Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Do You Need a CRM Solution? 5 Clues

July 9, 2014

A Customer Relationship Management system may solve problems that you didn’t even know you had.

“Workaround” is a word often used by companies and individuals that develop and support software and websites. When they use it, they generally mean that the features you’re looking for aren’t available, but there are alternate routes to accomplishing – at least in part – what you’re trying to do.

Do you find yourself applying the same concept to your sales-related customer relationship management tasks? You’ve cobbled together an elaborate system of email folders and extensions and add-ons, used Outlook’s tools to the max, and you maintain your contact database in an Excel spreadsheet.

Todd Martin 070914Most of your competition, on the other hand, is using at least a basic Customer Relationship Management solution. Why? Because they saw the same signs that you have and found a more elegant, centralized, collaborative way to deal with it.

Here are some of those signs that you may recognize in your own professional life:

  • There’s no one computer screen you can visit that incorporates all of the related details about your customers. This is especially problematic if multiple employees at your company interact with customers. Do you want to call a customer who was just mistakenly called by another salesperson who gave him or her the same pitch? Launch into a friendly conversation when a customer has reported a serious service problem earlier in the day?
  • You have to add minutes or hours to your schedule when you return from working out of the office – just to update your multiple contact-tracking sources. Worse, you don’t remember where you’ve been tracking a particular lead or project.
  • Making decisions and managing your time are ridiculously difficult exercises. With all of your sales and relationship data scattered, you don’t know where to turn first every day. Or second or third. It’s difficult to prioritize your work, and you have to pull information from numerous people and other sources as you prepare to make management decisions.
  • You’re communicating with your team and your customers through email, but you often miss critical communications. Email has changed our personal and professional lives in a big way. But considering the volume you probably receive, it’s inevitable that you inadvertently delete one from time to time. This could cost you a sale.
  • Determining where you are in the sales cycle with your customers takes too much time. Plus, you have to consult numerous applications, or even paper files. Even if you have an email folder devoted to each customer and/or a separate document of some sort (or a paper file), there’s no timeline. You have to reconstruct the sales trail every time you want to interact. You may be even failing to record sales properly.

There are numerous other signs, but you get the idea. CRM software and websites help you conquer the three Cs: communication, collaboration, and clarity. They save time and help you avoid duplicate data entry. They can travel with you wherever you go, and you can graduate to more sophisticated functionality when you need it. They’re designed for the sales profession.

So there’s a good reason for that nagging feeling you have that says There has to be a better way. There is. CRM solutions are as necessary for salespeople as a phone, a firm handshake and a friendly smile.

 

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