The sales manager's problem
Centralise your client database with customer relationship management
A central customer database is fast becoming a must for small businesses. Debbie Mayo-Smith went to one company and showed them how easily they could implement a CRM system.
The little black book
�I have no reports. I don't know what they're doing.�
"How many sales people do you have?", I asked.
"Do you have a central customer database?"
"What about your product sales database – isn't that useful?" I asked.
Three years of trying
It took me three years to get through their door. Monthly newsletters, quarterly telephone calls. Finally I was there, having coffee and meeting with the management of a large medical and surgical distribution company. I was hoping to run a workshop to help improve their sales staff's effectiveness.
Well, it was probably was going to lose the training opportunity for me, but honesty is the best policy. So I decided to help with a few valuable pieces of information that would solve their problems and reduce their cost of sales.
�Seeing sales in the pipeline helps them calculate their future income and bonuses.�
"All the things you want to do: have a central customer database; get reports on sales activity; reports on future sales opportunities; track their success; know where they are at any given time; know the communication history with each client across the company. This is easily accomplished. You just need to do two things.
"First, to sell the idea of a customer relationship management programme to your sales team. Show them how they’ll benefit from it. For example, seeing sales in the pipeline helps them calculate their future income and bonuses.
"Otherwise, they won’t 'own' it and use it. Secondly you need to buy the customer relationship management software for each of the sales team. All the reports you mentioned you want are already reprogrammed.
"You mentioned one person uses ACT!. That is separately purchased CRM software, and you need to buy it for each of the others. Alternatively, let me ask you: what year Microsoft Office are you all on?"
The only problem I foresee is getting that one salesperson weaned off his little black book.
Debbie Mayo-Smith is an international motivational business speaker and author. She specialises in simple, easy and practical ways to improve your personal productivity and business profitability. You can visit her website at http://www.debbiespeaks.co.nz, or subscribe to her Business Tip Newsletter.