There are three foundational components to every sale. Timing, meaning each opportunity has a specific projected close date. Desire, which is the key indicator that your prospect or client is as interested in doing business as you are, and, deal definition, which means everyone knows exactly what you’re selling and the terms.
The speed of business today compounds this challenge of fulfilling those three components. At the same time having to think through each team member’s position considering, sometimes hundreds of deal strategies simultaneously makes it almost impossible. What’s more, it’s most likely that 8 out of 10 companies today have no real contact management strategy at all, regardless of the tools they use.
Contact relationship management is more than just three words crammed together to define software. How your team relates to your customers should be defined and not off the hip. It’s created from the top down; it shows that your leaders understand your marketplace and the front-line challenges in winning and keeping business.
A contact relationship management strategy reflects a successful, well thought out delivery of your values to your marketplace and results in winning new clients and retaining customers.
So many people believe that a CRM solution itself can create your “go to market” success by itself. This is never true and those that believe such either fail or produce mediocre results. The company’s that excel in their growth objectives have built a scalable, repeatable and most importantly measurable process that their team executes using their contact management software system to execute and measure progress.
So what are the first steps you should consider when implementing a Contact Relationship Management solution?
Study your company’s value proposition, it’s life cycle and establish the shortest path to a profitable “yes”.
Penetrating any list of targets within your marketplace doesn’t happen with a single touch. While some people will tell you they won their largest account on a single call those successes are one out of ten thousand. Telling your unique story to any prospective target has got to be thoughtful, loaded with intelligent perspective and shows them that you understand their business, needs and wants. As far as lifecycle, imagine selling VCRs in today’s US market. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the VCR’s life cycle has come and gone? Your value proposition to your market must be relevant and your products and services if not young in their lifecycle need to be blended with newer longer life solutions.
Review all of your current communication processes and evaluate their effectiveness.
Update and modernize your communication technology and consider including all tools that bring you up to date. A modern CRM software should be equally capable in marketing as with contact management. Automating marketing and workflows is only as good as the messaging values portrayed. There is no magic to telling a proper story. But automating your story telling is paramount for client retention and attracting new clients.
Clearly define your go to market strategy to your front-line team and what your contact management expectations are.
Defining everything about the Contact Relationship Management process and who’s responsible for what is important. Holding your front-line team accountable is a best practice, the question is, what activity are you holding them too, and why?
In a survey with thousands of respondents we asked, “Is the data captured in your CRM:
- Exceptional Quality
- High Quality
- Moderate Quality
- Low Quality
The top two categories returned were Non-Existent and Low Quality with “Non-Existent” as the answer with the highest response. Why would you risk the great responsibility of business development and client retention and let your team enter partial entries or none at all? You wouldn’t!
If you’re considering a CRM for the first time, please understand that it’s all wasted money unless your team actually uses it. My Advice is to modify compensation to drive the proper CRM activity driving them to the shortest path to success.
There are many companies that do not hold anyone accountable in regard to their customer relationship processes. Can you imagine if your accounting department worked the same way? Invoices going out that are only partially complete. Some completely blank, some clients getting no invoices at all, get the picture? Why would anyone run his or her business this way? Define what you want and expect what you’ve defined.
Merging your sales and marketing communication pays off.
The old days where a business development rep was assigned a territory on an excel spreadsheet are gone, yet you can see it everyday. Today your contact manager has to be integrated with your marketing strategy. Find a comprehensive CRM and marketing software like HubSpot or FunnelMaker. Tools like these provide complete visibility and assure sales that they understand what marketing is doing and visa versa.