Young Salesman Grows Personally and Professionally Using CRM Software

35228I started my career in the Mortgage industry selling re-financing services. The job was quite structured: call fifty people each day, document my discussions then follow-up with those that were interested as well as any I was unable to reach.  The company had no automation, but people learned to manage their daily business using a spiral notebook or a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.  At the time I had no problem with this because I had a limited perspective on the most efficient ways to capture information, follow-up with potential prospects and keep my product and service in front of prospective buyers.  While I was one of the more successful sales people I was beginning to have difficulty organizing customer files, finding information about past telephone conversations, knowing which documents I sent people or didn’t send and following up with those people that asked me to contact them at a later date.  I found myself staying in the office later and later each night trying to get myself organized and keeping things from falling through the cracks, but it became an exercise in futility.

This all changed for me a few years later when I joined Commence Corporation, a provider of Customer Relationship Management software.  At Commence, I was forced to trade in my spiral notebook for a sales automation tool and while I was a bit dubious that a sales automation system would help me, after a few weeks of use I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  I began capturing every customer and prospect interaction from basic telephone calls, quotes and documents I had sent to e-mail correspondence.   I learned to enter follow-up activities on my calendar and set alerts that reminded me to contact people on the dates and times I committed to.  Each day new leads with contact information were dispatched to me electronically and an automated sales methodology helped me to manage each opportunity through a structures sales cycle.  Best of all, with the simple click of a button I had the ability to view a complete 360 degree view of all current and historical information about my customers and prospects.  This was truly unbelievable.   I even learned that I could integrate a Smart Phone so that I could have contact information at my disposal and have also begun to utilize the systems mass e-mail feature to help generate more business.  I had never imagined that I would attain so much value from this tool.

“On a personal level I am more productive than ever.”

The CRM system has impacted me both personally and professionally.  On a personal level I am more productive than ever.  I have access to customer and prospect information anytime and anywhere and I am confident that things are no longer falling through the cracks. On a professional level I have become almost fanatical about the product, which has helped me to serve potential customers more effectively.  I continue to utilize my past experience as a vehicle for delivering a powerful testimonial of how CRM software has helped me better manage the sales cycle and improve sales execution.  It’s a well known fact that prospects are more likely to buy from someone who believes whole heartedly in the product or service they are selling and my newly found enthusiasm for CRM software has enabled me to gain credibility with potential buyers.

As I talk with new prospects each day I understand and appreciate the reluctance they may have in implementing a Customer Relationship Management solution.  I’ve learned that It’s a lot easier to understand their concerns and provide valuable assistance if you have been in a similar position, so I tell my story.  Their interest level grows and often turns into a new sale. If you are considering a CRM system give me a call.  I am confident that I can help you consolidate data, and improve sales execution so that your team and sell more and sell more easily.

About the author: Steve Fischkin is an Account Manager at Commence Corporation, a leading provider of CRM software which can be deployed in a web-based, cloud-computing environment or on premise. For more information about Commence visit www.commence.com or e-mail Steve at sales@commence.com

Commence Lead Scoring Helps Shrink the Sales Cycle

Is your sales team working on the most qualified opportunities, or chasing tire kickers?  Do you even know?  Most companies rely on the expertise of their sales representatives to qualify opportunities, but this has proven over and over again to be inefficient and costly.  The problem with relying on your sales organization is a lack of consistency.  Most sales organizations have people with different levels of experience.   The senior people may be good at determining a qualified opportunity from an unqualified one, but even they make mistakes.  The people with limited experience are right only 50 percent of the time and the inexperienced ones may place an account on the forecast because the prospect asked for a brochure.  My point is this, the amount of time your sales team may be spending following up on poorly qualified opportunities may be costing your business much more than you think.

Commence Corporation has moved beyond traditional Customer Relationship Management software programs that are primarily focused on managing the sales cycle to delivering a solution that enables you to increase the effectiveness of your sales organization and focus on business with the greatest potential. Commence has introduced an automated business process that ranks and scores leads based a set of pre-defined criteria.  The criteria consist of a series of questions that are used to automatically score each lead based on the responses entered into the system.  The questions are completely customizable and users may create as many as required. (See sample below):

lead-scoring
Lead Scoring Questions

The lead qualification questions and rating criteria are determined by sales management and ensure that every new opportunity is ranked according to the criteria.  It’s an efficient process that results in a high level of consistency because every opportunity is scored using a standardized set of qualifiers and is no longer dependent on the experience level of the sales representative.

Each lead is then automatically color coded as highly qualified (red), requires additional follow-up (yellow), or not qualified (blue).  (See diagram below)

ranklead
Lead Qualification

The value here is two-fold:  First, there is no question with regard to where the sales team should be focusing their attention.  The leads coded red are the most qualified opportunities based on the company’s lead qualification criteria and need immediate attention.  Secondly, sales management can quickly view the most qualified opportunities and assist with the process of moving them toward closure.

Part of the Commence value proposition also comes from an integrated marketing application that is directly tied to the lead qualification system.  Yellow and blue coded leads may be placed in an automated drip-marketing program that nurtures each lead with periodic mailings while your team is focused on the most qualified opportunities.

The Commence lead scoring feature provides critical intelligence and has proven to deliver measurable results.  It will ensure that your sales team has a laser-sharp focus on the most qualified sales opportunities.  With the Commence CRM features, you’ll shrink the sales cycle and improve your bottom line results.   I guarantee it.

About the author: Larry Caretsky is the president of Commence Corporation, a leading provider of CRM software which can be deployed in a web-based, cloud-computing environment or on premise. Caretsky is considered an expert in Customer Relationship Management and has written numerous white papers on the subject, which may be accessed via the company’s web site at www.commence.com.