Have a CRM but Sales Haven’t Improved? We Have the Answer

Because you have to GET leads before you can MANAGE leads

Thousands of small to mid-size businesses have adopted CRM software with the belief that they would generate more new business opportunities and would be able to keep those opportunities from falling through cracks.  Unfortunately, they have failed to realize this, so if you feel this way you are not alone.

CRM can be a valuable tool, but it’s valueless if you don’t have a platform in place for generating new business opportunities.  CRM is a component of the platform, but it needs to be coupled with a mix of marketing activity designed to drive new business opportunities. Here is an analogy to describe what I mean. Many startup companies are proud that they have created a modern cosmetically appealing website, but months later they are perplexed as to why they are not getting any visitors. Well the answer is simple. It’s like holding up a sign in the desert.  There is no one there!  CRM is no different. You cannot properly manage new sales opportunities if you don’t have any.  Your website is not going to produce them nor is your CRM system.  What you need is a company that can provide not only the CRM tools to manage new leads, but a program to get you the leads.

One company that has taken a leadership position with this is Commence Corporation. Commence sells CRM software like many other CRM solution providers, but what makes Commence unique is that they are assisting customers with creating marketing programs designed to drive new business.  The company’s professional services staff is helping companies to identify who are their best customers, what are their competing alternatives and how can they can proactively target them.  Once the leads are generated, the CRM software then ranks and color codes each opportunity based on specific qualification criteria and provides the ability to manage the opportunity from the initial introduction to closure.  It’s this combination of effective lead generation programs coupled with a top-rated CRM solution that is enabling Commence customers to improve sales execution and impact the bottom line.

Want to learn more about Commence?  Contact Commence Sales at 1-877–266-6362 or visit the company’s web site at commence.com.

Protecting Your Good Accounts from the Competition

4 Ways to Show Your Customers you Care

By Dave Kahle

We all know the feeling.  Your key contact in one of your good accounts sheepishly admits that they have moved some business to a competitor.  No problem with your service, it was just a price issue.

Nothing is more discouraging.  You’ve spent years developing this account, building relationships, working hard at meeting their needs, and then, in the blink of an eye, you lose the business to a price-cutter.

Is there anything you can do to prevent this?  Of course.  Here are four proven strategies that will help you prevent your hard-earned business from disappearing into the hands of price cutting competition.

Strategy One:  Deepen your personal relationships with the key decision makers.

It is really difficult, though not impossible, for your friends to take the business away from you.  So, turn the key decision makers into your friends.

Don’t rely just on the business aspect of your relationship, no matter how sound, to see you through.  Make it a point to develop personal relationships with the key people.  Try to spend time with them socially.  Take them to a ball game, a concert, golfing or fishing.  Spend one-on-one time with them outside of the work environment. Arrange to have them meet your spouse and family.  Get to know them more deeply than you would normally.

These efforts to turn them from business acquaintances to personal friends is almost never wasted.  As the relationship grows, the natural tendency to keep doing business with you grows proportionately.

Strategy Number Two:  Close any open doors that may exist in the account.

When I’m coaching sales people on how to get their foot in the door of an account that is in the hands of the competition, I have them look for open doors.  “Open doors” are lingering issues that make you, the established vendor, vulnerable to the competition, and that are within your capability to close.

When you are on the inside, trying to protect your business, you need to make sure that there are no open doors for your competitors.  For example, you may have a pile of returns that are sitting on the account’s shipping dock, waiting for a return authorization from you.  It may not be a big deal to you, but from the perspective of a competitor sales person, it may be an example of your lack of attention to that account.  And that can be a little opening into which a competitor can wedge themselves.

Make sure you take care of any lingering service-type issues… [click here to read the entire article on DaveKahle.com]

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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. Check out our Sales Resource Center for 455 sales training programs for every salesperson at every level. To connect to the Sales Resource Center use this link:
http://www.thesalesresourcecenter.com

CRM Success – Fake News?

CRM Success - Fake News? | Commence CRM Blog

CRM software providers are trying hard to earn your business and want to convince you that their CRM software will help you close deals faster, improve close ratios and guarantee customer retention, but sometimes the marketing pitches can go a bit too far and as our new president would say: It’s fake news.  To illustrate this below are three testimonials I grabbed from three CRM company websites.

“We are now selling faster, easier, and with more relevance. We close deals twice as fast as before.”

“Sales improved by 32% in the first 90 days. “

“Our CRM has given us a 99% Customer Retention Rate.”

As one of the leading providers of CRM software for small to mid-size businesses, I can tell you unequivocally that these statements are simply not true. In fact, CRM software has nothing to do with closing deals twice as fast as before. If sales have improved by 33% in 90 days it’s probably due to a sales promotion or an event; and if you have retained 99% of your customers it’s because you have a quality product and provide great service. It’s not because of your CRM system.

You see CRM is just a tool that requires management’s commitment and quality people to ensure any level of success.  In fact, I believe CRM has become a commodity today and the more popular solutions like Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM, and Commence CRM all provide similar functionality at similar price points so it really does not matter which one you select.  What does matter is what complementary services these companies can offer to ensure the successful implementation and use of their products.  This is an area where Commence CRM really shines.

While some firms, Microsoft CRM for example, use third parties to sell, implement and support their product, Commence CRM is a one stop shopping provider that utilizes its own staff to implement, train and support the product. The company also provides an array of services and best practices that help customers create marketing campaigns and lead generation programs, implement a structured sales process for managing the sales cycle, and create a customer portal for providing high quality service.  These services actually play a greater role in improving marketing, sales execution and customer service than the software does.  Of course, you do need a product that offers this level of functionality and not one of the low-cost out of the box offerings that do not. But the real key here is your commitment to using the software to streamline the internal business processes that will impact the performance of your business. CRM by itself won’t make this happen.  So, forget all the hype and fake news you may read or out there and refocus your energy on the services the solution provider can provide to ensure your success.