Selling Confidence: How Optimism Can Bolster Your Sales Team

Sales management tips on BusinessNewsDaily.com

Excerpt below:

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Inspiring optimism in your sales team isn’t always easy, but you can do it with the right techniques. Caretsky shares three tips for helping your team take the “glass half full” approach to its work.

Retrain worn-down employees. Constant rejection when making a few dozen calls a day can take its toll on even the most optimistic person…

Click here to read the full article on BusinessNewsDaily.com

Finally a CRM Solution Provider that Gets It

Customers seeking cloud based CRM software have been complaining for years about the pricing structure of mainstream CRM software providers. The structure, which charges one price for all users of a specific product edition, never sat well with customers. Commence CRM, a popular choice for small to mid-sized businesses, is breaking new ground with a novel pricing structure that is attracting companies away from industry leaders Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

With competitive products for example, if a potential customer has five sales people, two administrators, and one person in their marketing department they are forced to pay for a higher priced edition that includes marketing functionality. The problem is they have to pay the higher cost for all 8 people. “This makes no sense,” says Tom Gibson, sales manager at Commence Corporation. “With Commence CRM we charge only for the functionality used by the end user. In this case, the customer would pay for one user of the marketing application. The new CRM pricing structure is being well received by new customers and is expected to be a significant differentiator for Commence CRM.

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Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos.net

Making a Decision for CRM Software?

Look for the Right CRM Company Not Just the Right Product

By Larry Caretsky

Small to mid-sized companies looking for a CRM solution for their business often go about the process with a laser focus on features, functions and price. They traditionally create a committee or team of people to lead the project, give them a budget, and tell them to go research and find the best product. The team lists all the requirements then investigates which company offers the functionality they need and at what price. This sounds like a rational approach, but the team may be missing one of most important components of the decision process and that is selecting the right company as their partner. What are the criteria for selecting the right company? Well it may not be exactly what you think.

Selecting a CRM Vendor

Typically the decision team will look to see how long the company has been in business, are they a well-established player and how well rated is their product. This makes good sense, but equally important (and often overlooked) is the experience level of the vendor’s support staff and the services they provide. Sure, it is a comfort factor to know that the company has been around for a decade, and spends a lot of money for the top three placements on Google searches. However, what I want to know is how experienced are they with ensuring that my firm gets value from their solution. What level of support do they provide before, during and after the sale?

Training and Support

If you are looking to automate your sales, marketing and customer service processes you will require a robust CRM offering, and the more robust the product the more services you will require. Commence CRM, for example is designed for small to mid-sized companies that need this level of functionality. Several other CRM solution providers offer this as well. Regardless of which software you select it is the level of services that will ensure a high return on your investment. I am not referring to service as simply answering the telephone when you call. I am talking about value added services that are provided by professionals with experience in sales, marketing, and customer service.

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Ask yourself if the solution provider can provide guidance on creating the proper sales structure for your business, automate the lead generation and qualification process, establish processes and procedures for service ticket management, integrate their CRM solution to disparate systems, and get people properly trained. This is a critical component to your decision process that as I stated earlier is too often overlooked. Here is an example of why this is so important.

Working with Third-Party Consultants

I think it is fair to say that Microsoft is well known in the CRM industry. They have been in business for decades, spend millions on marketing, and have a comprehensive product, but here is where they come up short. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is sold and supported by value added resellers, i.e. business partners. The company does not have expertise in sales, marketing and customer service disciplines’ and as such, they rely on their channel partners for this. Some of these partners are probably very good and can add value to the implementation, training, and customization of the product; but there are an equal number of them that cannot and that is a problem. I am not picking on Microsoft here. I am simply using them as an example of a company that on the surface appears to have all the right components. They are big and well known, have been in business for many years, spend millions in marketing and have a comprehensive product. However, if they cannot provide the value added services you need to be successful with the software, the rest is almost irrelevant.

Comparing CRM Vendors

CRM software from leading providers has become somewhat of a commodity. While each firm tries to outdo the other with a unique feature or two, the fact is that the core functionality offered by these companies is pretty much the same. This is why selecting the right company with solid experience and an array of value added services is so important. If you are looking for a CRM solution for your business, don’t overlook this. My recommendation would be to look for what is referred to as “pure play CRM software providers” which means this is all the company does, or look for solutions that are industry specific where the company has a high degree of experience in your industry.

About the author

is the president of Commence Corporation, a leading provider of CRM software and best business practices for improving sales, marketing and customer service. Caretsky is considered an expert in sales automation and has written numerous articles on the subject of CRM. These may be viewed on the company’s web site at www.commence.com.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sales Best Practice #13 – Inside Relationships

Relationships with inside people, a best sales practice by Dave Kahle.

By Dave Kahle

Best Practice #13:  Has an excellent relationship with customer service, purchasing and all the support staff inside his/her organization.

This is such an important practice that I have named it one of my top eleven time management strategies. If you have the book, Eleven Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople, you’ll see that it is secret number nine.

I had to learn this the hard way. I was a heavy-hitting, driven sales person. I’d stop into the office, drop off work for everyone, and head back out to my territory. I just assumed that everyone would do the jobs that I had deposited on them. My task-oriented style put a number of people off, and my operations manager warned me that I was creating ill-will among the office staff.

It took a while, but I finally decided that I needed them to be on my side. So, I apologized, bought everyone a gift, and tried to re-start the relationship on a more positive basis. As people gradually came over to my side, I found that I was able to be far more productive.

Instead of doing a project myself, I could confidently ask someone inside to do it for me. Since they liked me, they didn’t mind. Instead of expediting a back order myself, I could have someone else do it. Instead of walking a new and complex order through the system, I could have someone else do it.

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I discovered that many of the tasks that I previously had done myself could be done just as effectively and much more efficiently by someone else. That freed up my time to do what I did best – visit my customers and sell my company’s products. As a result, I was much more effective.

That’s why this is one of the best practices of the best sales people. The average sales person creates an overwhelming list of tasks to perform and things to do which then weigh him/her down and decrease the amount of time spent with customers. The exceptional sales person creates relationships, not tasks, and influences those people to do the tasks for him. In so doing, he/she multiplies his effectiveness and dramatically increases the amount of time spent with customers.

It’s a best practice of the best sales people.

To learn more about how to do this, read chapter nine of Eleven Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople.

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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 audio and 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.

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Image courtesy of parkorn/freedigitalphotos.net

Hosted CRM Offers Exceptional Value for Small Business

Small to mid-sized businesses have experienced a significant change to their IT environment over the past few years.  Outsourced IT consultants replaced in-house IT staff that once managed and maintained desktop software.  Now a new technology known as hosting is replacing these consultants.

For several years, Commence Corporation has offered web based hosting services for their CRM software and continues to see strong interest from existing and new customers.  “Many of our customers have highly customized business applications that they rely on every day to run their business,” says Todd Pape, Chief Information Officer at Commence.  “The challenge is that they no longer have the resources to manage and maintain the infrastructure.  We are able to offer substantial benefits and overall cost savings by taking their applications and hosting them in the cloud.”

A hosted CRM system includes:

  • No large upfront cost for hardware and software
  • No IT staff required to manage and maintain the IT infrastructure
  • Customer can focus 100 percent of their time in running their business
  • Immediate access to additional computing resources
  • Updates and enhancements implemented as part of the hosting service
  • Customer support 24/7 as part of the service
  • Mobile access from any device

Commence CRM’s web hosting service places the responsibility of managing and maintaining your IT hardware and software environment with professional engineers, at a fraction of the cost of doing this yourself.  “It’s clear that CRM cloud based hosting services will continue long into the future,” says Pape.