Are you Master of your Leads?

This is a guest post by Scott Mahnken, VP at Bio-Key the firgerprint biometrics company http://www.bio-key.com/

His message struck a chord with me.  I started my career in sales in 1980 and I can relate to Scott’s message about the challenges sales people face.

 Are you Master of your Leads?

Let’s face it salespeople despise paperwork.  The typical salesperson struggles with administrative duties and most often a salesperson will put off doing paperwork to the absolute last minute.  Sound like someone you know?

For years I’ve been a salesperson and a sales manager but it wasn’t until my role as a customer that I recognized the value of diligent follow up, staying in touch with the prospect and seizing “every” opportunity.

If I could share one piece of advice with someone about to embark upon a career in sales, I would insist that they do a better job managing their data than I ever did.  Data?   Yes, all of those business cards and cocktail napkins that hold valuable contact information about your prospects and customers.

Maybe you’re one of the more organized salespeople and you maintain structure by securing the business cards you collect with a rubber band.  Many salespeople have a ticker tape parade of business cards throughout their car, office, home and there’s probably a few strays in the parking lot.

Soon after I recognized that companies with products/services that I was interested in purchasing somehow lost touch with me the issue became clear.  The energy and passion the sales rep displayed initially somehow dissipated into thin air and too bad for them because I was a good prospect; one that turned into a customer.

So how do you avoid this scenario?  How do you maintain control of all of your prospects?  Certainly some are more valuable than others and obviously there have been times we misjudged the prospects buying behavior.

CRMs have been around for years and their capabilities continue to grow.  Salesforce the largest CRM provider has grown from humble beginnings to becoming an international power.  It was recently reported that the CEO of Salesforce was selling a million dollars worth of stock a day.  When investors became alarmed they quickly calmed down when they learned that he could do this every day for months without any significant impact.  From humble beginnings to a multimillion dollar entity – just by managing data!

As a sales manager and business consultant I’ve had the pleasure (snicker snicker) of implementing nearly a dozen different CRM systems for various companies.  It’s amusing to witness the reaction of staff as they learn that a new CRM system is in their future.  Oh the agony as some struggle with the learning curve, while others proclaim “the system doesn’t work” and there’s always a few that try to work around the system or make excuses that “they” simply can’t use the CRM.  Like all forms of technology, we foolishly tend to resist the change.  Many of us can remember when index cards and the Rolodex was a salesperson’s everyday tool.

Take my advice and investigate the value a powerful CRM can deliver to “you”.  Most salespeople don’t get it.  The CRM is your best friend.  It helps you on your laziest days.  It keeps your efforts focused and if you use it diligently it will INCREASE YOUR PERFORMACE MEASURABLY!

In 2009 I started my own business.  Confident that I would succeed, I was relying upon a vast list of loyal contacts and a keen memory to launch the effort.  Initially it was easy to maintain control of my schedule, the communications and client information.  Yet soon I began to lose control.  Nothing too drastic, just a missed phone call here and a slight delay in sending out information to a prospective client, there.  Soon it began to snowball.  Just as fast as I was experiencing good client interactions I was dropping the ball on some of the details.

I knew what I needed to do, but remember I’m a salesperson and I hate paperwork – admin tasks – anything that doesn’t have to do with simply selling.

So, somewhat reluctantly I did research to identify what CRM would be ideal for me, a small business owner.   The first place I search was GOOGLE. Even though I knew of a half dozen different options already, including Salesforce.  I thought I stuck gold when I discovered Free CRM dot com, but soon recognized that it wasn’t ideal for me.  So I asked some friends in the dental industry what they were using and Howard Klein President of the renowned dental advertising agency Lanmark Group recommended Leadmaster.  Howard showed why he’s the visionary leader of a cutting edge advertising agency and nailed it by recommending Leadmaster.

Now I rank my prospects and can create forecasts in minutes.  But every CRM can do that.  Leadmaster allows me to create eMail templates and product information libraries making it easy to communicate and market the prospect.  Leadmaster has a DRIP marketing element.  Here’s how this tool works.  Once I enter a prospect into the CRM, I select one button (Drip Marketing) and the prospect will receive a series of eMail communications all prescheduled from a template environment.  This allows me to take my prospect on a psychological journey as they receive educational information, testimonials, press releases, award announcements, new product launches, invitations for a demo or to attend a trade show / CE event or simply a promotional offer.  And…..all I did was hit a button.

Leadmaster has led me out of the paperwork battlefields and allows me to compete like I never have before.  In just two minutes the system allows you to search for a specific group and distribute a small eMail campaign (200).  The CRM manages the pipeline.  It’s just like hiring your very own inside sales person to support you in the field.

So stop discovering old business cards in your pocket as you pick up your dry cleaning.  Stop missing out on the leads that your competitor is closing.  Become master of your data and watch the revenue grow!

 

The all-in-one solution for managing leads and customer relationships, automating marketing, email marketing, call center and inside sales.

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