence Corporation is a leading provider of Customer Manager software. The company’s products are designed to provide small to mid-size businesses with flexible solutions that leverage the Web to offer an integrated platform for managing sales execution and customer service. Commence supports several thousand customers through a worldwide distribution network, with outlets in North and South America, Europe and Asia. For more information see www.commence.com or call 1-877-COMMENCE.

CRM for the Big at Heart

Commence Corporation helps small to midsize businesses tackle the CRM challenge

Picking a CRM software vendor is tough. It’s even tougher when you’re part of the small to midsize market, where technology budgets are limited and horror stories of complex, drawn-out CRM projects abound. While the watchword of midmarket CRM buyers was once something akin to the President’s “irrational exuberance,” today it is “caution,” as companies demand solutions that are affordable, easy to implement and easy to use and that deliver a quick return on investment.

“The CRM industry has been plagued by vendors offering overly complex solutions to solve basic business problems. This has resulted in a low adoption rate and failed customer expectations,” says Larry Caretsky, president and CEO of Commence Corporation. “The concern for most businesses today is not a lack of technology, but rather how they can leverage technology to improve their internal processes and, ultimately, their bottom line.”

Caretsky should know. His company has been in business for 22 years and has witnessed all the trends in customer relationship management. And with that kind of experience, Caretsky figured out long ago that rapidly deployable, cost-effective CRM solutions – even when they weren’t in vogue – were the only way for customers to quickly and affordably reap the benefits of their investment.

Commence Corporation has taken a unique approach to meeting the key objectives of most small to midsize businesses – namely, by streamlining internal business processes, improving sales processes and delighting customers. The company starts with the fundamental knowledge that most mid-market customers must first address the problem of data capture, data consolidation and data sharing.

Typically, vital customer information is spread throughout these organizations in contact management software, back office systems and Excel spreadsheets. “Employees spend a significant amount of time trying to determine where or who in the organization has the information they need to address customer inquiries,” says Caretsky. “Management recognizes this problem and realizes that in order to increase sales and become a more efficient sales and service organization they must get the right information into the hands of the right people, at the right time.”

The Commence CRM software does just that. Customer information, captured from multiple channels, is stored in a unified database where it is immediately available to all authorized personnel through two product features: a digital dashboard and a multiview capability. “This enables them to be constantly aware of account activity and take proactive steps to ensure customer satisfaction,” says Caretsky.

At the same time, Commence helps companies increase sales using a sales process template that is built into the system. Preset sales stages allow the sales team to begin classifying new sales opportunities from the beginning. The product also offers sales teams the ability to utilize a structured sales methodology for lead scoring and evaluating each sales opportunity. And it helps make sales reps more productive by providing a tool to automate routine tasks. “It’s like having an administrative assistant working directly for you,” says Caretsky.

Building brand recognition via the use of direct mail and email marketing campaigns is also incorporated in Commence CRM as a component of the marketing software module. By scheduling repetitive marketing campaigns small to mid-size businesses can be assured that their company, product or service is in front of prospective buyers at all times.

“Today’s basis for business growth is the successful management of long-term relationships with customers on a one-to-one level,” says Caretsky. “When the customer becomes the center of your business, customer-centric strategies, processes and technology solutions can unlock the value of these relationships.”

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