Executing consistently is one of the most important parts of CRM. The hard fact is that most organizations don’t do a good job of it. Surveys have shown that a third or more of the leads generated in the average company are never followed up on. Not surprisingly, the above-average companies do a much better job.
It isn’t just leads. Follow-up on customer queries of all sorts is a major weakness in many organizations. Calls aren’t returned, promised follow-ups don’t happen and would-be customers are lost in the shuffle.
While consistent execution is one of the hardest parts of the sales process, CRM can help eliminate these problems.
At its most basic form, CRM lets you keep track of leads, pending calls and other forms of customer contacts. While it won’t make the calls for you, CRM can make it easy for you to respond to customer contacts.
CRM also lets you remember the contents of those customer contacts, including any promises made to the customer. This is important because broken promises is one of the major ways to lose customers. Even the most casual promises need to be kept and CRM lets you keep track of what you agreed to.
Of course all this depends on getting the information into your CRM system. That is why it is important to update the information in your CRM system constantly. You should enter customer contacts and their results into your system as soon as they happen. Leaving updating to the end of the day (or later) is an invitation to lose the information – and potentially the customer.
Updating your CRM system isn’t busywork. It is a central part of the process of serving your customers and making sales. Get in the habit of updating your database immediately.
In addition to responses, your CRM database is an important tool for keeping your sales efforts on track. You can schedule contacts such as emails using your CRM system so you can follow up with customers on a regular schedule. Most CRM systems make these kinds of reminders easy and you should take advantage of them.
In planning your follow-ups it’s important not to pre-judge leads. Treat each lead as equally important until you’ve checked it out. In a surprising percentage of cases even unpromising leads turn out to be good ones on closer inspection.
It’s also important to follow up on leads promptly. Studies have shown that the sooner you get back to the lead the more likely you are to be successful. The same goes for returning customers’ phone calls. The quicker the better is the rule in these interactions.
In customer contacts keep track of what you’ve agreed to by entering it in your CRM database. Then make sure you keep the agreement, no matter how minor it appears. This is important to build trust with the customer and never letting a promise fall through the cracks, no matter how minor it appears.
All this is elementary, sales 101, but the problem is that it isn’t always done. One of the things that separates successful sales effort from an unsuccessful one is the consistency with which it is executed.
About the Author
Rick Cook has been involved with computers since the days of punched cards and magnetic drum memories. He has written hundreds of articles on computers and related technology as well as a series of fantasy novels full of bad computer jokes.
Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ March 6, 2017 at 04:09PM