Three Ways To Improve your Sales Management Workflow

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Salespeople are the front line of your business, but can be challenging to manage. They are independent by nature and documenting their activities is the last thing they want to do. It’s not that they don’t want the boss to know what they are doing, they would just prefer spending  time talking to prospects rather than filling out notes in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System.

If your sales team still keeps information about your customers and prospects in three ring binders and in their heads, they are putting your business at risk.

Contact lists in Excel spreadsheets

It’s hard to break old habits and most sales people have used Excel spreadsheets on their laptop to keep their contact lists and pipeline reports for years,ften with no regular back up. A lost or stolen laptop can wipe out weeks, months or years of valuable contact information and customer history.

Without a centralized system containing complete information, your business can’t communicate effectively with your prospects and customers. Sending out regular emails and newsletters to your contacts keeps your services fresh in the minds of your customers. If your sales people are not entering and updating contact information for your prospects, you are losing the opportunity to build valuable relationships.

Incomplete and outdated prospect data

If you do have a central CRM system, are your sales people keeping the information up to date? When a competitor offers your top seller higher commissions to join their team, will you have full information about the opportunities that she was pursuing?

A CRM system that is difficult to use will not get updated regularly. Sales people will wait until the next forecast is due and then spend hours to catch up on all their entries. When notes are entered weeks after a meeting there are bound to be errors and omissions.

Giving customers outdated information

Sales people, especially those on the road, carry product brochures, catalogs and price lists with them to share with customers. At the pace of change in today’s markets, keeping those documents up to date can be challenging. Outdated catalogs may not include the product features that the customer needs – meaning missed orders and sales lost to the competition.

Without immediate access to information about product availability, margin, and pricing, well-meaning sales people can cost the company big dollars. When supply chain costs change in competitive markets, a big sale may look good on the top line, but actually be a loss on the company’s bottom line.

The solution for peace of mind

The best way to help these sales people work within the system is to bring the system to them. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, your sales team can work directly in Microsoft Outlook – just like they do all day. The full functions of CRM are available through Outlook, so sales people can update opportunities, add contacts or send current marketing materials from one place.

No extra work for your sales team, just peace of mind for you.

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By Western Computer | www.westerncomputer.com

2 thoughts on “Three Ways To Improve your Sales Management Workflow”

  1. An easy to use CRM system is only part of the solution. As such Microsoft CRM is not the entire solution. It is an easy to use solution but the Outlook integration is still far from perfect and often the whole ide of tracking is confusing to sales guys especially when it involves adding contacts into their phone, pad, outlook on their laptop or directly to the CRM system. However regardless of which CRM system you use this is a common problem for all organisations.

    The only true way to get sales or indeed any other function to use the CRM system effectively is to force them to change their habits. Of course you can facilitate this through a proper training program and clearly and concisley selling the solution to your sales guy but unless your sales director, area manager and business leaders actively use the data (and hence require its accuracy) then the sales guys will simply continue to revert to their shadow systems.

    To ensure the success of the systems the entire organisation need to be dependent upon its data and this needs to be driven from the top down. For example if sales forecasts are based upon end dates and percentages of success of open opportunities and not phone calls to area managers and excels emailed in then you will find area managers putting pressure onto the sales to ensure the data accuracy. In this way it is the sales guys ass if his data is not up to date or inaccurate. Furthermore if you tie the sales guys performance related bonuses to his-her opportunity handling or creation and success rates or other CRM activity success as recorded in the CRM system then there is also further incentive for the sales guy to utilise the system. In this way any double work carried out outside the system is a waste of the sales guys time and hence is redundent and less likely to occur.

    The CRM system is only as valuable as the data in it, usability is not the entire answer if the data is not going to be used anyway or there are no incentives or pressures placed upon users to ensure data quality. As such the system is only as good as the processes and the managements commitment to them.

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