Sales Best Practice #19 – Keep your key contact details updated

By Dave Kahle

Best Practice # 19:  Keeps track of all the names, titles, and positions of all the key contact people within every account.

CRM Company Org Chart

This is so basic, you would think everyone would be doing it.  Not so.  I was sitting across the desk from the operations manager of the company for which I had worked a number of years earlier.  We were reminiscing, and he told me this story.

In the time after I had left this company, it had been swallowed up by a large national company.  Now, as number two in the nation, it was again being merged with number three.  The government got involved, and mandated that every sales person fill out a form for every account doing over $100,000 in annual business.

The operations manager described how he looked over the forms as he assembled them to send back to the government.  As he did so, he got a sick feeling in his stomach.  It seems that on many of the forms, the names listed were nicknames, and there was no title indicated.

He told me that he realized that his sales people didn’t know the full name and correct title of the key contact people in their largest accounts!

While that may sound like an exception to you, I have since discovered that it is the rule, not the exception.  The sad truth is that few sales people have systematically collected and stored the full names and accurate titles of their key contact people.  As a result, their proposals and correspondence are amateurish and they look unprofessional to their customers.

Such a simple little thing!

Yet, over and over again, it’s not the big things that separate the Top Gun performers from the pack.  It’s the methodical, disciplined adherence to excellence in the little things.

I know there are thousands of sales people who are reading this right now, thinking “I already know that.”  Yet, most of them aren’t methodical and systematic in their execution of this practice.  It’s not what you know that makes you into a Top Gun performer, it is what you do.

It is one thing to know what to do, it’s quite another to actually do it.  That’s why the best practices are called “practices.”

To learn more about this practice, read chapter three of Take Your Sales Performance Up a Notch.

Copyright MMX by Dave Kahle

All rights reserved

Commence CRM Provides Growth Path for SMBs

If you are looking to implement CRM software there is a plethora of systems, starting with the most basic freemium programs to ones costing over a hundred dollars per user per month. If you are a small business looking for a basic or free solution, the world is your oyster. There are more than 100 choices. If you are an enterprise corporation with unique requirements and a big budget, there are several very good solutions for you as well.

The group that has found CRM selection most challenging is mid-size companies (20 to 100 users) whose requirements cannot be met by low cost CRM providers, and who have discovered that higher end solutions offer too much functionality, require extensive training to use, and are too expensive. This is just not practical or desired by small to mid-size businesses. While it is difficult to find that proper mix of functionality, flexibility and affordability, one company that is delivering this to small and mid-size businesses is Commence CRM.

Road by Alana

Commence CRM is filling the gap by providing growing businesses with a feature rich CRM and a growth path forward. The product fits squarely between the low-end programs and more expensive solutions like Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce.com. In addition to the traditional contact management and sales functionality offered in lower-end products, Commence CRM offers add on applications for marketing, customer service, and project management. Commence CRM is also flexible in design, enabling customers to tailor the program without programming expertise.

To learn more about Commence CRM visit the company’s web site at www.commence.com or call Commence Sales at 877-266-6362.

Is CRM Software a BIG SCAM?

If you are a small to midsize business, you may find yourself frustrated with the inability to efficiently capture, track, manage, and share customer information. Perhaps you are using an Excel spreadsheet for this or a dated contact manger and it is just not working. Customers call and you have no idea what they purchased when the purchased it or what their experience has been in dealing with your company. It has gotten to the point where it is embarrassing. You have had enough and are more determined than ever to fix it so you decide to get a CRM software system. There are a myriad of them out there and they all seem pretty much the same. In fact, several are free. What can be better than this? We can quickly and easily fix this problem for free. So you go out and sign up for a CRM system, maybe it’s not free but cheap enough and it seems like it will do what we need.

Three months later virtually nothing has changed. You are putting lead names, addresses, and phone numbers in the system. But the sales team does not use it and management is just too busy to pay attention to it. The result is that you realized virtually no value from the CRM system. Did you get scammed by the CRM vendor that told you how their product was going to improve how you sell and provide service to your customers? Probably not, and perhaps there is a different reason why it just did not work.

“You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures.” — Charles C. Noble

The best CRM software programs are designed to automate internal business processes. That is true, but you need to have those processes in place to automate. Most small businesses do not have formal processes in place for how they capture email communications, qualify leads, or track new business opportunities. Others do not have a methodology for managing sales opportunities and do not have documented procedures for handling customer inquiries. Here you have a CRM solution designed to automate internal business processes that simply do not exist. As time goes by you forget all about the CRM solution. The sales team does not use it and management has simply moved on. Why did this happen and what do we do about it?

This reason for this is clear and that is because CRM software, regardless of which one you select, is nothing more than a tool. Just like a hammer, in the hands of an experienced carpenter with a blueprint to work from, that hammer can provide a lot of value. With no project or blueprint to follow, that hammer provides nothing. The key to realizing substantial value from CRM software has more to do with the people behind the software than the software itself.

CRM solution providers like Commence Corporation, manufacturers of Commence CRM, have a staff of highly experienced people whose job it is to assist customers with the implementation of best practices for sales execution and customer service. We work closely with your management team to implement the software, and to ensure the customer sees measurable results and a return on their investment. This knowledge of sales best practices, marketing automation, and customer service is often what is missing in smaller businesses, and is the key ingredient for improving business performance. This differentiates Commence CRM from the myriad of crm solutions you can buy over the internet.

CRM is not a scam, but it is not going to improve how you market, sell and provide service to your customers without an experienced team of professionals behind it.

Don’t Spend Your Lunch Money on Salesforce.com

Image by Gregory Bourolias | Unsplash

Sound familiar? It should. This is the advertising campaign Salesforce.com used to repeatedly attack high-priced CRM solutions like Siebel Systems several years ago. Today strangely enough, Salesforce.com has replaced Siebel as the high-priced program. Now they are under attack from several high quality CRM solutions that are feature rich yet much more affordable than salesforce.com.

One of these solutions is Commence CRM from Commence Corporation. While not yet a household name in the CRM space, Commence was recently included in a Forbes report of great CRMs you probably never heard of. The company has actually been in the CRM sector for several years, and is gaining popularity for the quality of the product they offer coupled with very friendly customer service – something Salesforce.com is not known for.

Commence CRM is targeted at companies that need more functionality and flexibility than that offered by lower cost CRM solutions, but not the high cost and cumbersome nature of enterprise level solutions. In addition to contact and account management, sales, and lead management, Commence CRM offers a marketing application, a customer service or help desk solution, a document library, a web-based customer portal and a fully integrated project management application.  The product is modular in design so customers can select only the applications they require for their business. Full integration is provided with MS Outlook, and mobile is included with each product edition.  Simply stated, Commence CRM is a comprehensive solution at an attractive price.

If you are looking for a high quality, feature rich CRM solution that is affordable, easy to use and offers best in class customer service, take a look at Commence CRM before spending your lunch money with Salesforce.com.  For more information visit www.commence.com or call Commence Sales at 877- COMMENCE.

Image by Gregory Bourolias | Unsplash