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Posted: June 15, 2010

How to track sales success: part 1

Why it's so crucial to your bottom line

George Tyler

(Editor's note: this is the first of three parts.)

The world's oldest profession is selling. Before anyone can purchase or use any service or product, they must be sold. Everyone in your company should be selling, as they are an ambassador for the company, no matter where they are. This is very evident in today's social media world, where employees need to heed what they post on a public website.

When we talk with presidents, CEO's and owners of a company, we tell them that they must be selling all the time, or they are just overhead. The head of a company must constantly sell to customers, partners, suppliers, bankers, investors and employees.

Today's companies need a tool to track their successes, failures and interactions with their customers. Creating a process with a sales tool will increase your success, plus improve the efficiency of your sales force. This article describes a series of steps to take as you evaluate different sales tools.

Selling is perceived to be difficult. Selling is just a process that you establish, follow and track. Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth, has shown that everyday people create wildly successful companies with processes. One of the most important processes in sales is the follow up. Follow up should occur any time you and your customer interact. An interaction happens when you are either listening to them, or reaching out to touch them. Success comes from making sure that the right information flows to your customer at the right time.

Your customers go through a buying cycle. This buying process may vary, but the primary steps are need, information gathering and desire. Throughout the whole buying decision process, emotions direct the customer. People buy with their heart and then justify the decision using the gray matter between their ears. Therefore, all information that flows to your prospects and customers must guide their emotions at that particular point in time. Follow up is critical at each step.

As you provide information to potential buyers, you must focus on them. You need to please their requirements and wants. As Winston Churchill said: "If you want to profit, you must first learn to please." The sales cycle will focus on your customer and their buying cycle. You must identify their process, and find the steps your customer goes through. Then get the right information and right people involved to please your customer.

Most of us provide more than one product to a customer, as we can usually sell ancillary products and on-going services. Every customer should be looked upon as a future referral. The result is that we must focus on all customers for the long haul.

From the owner's or boss' point of view, critical indicators to track include sales increases, number of customers, sales efficiency, and sales per customer (or better yet, profit per customer). Sales managers want metrics to measure their sales force efficiency - calls per day, close ratio, new calls, etc. Your customer only has so much money to spend, and you want as large a share of his wallet as possible. Systems should be put into place to track these vital indicators, plus others that you deem important.

References for further study and assistance:

www.CRMGuru.com (goes to www.customerthink.com)
www.crmbuyer.com
www.comparecrm.com
www.bnet.com (good general business information)
www.business-software.com (comparison/ranking of vendors)
www.alimetergroup.com (consulting firm focusing on Social CRM)
www.forrester.com (good research firm, search for CRM on their site)

Search on web for terms: "CRM", "Social CRM"
Search on FlickR for term: "Social CRM" and find numerous diagrams of CRM systems

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George Tyler, a serial entrepreneur, has developed the only consulting practice that focuses exclusively on strategic alliances and the implementation of the powerful Alliance CompassTM to accelerate global revenue growth. Using his assessment tools and the Alliance Compass, companies form strategic alliances that increase their business. His experience in marketing, sales and management has lead to successful strategic alliances for hundreds of companies. Call today for help in growing your company. Contact information: George@3rdEagle.com, linkedIn.com/GeorgeTyler, Twitter@GeorgeTyler, 303.482.7583, http://www.3rdEagle.com

 

 

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Readers Respond

Thanks for the comments Scott. Using a free tool is an outstanding way to learn about CRM tools. Many of them will work for a small business, and get you into good habits. From these tools, you can learn what you need and don't need. I used FreeCRM for my last business. By George Tyler on 2010 06 15
Great article George. I would like to point out a great CRM tool for tracking that is free. I use Zoho CRM and it is just as powerful as SalesForce.com. Check it out at http://crm.Zoho.com Thanks for the great article... Scott By Scott Smeester on 2010 06 15

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