Ran across an interesting article recently by mortgage industry veteran Joy Breiling on VendorGuru.com, contending that even though many sales people have a large database of prospective clients, most of them go unused: “They may be passing up thousands of dollars in sales every day,” Breiling writes, then poses the $64 question(s): “How could they be missing all this potential business? Are you missing out on this business as well?”
The answer, in Breiling’s estimation, lies in tracking and managing an existing database of clients and new sales leads. Compiling a database of leads and clients is rarely the problem – who among us doesn’t have more information at our fingertips than we know what to do with?
The issue is usually one of how to use, how to manage and correctly act upon the information collected. More specifically, it’s a sales lead management issue.
Sales lead tracking systems, a species of Customer Relationship Management animals, are available for helping with the maintaining, assessing, and managing of sales leads. You use them to find which existing leads merit higher allocations of resources – i.e. your time and attention, resources in chronically short supply and the most valuable ones you have, frankly. What you’re after, of course, is wasting fewer resources (see above) on lower quality prospects.
For many otherwise gifted sales people it’s simply a mundane matter of organizing their sales leads and all the details present in effective prospecting campaigns. This is not everybody’s natural gift – he said from experience; give her a dull pencil and a Post-It Note and my detail-oriented sister is as organized as a filing cabinet but it is demonstrably not a genetic trait, Yours Truly, Exhibit A. Here’s where the sales lead tracking systems Breiling mentions earn their keep.
Because it’s not that you consciously decide not to bother with tracking lead follow-ups, you know that, as Breiling says, “even if they do not buy now, the prospect may purchase in the future,” it just honestly slips your mind, especially if you’re one of those people more focused on the next contact, as many top sales people are.
Used correctly, sales lead tracking software can manage the whole tedious follow-up process for you. I mean, that’s its job. That’s what it’s there for.
And the systems aren’t just glorified nags – “Call Peterson at Acme Anvils in two weeks.” Good systems can track how much you’re paying for various sales generation methods, which as Breiling points out is how you learn the return on investment for each strategy approach. In other words, where you’re wasting your time and where you’re getting something back for your time and effort. Analyzing the statistics these systems spit out show you which campaigns to scrap and which to focus on.
Decent sales lead tracking systems also manage and update all of your contacts' important information, Breiling point out, such nuggets as buying behavior, past complaints or questions, and responses to promotions. Once you have this info in hand and organized, of course, you can use it for up-selling and promotions applicable to specific clients. But it’s the collect and organize part most sales people have trouble with, put the information in front of them and they know what to do with it. Again, that’s where the tool comes in.
So you might want to take a look at sales lead management and tracking software. Ask around for what’s worked for others, kick a few tires, any reputable vendor will let you test-drive the program before buying.
And let the machine do the scut work. You focus on the fun stuff.
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David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi