When you first start doing sales it’s easy to keep most of the information you need in your head. This lasts for about 2-4 weeks, but before long, if you don’t have tools to manage your information you will start missing appointments, failing to get back to clients and generally getting yourself in a real muddle.
As I tell all the sales people I have hired, if you can keep everything in your head then you just aren’t making enough contacts. For this reason, syou’ll need to learn to rely on some tools to keep you organized.
One of the things that really slows down sales and sales people is if they don’t have the right tool, or worse if they don’t have any tool at all to manage their contacts. One of the first tools you need is a CRM (Client Relationship Manager) database. A CRM is really a glorified contact list that allows you to log contacts against clients so you don’t forget what you spoke to them about.
My preference for a CRM is for it to be as simple as possible. Although having a CRM is very important, putting in place the wrong CRM can set you back as well. If you’ve got a bad CRM you’ll find that your sales people end up spending all their time doing data entry, and not getting out and doing sales. But I do highly recommend that you actually get a CRM in place as a first priority.
My personal preference for sales people is one by the group who made Basecamp project management tool. They’re a group called 37signals and they made a CRM called Highrise HQ. I like it because it’s just so darn simple and I recommend it to all my clients. Salesforce is another one that is widely used. I don’t like it as much because I think it’s actually slower to use, requiring more clicks, but it is widely used and that’s something worth considering.
Depending on your budget here are some CRM’s worth considering:
Highrise HQ – This is my go to CRM for station starting out. It’s simple and does everything you need and no more. It costs $24 per month for 6 users.
Active Campaign – I am a big fan of this platform and use it myself and recommend it to clients. It was originally designed as an email platform like Mailchimp but has kind of’ graduated to becoming a CRM in its own right. This is a more advanced tool and should probably only be considered by people who have a good IT person helping them. Its big benefit is its marketing automation at a fraction of the price of Ontraport and Infusionsoft. It costs $49 US per month for 25 users.
Ontraport – A powerful marketing automation platform that is quite versatile. Its starting price is cheaper than its rival Infusionsoft but the limitation is the number of users. It costs for $79 US per month for 1 user.
Infusionsoft – Similar to Ontraport, Infusionsoft is an incredibly powerful marketing automation platform that tracks your customers interactions on your website and email and allows you to automate your sales process. Infusionsoft has a simpler design but is not as flexible as Ontraport when it comes to customization. It starts at $99 per month for 1 user.
AquiraA– A powerful CRM integrated into a traffic scheduling platform. If you can afford it this makes a lot of sense but last I checked starts at around $300+ per month
2.) Call Log (downloadable resource)
Another tool that’s going to be good to have is a call log. Even when you’ve got a CRM in place, unless you are going to give your sales person an iPad or similar tablet to take out on their client calls you will need something to help them keep track of their calls on the go – just a simple piece of paper with a grid on it that has business name, contacts, and notes laid out, will do.
The worst thing you can have is when a sales person who goes out and does ten calls forgets five of them. You can avoid that by giving your sales people the resources to manage themselves when they are out of the office, and then when they come back they can enter that data into the CRM so the information isn’t lost, and it’s kept in a useful way.
A basic log sheet is a very simple thing but it can make a real difference in terms of managing the sales process, and making sure that you don’t miss out on opportunities.
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