A sales rep knocked on my door the other night. He was the third rep from the same company to knock on my door in the last few months. The first question I asked was, “Have you solved the technical problem I asked the two previous sales reps from your company who knocked on my door?” He looked at me confused and said, “What technical problem?” What a waste of time, for both me and the sales rep!
Again yesterday, I received a few dozen prospecting emails from sales reps trying to open up the sales process with me. I normally get about 50 to 60 such emails a week. Most I delete. On occasion though, I follow the instructions and reply, only never to hear from the sales rep again. Ironically, the subject of most of those prospecting emails is lead generation. I wonder what that sales manager is saying in the Monday morning sales meeting when no one is making quota and there isn’t enough business on the go in anyone’s sales funnel? And if you are going to use spam filters as an excuse, then don’t send email!
Years ago when I was managing a branch office, I had seven different photocopier sales people call on my business. Since our current equipment was on a lease with an expiry date far into the future, it was not the right time to consider me a prospect. I asked each of the sales representatives to call me back on the same specified date in the future. Of the seven reps given this information, only two called back. Only two!
You might be thinking the sales representatives who didn’t call back were no longer working for the same companies, and that is how the follow up dates were missed. If that is the case, then shame on those companies, who certainly rely on sales for survival, for not having a follow-up system in place that tracked the buying cycles of all prospects, regardless of what sales representatives are covering the territory. If the companies did have a CRM System, then shame on the sales manager who didn’t require their reps to use it!
With all the smart technology we have today, there really is no excuse for a sales rep to miss a follow up date with a prospect. Does your company provide a CRM System for your sales reps to use? As sales manager, do you mandate them to use it? Do you manage and coach them on how? If not, you should!
You might be saying your sales reps are required to use the CRM System, but they’re still missing opportunities. Then maybe you need to redesign your system. Maybe your system is nothing more than a glorified phone book, filled with thousands of contact names, email addresses and phone numbers, yet no real direction as to whom your reps should call next. Maybe your system is so complicated and requires so much of your sales reps’ time, they will come up with any excuse not to use it. If any of this sounds familiar, then yes, it’s time to redesign your CRM system.
To help get you started turning your CRM system into a productive sales tool that your reps will actually want to use, check out the article “How to Design a CRM System” available for free in the B2B Sales Connections Free Download Centre. It includes details to help you to design a system that puts your reps in front of more prospects when they are most likely to buy, while taking very little time for them to use it.
Remember, as my business partner Robert J. Weese once said, “In sports, it’s practice, practice, practice; in real estate, its location, location, location; and in sales, it’s follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!” More Quick Sales Tips here.