Commence – The Go-To Guys for CRM

What makes one CRM software provider better then another? In today’s competitive environment it’s typically not a specific feature or function.  Unfortunately too many companies focus all their attention specifically on a CRM product’s features and price and often end up making the wrong decision.

Companies that have chosen Commence CRM as their solution for managing their customer relationships have indicated that in addition to the product having a top 10 rating, it’s the company’s track record that made the difference for them.

Jeff Spilfogel, an executive at Clear Stream, said.  “I just felt comfortable with these guys. I am a small business so I won’t be anyone’s top account, but Commence was the only company that took the time to understand my business requirements and demonstrate how they could address them.  Their competitors did not seem to be very interested in engaging with me and suggested via an e-mail that I sign up for a free trial over the Internet. This is why I went with Commence.”

Commence has been providing customer management software solutions to small and mid-size businesses for more than two decades.  The company’s professional services and CRM support team have been engaged in more than 1,000 implementations, conducted thousands of training sessions and boast a client retention rate that is one of the best in the industry.

“Very few CRM software providers can match our experience level” says Larry Caretsky, president of Commence Corporation.  “Our staff has expertise in more than 35 different industries and in 22 countries around the world. This knowledge is invaluable to our customers and helps ensure that their implementation goes smoothly and that they realize the maximum value for our CRM software. “

Are Your Sales People Using Social CRM?

You have heard the term social CRM and you understand the value, but is your sales team using social CRM to drive new business opportunities?  Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn now offer your sales team an opportunity to introduce themselves and their products to literally thousands of potential prospects; network with industry experts; and solicit your customers for people they know who may also have an interest in your product and service.  Never before has an opportunity to access such a large market been available to a sales organization. Despite this, a large majority of sales people still do not utilize these social CRM sites to solicit new business.

Every sales person knows that the close rate on customer referrals is more than double that of a new business opportunity where you are introducing yourself and your company for the first time.  So why not take advantage of it?  Well perhaps now you can.

Customer Relationship Management software providers realize the power of social CRM software and reference selling and as a result, have now incorporated direct links to these social networking sites right within their CRM software.  This is making it easier for sales professionals to take advantage of social CRM. The tools are there, the Internet is immediately available and the information is accessible anytime and anywhere via a single click.  While some CRM systems provide a direct link to social CRM sites, other more advanced CRM programs allow you to screen scrape the prospect’s information and literally dump it into the CRM system. This allows a sales executive to immediately act on the information or maintain it for future marketing programs.

What is clear is that Social CRM is here and offers substantial value to the savvy sales team that takes advantage of it.  If you are looking at CRM programs to improve sales management make sure the one you select also incorporates Social CRM capabilities within the product.

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.

But what is most important here for sales professionals is the knowledge that due to the current economic uncertainty decisions that were normally made by first level management personnel may now require the approval of senior management.

This means you will need to fight your way to the top in order to win the business or risk spending too much valuable time with people who insist they are the decision makers when indeed they are not.  How can you do this without alienating the people involved with the evaluation process?  This is the art of good salesmanship.

Take Control of the Sales Process

The first thing you will want to do is establish some rules for how the sales process is going to work. Make sure that the prospect knows that you are willing to put forth a Herculean effort to earn their business as long as the decision makers are part of the selling process.  This does not necessarily mean that you have to talk with the CEO on the first call. But you will want to know:

  • if the CEO or key decision maker is aware that there is an evaluation process going on,
  • that the company is budgeted to make a decision, and
  • they have an actual timeframe for doing so.

Obtaining this information won’t win you the business, but it will help to ensure that you have a real prospect and that a decision will at some point be made.

CRM Software can help

If you are in an industry where you are juggling a lot of sales opportunities at one time, CRM software may be a nice tool to use to manage opportunities, follow up on them and make sure that high quality opportunities don’t fall through the cracks.

Sales Question and Answer #11

This is a Sales Question and Answer article from guest poster Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator. Follow Dave’s latest Tweets at @davekahle.

By Dave Kahle

Q. Customers in my industry do not accept price increases unless they have zero alternatives.  How do we handle this?

Deal or No Deal buttonA.  I’m sure you are not the only person thinking this way, nor is your industry the only one with this issue. Probably almost every one reading this frequently hears from their customers that their prices are too high, and that the customer won’t accept price increases.

Now, I’m assuming that the reason you want to increase their price is because your cost has increased.  In order to maintain your margins, you have to increase the sales price to proportionately reflect the increase in your cost.

But, your customer is vocally objecting.  What do you do?

First, analyze the business.

  • If you absorb the price increase and thus decrease your margins, can you live with that?
  • Is the business still profitable?
  • Is the account worth the low margins?

Deal

If the answer is “Yes, you can live with it”, then absorb the increase, tighten your belt and try to leverage that position into more opportunities within the account.

Tell the customer you’ll try to maintain the price, but the only way you can do that is to spread your costs over more product.  He’ll need to buy something else from you to help you do that.

No Deal

If the answer is “No, it is not worth maintaining the business at low or no margin”, then you need to be brutally frank with the customer.  Tell him you cannot continue to service him at this price.  Indicate that you’ll maintain the price for 30 days, and that on day 31 the price will be increased.  If he would like to purchase the product from someone else, you’d appreciate him letting you know.

Then stick to your position.  There are worse things than losing a piece of low margin business.  If he goes elsewhere, let him.  There is a great deal of power that comes to you when you show you have the ability to walk away from an unprofitable piece of business.  In the long run, you, and your prices, will have more credibility.

Over time, you customer will come to view your prices as credible, and will object less frequently.

The worst thing to do is to cave in to his demands for lower prices — to communicate a price and then retreat from it.  This trains the customer that your pricing has no power or validity, and encourages him to push for lower prices every time.

********************************************************************************************

By the way, you’ll find this kind of insight into dozens of sales issues in our Sales Resource Center. It houses 435 training programs to help every one live more successfully and sell better.  All delivered over the internet, 24/7, for one low monthly fee.

Image “Deal or No Deal button” by Rob Blatt on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

About the Author:

Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leadng sales educators. He’s written nine books, presented in 47 states and eight countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations.  Sign up for his free weekly Ezine, and for a limited time, receive $547 of free bonuses with the purchase of his latest book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime.

Copyright MMXII by Dave Kahle

All Rights Reserved.

Small Businesses Have Options for Internet Marketing

Every business today is seeking ways to increase their internet visibility. While most turn to Google and Yahoo for pay-per-click advertising there are several new alternatives that should be considered. “Commence Corporation has been using Google’s pay-per-click advertising for many years” says Nicole Reed, a marketing representative at Commence.   “There is no question that Google has the lion’s share of viewers, but the service is extraordinarily expensive often costing up to $35 per click which may be outside the reach of smaller businesses.  The good news is that there are alternatives.”

“Commence is complementing their Google marketing with 7Search.com, a web based pay-per-click service that operates like Google but at a fraction of the cost.  Of course newer programs like this are not going to return the same volume of activity as Google or Yahoo,” says Reed “but at rates of just pennies a click it’s a good way to increase your exposure without breaking the bank.  Other internet based pay-per-click services include Advertise.com and adMarketplace.com. Based on your industry and marketing objectives these are worth a look as well.”