Time to Replace That Expensive Over Bloated CRM Solution

Time to replace that expensive over bloated crm solution

Years ago, Salesforce.com ran relentless campaigns against several companies claiming that you don’t need a high priced over bloated CRM solution to manage your business. Because it was cloud-based, customers did not have to deal with hardware and software implementations, therefore, reducing the cost of the overall implementation. It worked and Salesforce became a household name. Now several years later customers have discovered just how expensive and cumbersome this product is to use and are seeking a replacement. The good news is that many more vendors have entered the sector with competitive products that are less expensive and offer comparable functionality.

One of these companies is Commence Corporation.  While not yet a household name Commence was recently listed by the Gartner Group’s Capterra evaluation team as one of the top 20 most popular products for small to mid-size businesses and Commence was included in a Forbes report of great CRMs you probably never heard of. The company has been in the CRM sector for several years and is gaining popularity for the quality of the product, coupled with 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 offer 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 feature-rich CRM solution that is affordable, easy to use and offers best in class customer service take a look at Commence CRM.  For more information visit www.commence.comor call Commence Sales at 877=COMMENCE.

3 Ways to Encourage Dealers to Sell your Product

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

Q: How do I devise a program from the manufacturer to encourage our dealers to push their sales forces to sell our product instead of some other product, motivate the salesperson to quote our product more frequently in overlapping situations, and appeal to retail users that are taking bids from outside competitors not represented by our distributor?

3 Ways to Motivate Dealers to Sell More | DaveKahle.com

One problem we continually face is this we have been historically more generous with programs to our distributors but find that it gets put into their gross profit and doesn’t get to the retail end, and we are either not competitive, or not price advantaged. It seems that our distributor network expects it now and doesn’t take it as a bonus. Your thoughts, please?

By Dave Kahle

A: I think too many of us operate on the assumption that money is the only motivator, whether it is for an employee sales force, or a group of dealer or distributor salespeople. I’m coming to appreciate more and more the power of other kinds of motivators.

Let’s start there. Don’t assume that more money in the deal is going to get you the results you want.

What else can you do? The best thing, of course is to have a product that uniquely solves some of the end users’ problems, so that you and your dealers are selling a unique solution. While that may be the ideal, it’s very rarely the real situation, and most products have competitors which, at least in the mind of some customers, are thought of as equal.

Let’s assume that’s your case. Now what?

There are three ways to influence a dealer/distributor sales force to become more active with your product line: relationships, education, and “easy, secure money.”

Let me deal with each:

#1 Relationships

Think of the dealer/distributor reps as customers. Work at creating close business relationships with the good dealer/distributor reps in the same way that you would with end user customers. Focus on the good ones and spend little time with the mediocre. With the higher quality reps, discover their interests, uncover their values, find things you have in common, get to know their spouses and families, spend non-business time with them, etc. As you build strong relationships with them, you’ll find your dealer/distributor reps naturally becoming more involved with your product lines.

#2 Education

Focus on the concept of “comfort zones.” Most dealer/distributor reps have a virtually unlimited number of products that they can promote. Most eventually settle on those products and applications with which they feel most comfortable – they develop product/customer/application comfort zones. If your product or application doesn’t fit into a specific rep’s comfort zone, he/she is going to spend little time with it. So, you must get to know your good distributor reps (see the above) and then you must help them expand their comfort zones to include your products and applications. That means that you must lead the way, showing them how to find the opportunities, how to specify and present your product lines, and how to close and services those sales. Until the distributor rep is comfortable with your products and sales processes, you’ll be swimming upstream.

#3 “Easy, secure money”

Yep, money is still important. But notice the emphasis on the first two words. Easy means that you make it as easy as possible to deal with you, to sell your product. You have the best-selling literature, a generous sample policy, the quickest and most responsive inside people to respond to the dealer’s questions and requests, the simplest price list, the easiest policies and procedures in each of these issues. When your company is easy to deal with and when your product is easy to sell, you’ll find more and more support for it among the dealers and distributors.

“Secure” means that you provide some security for the sales person who decides to spend time promoting your product. You protect that investment of time by making sure that none of his competitors can come into an account and low bid it, after the salesperson has done the work to get your product trialed and accepted. If a dealer rep, invests in selling your product, and experiences a competitor who did, nothing to sell it, come in and steal the business out from underneath him, just once, you will likely lose that rep’s loyalties forever.

Hope these three strategies will help.

Originally published on davekahle.com

Copyright (MMXII)

About the Author:

Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written ten books, presented in 47 states and ten countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations.  For more insight, register for the Kahle Way Sales Management System seminar (November 30 – December 1, 2017). Learn a profoundly simple and practical sales management system proven to increase sales productivity and accelerate your growth. For more information use this link:

http://davekahle.com/wordpressblogs/the-kahle-way-sales-management-system-seminar/

Meet With an Agenda

This is a Sandler Weekly Sales Tip from guest poster Shulman & Associates.
Productivity

The STORY:

“Well,” said Mike, the regional sales director, “I’d like to start the meeting since we’re already running 15 minutes late.  But I think we’ll wait another 10 minutes or so to see if anyone else makes it.”

The chatter of conversation around the room almost drowned out what Mike said.

“Mike,” asked Bill, sitting in the back, “what was that you said?  I missed it.”  Before Mike could respond, Bill looked to his right and nodded at Sarah.  “Hey, I have to thank you for that suggestion yesterday.  It worked out.”

“Bill,” yelled Mike across the room, “we’ll start the meeting in about 10 minutes.”

“Sure.  OK.  Say Sarah, I had this idea…”

Mike walked out to where his secretary, Janet, was sitting and asked, “Everyone knew what time this started, right?”

“Sure thing, Mike.  Sent the notices and left messages for everyone a week ago, and yesterday I called and left another message for everyone.”

“OK.  Just checking.”

As he walked back into the room, Janet remembered that five salespeople had asked what the meeting was about, and she couldn’t tell them.

“Oh,” said one, “another Mike no-meeting.  Don’t tell him, but I’ll just skip it.  I only need to speak to Wild Man Bill about something.  I’ll call him and ask what I missed besides coffee and donuts.”

As Mike resumed his position at the front of the room, he decided that the next meeting would start on time no matter what.  Might as well start this one.

After about four minutes getting everyone’s attention, Mike was about to start when Janet walked in.

Her eyes met Mike’s, and he just threw up his hands.  “Bill,” she said, “That prospect you talked to yesterday is on the phone.  Do you want to take it?”

“Sure,” said Bill, getting up, “someone take notes for me while I’m closing this guy.”  And out the door went Bill.

The RESULT:

Based on how the meeting was starting, there probably was no purpose to the meeting.  Meetings that are called for no purpose turn into social gatherings.  While nice, most social gatherings don’t get any business accomplished.  People who hold meetings without agendas should expect nothing more.

DISCUSSION:

Unless you are a rare individual working in a rare company, no one likes to attend meetings.  Most meetings begin as a social get-together.  Everyone leaves having only accomplished the wasting of time and social stroking.

If the agenda of the meeting was social stroking, then the meeting was a success.  However, that usually is not the purpose of the meeting.

APPROACH:

Having a meeting that accomplishes something is as simple as having an agenda.  The agenda does not have to be the document to end all documents.  Indeed, it may not even be written.  It should, however, have at least the following components:

  1. A simple declaration sentence as to why the meeting is being held.  For example, “This meeting is being held to discuss how this TACTICS card can be used.”
  2. The second part of the agenda is crucial to the success of the meeting.  Conversation is directed toward a purpose.  In this example, the directed conversation, the purpose, could be the reading aloud of the card.  Thus everyone present has his attention focused on the same idea for the balance of the meeting.
  3. The third part of the agenda is to get the reactions of those participating in the directed conversation.  These reactions must be written down.  Ideally on a board so that all can see them.
  4. The fourth part is taking the written reactions and ordering them from most important to least important.  This should also be done on a board.
  5. The fifth part is determining what needs to be done by whom to make the three most important items happen.  Selecting more than the top three for action invariably leads to nothing happening with any.
  6. The sixth and final part is setting actual dates by which the top three items will occur.  Don’t say “within two weeks.”  Everyone will then leave wondering when the two weeks start, no one will start and nothing will get done.

THOUGHT:

Meetings that are held with no written agenda start late, last forever, and accomplish only the wasting of everyone’s time.

About the author:

Shulman & Associates is a professional development firm specializing in sales and management training and sales force evaluation. Visit their website and sign up to receive the free sales tip of the week. Learn how to increase sales, improve margins, and accelerate new business development.