How to track sales success: part 3
You know your customer, you know their buying cycle, and you know what your company strategy is. The interaction between you and your customers is a series of touching and listening.
Listening to your customers and prospects is getting more complex every day, as you must track what they are saying verbally as well as electronically (websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Do you have a process in place to listen to your customers? The more listening you do, the better you can touch the prospect and provide what they need and want. The goal is to create a great flow of the appropriate information to capture a larger share of your customers' wallets.
Today's automated sales tools assist in expanding upon your success and improving the efficiency of your sales process. Tools for small one-person companies can be drastically different from those used by 100+ person sales forces. Before you implement any sales tracking and customer information systems, you need to understand what we have just covered.
Having started several companies, I have found for a one or two person company, the simpler the tool, the better. For one business, I started with Outlook and the business contact information. As we became more sophisticated and had to share knowledge, we used a free online CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. This allowed multiple people to track customer information, as well as tracking input from our hired telemarketing team. I know other startup companies have used Wiki's, or shared spreadsheets. The more customers you have and larger your company, the more sophisticated the tools must become to increase the efficiency of your sales efforts.
Automated tools are wonderful to track the success of marketing and/or sales campaigns. Maybe you start with an electronic newsletter (using tools such as Constant Contact and SwiftPage). This is followed up with a special offer on your blog. Then you send out an updated offer announced on Twitter. Tracking the success of this campaign can be tied to your automated sales tool and help you retool the program to better focus and achieve grander results.
To start using a CRM tool, start with the simplest and easiest tools first. Then, find out what you like and do not like.
In your review of your own sales process, you have uncovered what your minimum requirements are, and you can eliminate some tools as being too simplistic for your needs. Have every department and/or person who touches your customer provide input, as they will be using the tool. Use a small segment of your sales force, if you can segment them, to test one solution for a short period. Then you can add a couple other departments to the testing phase. Eventually, you can find a tool everyone can use and accept. The usefulness of the tools will only be as good as the information kept, and everyone has to participate.
With the proper tools, you can listen very carefully to what your customer says and touch them when needed. You can provide them with the appropriate information when they want it and create a desire for your product. Automated tools can facilitate the sales follow up and keep your company name at the top of the customers' mind. The result is more sales, and a more efficient sales effort.