CRM Analytics Provide a Snapshot of Your Business

Reporting is one of the most important and critical components of CRM software and should not be overlooked when evaluating CRM software packages. Basic CRM solutions provide standard pre-built reports primarily for account and contact management or for sales such as 30, 60, or 90-day forecasts. Other more robust packages offer customizable reporting where you can edit the pre-built reports to meet other requirements. The key to getting a return on your investment however is driven from programs that offer analytical reporting. These more advanced CRM systems enable management to get a real time snap shot of business performance not only from sales, but from a marketing and customer service perspective as well.

Sales Analytics: Sales Pipeline

The interactive sales funnel below illustrates a sales pipeline for the entire sales organization. Management can review each sales representative’s pipeline and click any stage of the sales cycle to get the details of every potential sale within that stage. This enables management to stay on top of new opportunities and to take a pro-active approach to assisting in deals that are critical to win.

crm-analytics-sales-pipeline

Other graphical sales reports display the top ten opportunities by revenue and a comparison of sales by industry sector.

Marketing Analytics: Leads by Source

The lead tracking report shown below illustrates the number of leads your business is getting and the source of those leads such as a trade show, e-mail campaign, direct phone calls, or customer referrals.

crm-analytics-leads-by-source

Advanced CRM systems give your marketing organization the ability to create and manage bulk e-mail campaigns and to measure the effectiveness of each campaign. Understanding which lead generation programs are driving the most business is critical to improving the quantity and quality of lead generation and closing more business.

Customer Service Analytics: Open Tickets by User

Robust CRM offerings also provide a look into customer service. The graphical pie chart below displays the number of open service tickets for each assigned customer service representative. This helps to determine which representatives are handling customer inquiries quickly and efficiently, and which ones may need assistance. Management can click any part of the chart to drill down and get more details about the tickets handled by each service representative.

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Most mid-size to larger organizations view CRM analytical reporting as a core feature of CRM software and one that can deliver the return on the investment they are looking for. The reports illustrated are samples taken from Commence CRM, a software program targeted at mid-size organizations.

All images courtesy of Commence CRM

Sales Tip – How to prevent being inundated with useless information

Best Practice #11: Regularly implements a system to prevent being inundated with useless information.

By Dave Kahle

On first glance, this looks like a bit unrelated to the day-to-day challenges of an effective sales person. What has this to do with your interactions with your customers?

Consider the issue of “sales time.” Sales time is the time that you actually spend interacting with your customers either on the phone, email or text, or in person. It is the heart of your job and the ultimate reason your company employs you. Investing your sales time effectively is one of the most powerful strategies for achieving better results.

Because of the demands for administration, reporting, preparing, travel, etc., the typical field sales person only spends about 25 percent of his/her work week in “sales time.” In our challenging economy, the demands on our time by the press of “other stuff” can be overwhelming.

We need to be constantly battling the allure of “other stuff” so that we are investing sufficiently in selling time. All things being equal, the more time you actually spend with your customers, the more successful you will be.

So that leads us to this question: What constitutes the biggest proportion of other stuff? What has the potential to overwhelm us, to rob us of our sales time by tempting us to invest our energies in something not nearly as effective?

The answer? Information.

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We are inundated with information. Consider the amount of selling literature, technical bulletins, computer reports, web pages, emails, voice mails, texts and memos from the boss that we have to deal with every day. All these are types of information. If we gave in to the temptation of dealing with all the information that comes our way, we could easily spend 10 – 20 hours a week doing nothing but that.

And that would not be a good idea. It would detract from our ability to create sales time, and immediately and negatively impact our performance.

That leads us to this best practice. The best performers don’t waste a lot of time dealing with useless information. They stay focused on the heart of the job – sales time – understanding that without quality time with their customers nothing else matters.

So, they create disciplines and strategies that enable them to deal with all the forms of information quickly and expediently. The run-of-the-mill sales people waste inordinate amounts of time processing information.

To learn more about this best practice:

* review chapters four and five of How to Excel at Distributor Sales

* review chapter eight of Ten Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople

* review chapter ten of Insights & Answers for Distributor Salespeople

* read the article on my website entitled “Managing Information.”

* Purchase a one-month subscription to the Sales Resource Center, and take Pod-22: Time Management and Pod #43 “Get Organized! Managing Information before it Manages You.”

Copyright MMXIV by Dave Kahle

All Rights Reserved

 Image courtesy of digitalart / freedigitalphotos.net

Businesses Can Use CRM Software to Get Re-Focused

Small to mid-size businesses are struggling to differentiate themselves from the competition and acquire more customers, but help is on the way. Several CRM software providers are teaching their customers how they can use CRM software to get re-focused.

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What does getting re-focused mean?

It simply means to get a better understanding of what you do well and to use that against the competition.

One quick way to do this is to ask yourself two mission critical questions.

  1. What customers do we serve better than anyone else does?
  2. What are these customers competing alternatives?

Once you uncover the answer to these two questions you can begin to examine the products and services you offer and measure how you stack up to the competition.

How does CRM software play a role in this analysis?

That’s easy. Let’s say you have created a number of custom fields in your CRM system for data you would like to capture about your customers. For example,

  • what they purchased
  • why they purchased a specific product or service
  • who were the competition they compared you to
  • what industry they are in
  • what size customer are they

Once you capture this information in your CRM system, you can begin to run customer analytic reports that identify trends or patterns that may illustrate buying behavior. For example, perhaps a report identifies that more than 40% of new customers come from one or two industries.

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Leads by Industry

This would be a clear indication that something you do, either a feature function or service, appeals to those industries and that you are winning business in those segments. Knowing this would enable you to better understand what you are providing in these two sectors that your competition is not, and to use this information against those competitors. In addition, you can begin to create targeted marketing campaigns that generate new leads where your chance of winning the business is greater than your competition. Not every CRM solution offers the flexibility to capture and report on different types of information so make sure the solution you select does.

Image “Find People On Social Networks” courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sales Tips – Learning from Failure

By Dave Kahle

Remember John Delorean? He was the superstar General Motors executive who started the Delorean Motor Company. When the company began to falter, he was arrested and charged with complicity in a drug deal that some speculated was an attempt to raise money to prop up the company.

All of this was big news in Detroit, where I was living at the time. One particularly insightful article in the Detroit News theorized that he had been supremely successful his whole life, and thus never learned to deal with failure. His development was stunted by a lack of failure in his life. Faced with the pending failure of his auto company, he had nothing to lean upon, and lost his moral compass. A long string of successes had not developed his character.

Perhaps. There is one thing for certain, regardless of the individual circumstances for Mr. DeLorean. If we choose to, we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. Within every failure there is the seed of a lesson well learned, of a solid character trait emerging. It is our failures that contribute most intensely to our development.

To this day, I can recall with vivid detail the events of my most humiliating failure as a sales person. It was early in my career, about three decades ago, and I had made the mistake of speaking badly about the competition to a customer. The customer was a personal friend of the competitive sales person, and was personally affronted by my comment. The dressing down that I received at the hands of that customer remains painfully with me today. I don’t believe that I have ever made that mistake since.

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Which is one of my points. Our failures are often far more intensely painful than the corresponding highs we get when we succeed. Since the pain is far more intense, the lessons stay with us. Or, they should, if we recognize the part that our behavior played in the failure.

That’s a key part of learning from our failures: recognizing the role that we played in bringing them about. Of course, sometimes we are hapless and innocent victims of chance or someone else’s misbehavior. But more often than not, we had a hand in the development of the sequence of events which resulted in a painful loss to us.

Remember Detective Sipowitz in the TV show “NYPD Blue?” In one episode, at the scene of a murder, he cynically remarked that “There are no victims.” In other words, the victim was in some way partially responsible for his own demise. Of course that is not true for every event, but in a sober reflection of my life, which is the only thing I know well enough about to make this kind of judgment, I find it to be true more often than not. Maybe, almost every time.

In other words, in almost every career and personal failure in my life, I was, at least in part, a contributor to the chaos that erupted. Once I realize that I am not a victim but a partial contributor, then the way is clear for me to assess my role in it, and to determine never to make that mistake again.

As long as I refuse to acknowledge my role, then I remain a helpless victim, forever chained to the negative consequences of the failure, and powerless to do anything about it.

Failure then, when our attitude is right, provides fertile ground for the sowing of life lessons which often sprout into solid character traits. In many ways, we become that which we learned from our failures. Show me a man of solid, substantial character, and I’ll show you someone with a list of failures in his background.

This article is available in an expanded version. Click here to read it.

Failure humbles us. That is one specific character trait that often sprouts from the fertile ground of multiple failures. It is hard to remain proud or arrogant when faced with the truth of several failures.

Maybe that’s why the most common defense trait of proud people is denial. One of the most arrogant people I have ever dealt with spent most of his time denying his culpability in even the smallest business errors. Quick to point out errors in his customers, he never once said, “I’m sorry. It’s our fault.” His arrogance, untouched by the reality that he kept at arms length, grew so insufferable that we could no longer stand to do business with him.

The opposite of denial is, of course, the acceptance of personal responsibility. It is personal responsibility, coupled with the consequences of our less-than-perfect actions, that helps build humility.

While no one should strive to fail, if we look at every instance of our own failures as opportunities to learn and grow, and if we objectively search to identify our role in that failure, we’ll come out of each better and stronger.

About the author:

Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written twelve books, presented in 47 states and ten countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine. Check out our Sales Resource Center for 455 sales training programs for every sales person at every level. You may contact Dave at Kahle Way® Sales Systems, 800-331-1287, or dave@davekahle.com.

Copyright MMXIV by Dave Kahle

All rights reserved

Image courtesy of Toa55 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net