As a sales manager when I get together with some of my colleagues the conversation is often centered on what deals each of our teams has closed. My colleagues seem focused on the size of the deal or the number of deals coming in. One day I decided to ask a question that seemed to confuse them all: where do your sales opportunities actually come from?
I received various answers from leads, customers, phone calls and even the internet. The real question that I should’ve asked is “what steps did you or your team take to win those sales and how are you tracking that.” When I did pose that question; I received mostly silence and one of my colleagues even challenged me on why it is even important.
Quite simply; it’s critically important to track the steps or processes you used to generate new sales so you can emulate what is working and stop doing the things that aren’t. If you aren’t tracking what you did to generate a sale; how do you know what made the customer buy or how that customer learned about your product or service. Personally, I don’t like to leave the sales of my company up to chance.
My colleagues of course demanded to know how I do this and again my answer was simple. I use an automated online CRM system to track where my sales opportunities come from.
The system called Commence CRM has a customizable sales source button that allows me to put in my sources and track them accordingly. Some examples of my sales sources are cold calls, referrals, website inquiries, e-mail campaigns and inbound calls. It also allows me to track new business opportunities by industry so that I can determine if we are doing better in one industry sector verses another.
When I started using Commence CRM to track how sales were being generated I discovered that I had a sales person who was a very strong prospector; he was getting appointments, doing presentations and closing sales. His formula seemed to work very well, and the key was knowing where the lead was being generated from and what industry the prospect was in. He used the strength of the company’s customer base and testimonials to support that he had a solid solution designed specifically for their industry the prospect was in. His success drove me to want to emulate this process for the entire sales staff.
Needless to say my colleagues became convinced that tracking what sources you are using to generate sales can play a vital role in increasing your chances of winning business. They also had an increased interest in using a CRM tool to track this sort of data.
About the author:
Tom Gibson is a sales manager who is considered an expert on sales techniques, CRM and business development.