Why you should keep your CRM and project management software together

True Love: Peanut Butter and Jelly!

Bread and butter belong together.  Salt and pepper.  Peanut butter and jelly.  The same can be said of CRM and project management software.

There’s a debate raging about this very subject right now, so we thought we’d throw in our two cents, because we strongly believe there are compelling reasons why you should keep your CRM and project management software together.

On the surface, the functions are different.  They do, however, have similarities which weigh heavily toward the “pro” side of integration.  Ultimately, you are managing projects because of the relationships you have with customers.

That’s a thought to keep in mind as we examine why you should keep your CRM and project management software together.

Derailing the silo effect.

In any given organization, different people perform different functions.  That doesn’t imply they don’t need to talk to each other and share relevant information.  With project management solely in the hands of contractors and engineers (in the classical model), others probably don’t have access.

Supporting customer relationships means getting things done and responding to enquiries in a timely manner.  When work is compartmentalized to the degree that only a select crew has access to information about project timelines, budget and milestones, how are those in the customer interface realm to get to the information they need?

Functional silos which exist in traditional workplaces contribute to information lag which is unnecessary and can be eliminated by integrating CRM with project management.

Streamlined and efficient.

Running parallel systems which perform at least some of the same functions isn’t a cost-effective solution, certainly.  It’s also not a time-effective solution.  When disparate models are used, bottle necks occur.

How are customer relationships impacted, when information (which can be distorted in transit) is being passed from one hand to the next?  It makes much more sense to create an integrated system to which everyone involved, including client-side staff, has access.

Simply, the flow of information doesn’t get stuck in a bottle neck, or distorted in transmission.  It’s available, through direct employee interface.

Key advantages.

An integrated system allows client-facing employees to manage the customer lifecycle within the framework of the project.  This offers pertinent information in a timely manner and bypasses the middle man.

Deliverables become more manageable when teams are unified by integrated software.  With management, reporting and reminders available to all concerned, the effect is to streamline the exchange of information and more efficiently manage the customer relationship central to the project.

Customers are empowered by integrated software, as they’re connected in real time.

Lastly, a very compelling reason why you should keep your CRM and project management software together is ROI.  Return on investment is obviously enhanced, when you purchase only one package.  Instead of two subscriptions, you’re paying for one.

And there’s no company in existence that doesn’t like a better ROI (not that we know of, anyhow).

Commence Corporation brings you cloud-based CRM and project management solutions that create the conditions you need to excel.  Contact us.

How to entice prospects to call back

This is a Sales Question and Answer article from guest poster Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator.

Sales Cold Calling Tip: Get Prospects to Call Back

By Dave Kahle

Q. We use the phone for keeping contact with many accounts. I also use it for cold calling phone prospects. Any hints on how to entice prospects to call back, since over 60 percent of calls are answered by voice mail?

A. Welcome to the bane of 21st Century sales people – Voice Mail! Yes, I have a number of ideas.

1. Give up thinking that there is a fool-proof magic set of words that are guaranteed to work. Nothing you do is going to be guaranteed, nor will any set of words work with everyone. You are going to have to steel yourself for a long-term frustrating experience, where success is defined as a few more returned calls this week than you got last week. It’s going to be a constantly moving, never-ending challenge.

2. Compare notes. Get together with your colleagues and brainstorm this question. What has worked for someone? Anyone have any success stories to share? Sometimes a word or story from someone else will generate a successful idea for you. A small group of sales people, working together, may be able to generate some ideas that will work for you and them.

3. Always remember WIIFM – “What’s in it for me?” Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are trying to call and ask yourself why they (you) should return the call. What’s in it for them? I know why you want them to return the call, but when looked at from the prospective of your customer, why should he/she devote five or ten minutes of valuable time to a phone conversation with someone he doesn’t know?

4. Don’t try to sell your product over voice mail, instead sell the return call. Your position should be that you are not trying to sell him anything; you just want to talk with him. At this point, the issue isn’t the price or product; it is the time it takes to talk with you. Give him a reason to talk to you.

5. The most powerful voice mail messages typically do one of these things:

a. reference a person you both know, perhaps someone who referred him to you.

b. reference a company that he knows for whom you have done some good things

c. mention a problem he is likely to have, for which you may have some ideas.

d. mention a specific benefit that would likely be important to him that he would gain from talking to you

6. Study your results. Keep good records, and constantly review your experience in order to learn from it. You may discover, for example, that you have a better chance of reaching CEOs if you call at 7:45 in the morning, rather than at 8:30. Or that a certain phrase or question works better than another.

Hope this helps. You have identified one of the top challenges for every sales person in the 21st century. There are no simple answers, only slight improvements. If you are really serious about improving in this skill, I have two resources to recommend. Check out my one-hour training audio training seminar entitled: Victory over Voice Mail If you have a group of sales people frustrated by the same problem, consider my small-group video training program by the same title. Good luck.

About the author:

Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written twelve books, presented in 47 states and eleven countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine, His book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, has been recognized by three international entities as “one of the five best English language business books.” Check out his latest book, The Good Book on Business.”