Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Profile of a Profile: How the Best CRM Solutions Track Customers

August 4, 2015

Your CRM software or website should tell you everything you want to know.

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It’s hard for me to believe sometimes how far we’ve come with information management since I started working in sales. In my early days, I used a combination of paper and  software. PC-based CRM solutions were starting to mature, but I was still apprehensive occasionally. Even though I backed up my database regularly, what would I do if I lost all of that carefully-recorded data about my customers?

I used a lot of printer paper during those first years making paper copies of client lists and sales reports. Eventually, as data security and software – and my confidence level –improved, I stopped doing that. I still maintain a rolodex because I like printed business cards and quick access to phone numbers, but I have confidence that the critical information that resides in my CRM solution is preserved.

The Core Expands

Business cards and file folders have been replaced by CRM solution profiles. These are your all-important customer records, and they contain more information about individual contacts and companies than most of us envisioned 20 years ago.

At least they should. How do your customer profile data capabilities stack up to best-of-breed software and websites? Here’s what they offer:

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You should be able to store — and easily retrieve — an enormous amount of static and real-time information about your contacts in your CRM solution.

Automatic information retrieval. Remember typing in all of those names and addresses and phone numbers when you first started using a contact manager or CRM solution? I do. Seems like I spent more time entering related information than I did on the actual sales calls.

Not anymore. Your contact may have a common name, but email addresses are unique. You should be able to enter an email address, then sit back and wait while your software searches the web and grabs contact information, social network feeds, pictures, etc.

Event-tracking. By “event,” I mean any action that occurs or information that’s made available related to that individual and/or company. Is there an easy way to add opportunities? Documents? Send a message or schedule a meeting and log interaction?

Most recent “touch.” Can you quickly see when you last had contact?

A visual view of pipelines. I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. I don’t want to go back to the labor-intensive days of CRM. I want to be able to see what stages my customers are in at a glance. And I’d like a nudge from the system when action is required to move a sale along.

Email notifications. I’m not going to live in my CRM solution. So I want to be notified of specific events that occur related to my pipelines and customers — instantly.Todd Martin 080415 image 3

Visuals of targets, goals, deadlines, etc. What’s happening with my sales now, and how are things looking for a month from now?

None of these features are unrealistic. There are solutions that support such detailed, informative customer profiles. Does yours?

Stock images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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