It's been said that technology is the great equalizer. Nowhere is that more true than in the field of sales. The technology available to businesses today allows just one person to accomplish the same amount of work that would have occupied an entire department just a few short years ago. What`s more, mobile and cloud-based solutions put the tools you need in the palm of your hand… literally.
The information that was once stored in rows upon rows of filing cabinets and only accessible in one location is now available 24-hours a day, anywhere in the world.
But how can you use the advancements in computing and automation to your best advantage? How can you use technology to increase productivity? How can you use technology to increase efficiency? How can you use technology to maximize sales productivity? And how can you use technology to work smarter — not harder — while still yielding more sales?
The answer to these questions is simple: Use tools such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
CRM software suites provide cutting-edge tools that improve every way you do business which, in turn, generates higher profits. How does a software suite make such a big difference to how you do business?
It`s really quite simple and goes back to those question posed earlier. Firstly, the technology creates the leverage that allows you to increase productivity within the sales cycle. This increased productivity leads to increased efficiency, making every aspect of your sales process — communication, prospecting, relationship maintenance, lead generation, closing, etc. - more effective.
Of course, many of the tools we'll be talking about can be found as separate apps but sometimes you need a bit more integration, so that your contact software and your messaging software communicate effectively. That`s where the CRM suite comes in. So whether you choose to use separate apps or get all the tools in a CRM suite, the result should be the same: increased productivity, efficiency, and sales.
Let`s look first at some specific features of CRM software that can help maximize your sales productivity, and then pull back and examine a few larger concepts that can have a massive impact on how you do business.
Specific features of CRM software
The heart of any good sales process is the contact manager. We`re all familiar with contact management in one form or another but gone are the days of the Rolodex and file folders overflowing with documents. Contact management software brings everything together in one, easy-to-access place. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most important features of any good CRM software suite.
But there's more to it than just bringing everything together. The contact manager should be intuitive, easy to use, and provide all the details you`re looking for in just one or two clicks because the focus should be on improving productivity and efficiency.
With a good contact manager, there`s no more hunting for that piece of information that would make your follow-up great. Everything is right there at your fingertips. And because all the information is readily and easily available, productivity and efficiency increase, allowing you to get more done than ever before.
The beauty of a CRM software suite is that it contains all the tools you'll need to get the job done quickly… or at least it should. Too often, business settle for an incomplete set of tools and end up substituting their own, third-party tools that don`t quite mesh.
This is often the case with a suite`s messaging system. Businesses look to cut costs by using their own existing messaging system in conjunction with CRM software, only to find that they would have been better served — and would have saved money in the long run — by taking advantage of integrated messaging within the CRM suite.
A good messaging centre is flexible and allows for the transmission of variety of different formats. The best suites make it possible to send not just text-based emails and SMS, but audio and video messages as well. Imagine the impact a video message could have on a potential client who may be used to text-based communication. Your message certainly would stand out, wouldn't it?
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A good CRM software suite is more than just a digital Rolodex and fancy messaging system. After all, you could download any number of free apps that would likely get the job done (though not as well). No, the real power of a CRM software suite lies in its ability to track what needs to be done and what has already been done.
An effective follow-up management tool will allow for both automatic and manual follow-up as necessary, and makes it easy to see what follow-up is happening on any given day.
The automation feature of the follow-up management tool is where you can drastically improve your productivity, efficiency, and workflow like never before. With just a few clicks, you can quickly and easily set new follow-up dates, report completed actions, and manage complex actions that will save you both time and money.
What’s more, a follow-up management tool will do most of the heavy lifting for you. It keeps track of how you’ve contacted clients in the past and prompts you if manual follow-up is necessary, and by what means (phone, email, text, etc.).
No more reading through reams of paper to see what’s been done and what hasn’t. A powerful follow-up management tool corrals everything in one, easy-to-read (and use) screen that will take minutes, if not hours, off your old follow-up process.
The importance of good follow-up can’t be overstated. A message at the right time can mean the difference between “let me think about it” and “I’ll take it!”. Don’t let these opportunities slip away and lose sales in the process.
“But how,” you ask, “can I keep track of all these potential opportunities within my entire customer base? That’s a lot of opportunities for follow-up.” You’re right! If you had ten clients, each with 10 different opportunities for follow-up every month, it would amount to 100 separate events that you would have to keep track of and act on. Grow your customer base even more and the numbers begin to get really large.
But that’s the beauty of CRM software. The best suites will provide tools - such as an opportunity manager - that track everything related to a specific client, provide powerful automation sequences, and display the results all in one place.
No longer do you have to rely on memory or hastily scribbled notes in the margins to take advantage of follow-up opportunities that can increase sales. Even something as seemingly insignificant as wishing someone a happy birthday can lead to even more and larger opportunities to make a sale.
Opportunity management is a powerful tool inherent in only the best CRM software suites. Harness the power of this technology to streamline your opportunities follow-up and make your work life easier in the process.
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Form letters have their place, but for true human-to-human communication, you’re going to want to customize what you send to your clients. CRM software should make the customization process easy.
You can even control with whom you’d like to collaborate - one person, a user-defined group, everyone in your company, even people outside your company. Imagine how productive you could be with the power of collaborative leverage working for you. CRM software suites make this dream a reality.
Many would consider automation to be one of the most important aspects of 21st-century technology. And they would be right. Automation creates leverage that can lead to a whole host of productive improvements.
Two such examples are automated scheduling software and automated response templates. Automated scheduling software does just as it says: schedules appointments when you’re not there. It’s like an assistant that doesn’t require breaks or health insurance. Automated response templates can be set up for common responses and then sent out quickly and easily so you don’t have to type the same message manually over and over again.
If automation is one of the most important aspects of 21st-century technology, mobility is the other. Cloud computing and ultra-portable tablets and laptops allow you to bring the office with you wherever you go. What’s more, the price of portable has made it easy to get started without breaking the bank or going into debt for the latest hardware.
Cloud computing, in particular, has done much to cut costs and improve productivity across the board.
Businesses (and businessmen and businesswomen) no longer have to shell out most of their bottom line to maintain massive server farms and climate controlled environments. Now those same businesses can pay a fraction of the cost to host their data on professionally maintained servers while still maintaining round-the-clock access. This alone can do much to help you maximize your sales productivity.
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Never before has the opportunity for automated sales leverage been greater. CRM software suites combine the best that modern digital technology has to offer to help you get more done. And no longer are you tied to one location and dependent on the files or computer hardware there. Cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) puts everything you need exactly where you need it - wherever you are.
Sales Follow Up 123 is a SaaS package that can help you find, get, and keep clients for a lifetime by helping you cultivate business relationships with constant, systematic, and relevant follow-up. So don’t let another day go by without getting the most out of the resources available. If you have questions about CRM software like Sales Follow Up 123, would like to see how it works, or would like to take advantage of a free trial of the software, log onto the internet and type in www.salesfollowupl23.com in your favourite search bar within your browser.
The future success of your business is waiting. Utilize technology to maximize your sales productivity and watch your sales revenues soar!
Composed by Barbara Piasek
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