4 Ways Employees Can Cheat Your Time Clock System (And How to Avoid Them)

Timeclock Fraud

You’re a victim of fraud.

… if you’re running a retail store.

Time clock fraud happens to everyone in retail. If you don’t think it’s happening to you, here’s what you need to know: it’s happening to you.

People cheat the system and cost you money you shouldn’t be paying. Here’s how they do it:

1. Blaming the System

Time clock fraud takes several different shapes. Maybe someone’s late for work, so they clock in late. Then they tell their manager the system was down so they couldn’t clock in right away.

We all know the internet goes out, so we give them the benefit of the doubt more than we should. We end up paying them from the time they were supposed to start — not the time they actually arrived.

2. Buddy Punching

Other times, people call their co-workers and have them clock in for them — it’s called buddy punching. They can do it at the end of a shift too. They leave early and a friend clocks them out later.

Some companies trust the time report, but other businesses have gone all out with biometric readers or thumbprint scanning to prevent it. (But that’s really expensive — especially if you run several stores.)

3. Skipping Lunch

People also con the system when they don’t clock out for lunch. It happens often when you have a busy organization — you don’t know who’s out or who’s back from lunch when. Then you’ll start to see some overtime hours you didn’t expect at the end of your payroll cycle. When you look back, you’ll see lots of lunch hours — but you won’t know who actually worked through lunch!

People may forget every now and then, but if you look in your payroll system and see that someone has “forgotten” to clock out for lunch every day since they’ve started, you probably have a time theft problem.

4. Running Errands

Managers bring another challenge. If they’re not at your store, they’re hurting your sales. A store without a manager present will not close as much business as a store with a manager present. Why aren’t they there? Maybe they leave during their shift to make a bank deposit for the store… but it takes three hours.

Again — time clock fraud.

The App That Prevents Time Clock Fraud

If you’ve been in business at least a month, these things have happened to you. Time clock fraud is extremely common… and costly. Here’s how we’ve fixed it.

We built a system called Beaclock (iOS) that uses a beacon inside your store and an app as a time clock. When your salesperson is at the store, they can clock in. If they’re not there, they can’t. People clock in on their phones, but it only allows them to clock in if their phone is within a 60-foot range from the beacon — a small device placed within your store. When they leave, it automatically clocks them out. The result: you only pay employees for the hours they’re actually working.

How Much You’re Losing

Not sure how much time theft is costing you? Just look at your payroll report and see what trends you notice. See anyone who repeatedly doesn’t take a lunch break? Notice any late arrivals? If so, calculate what you’re paying them (including overtime) and the opportunities you miss by not being well-staffed in your store.

Related: Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Sales Team

For my 64 stores around the Southeast, we were losing about $500 per day in time theft — mostly in skipped lunch breaks and late arrivals. It was time to do something different.

Sure, any employee would love to clock in when they’re not there — but you need them working! With a tool to help keep your employees honest about their actual work hours, you’ll save money and boost sales.

How to Increase Sales By Mining Your Existing Inbound Calls

Increase Sales By Mining

Wireless retailers get LOTS of incoming calls. What if you could use those calls to make more sales? It’s not just about great phone skills, it’s about looking back through calls that didn’t convert and seeing if there’s potential for a future sale.

Mining for Gold

Think of it like gold mining. See, gold can be tough to find — only one out of every billion atoms of rock in the world is gold. But rather than sifting through every rock in the world, geologists use tools to find “load deposits” — places where the ratio of gold is higher. Once it’s found, they can mine.

If you want to find more gold in your wireless retail store, it’s time to starting mining.

Step one: find the load deposits. With Beaclock, we’ve made that easy. See, we’ve found that by identifying the carrier of incoming calls, we can better identify our best prospects. If someone is already using us as their carrier, that’s not an opportunity, but if we can find the calls that come from our competition’s service, we’ve found the potential for gold.

Using the Right Filter

Beaclock filters that out for us. It lets us sort the calls by carrier. Then we can listen back to see if we missed any opportunities. Increasing your conversion by just a few percentage points can make a big impact on your bottom line.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you hear this call as you listen to yesterday’s call log:

“Hi, thanks for calling Anywhere USA Wireless. How can I help you?”

“Yeah, I’m interested in buying four phones for my family. I was wondering if you could price match this online offer for five phones?”

“No, my boss won’t let me do that here.” Click.

If you’re the owner or manager of this store, wouldn’t you want this caller’s business? Maybe someone missed the opportunity to make this sale on the first call, but it’s not too late to call them back. Say something like:

“Mr. Customer, I know you called here two days ago. I don’t know what we were thinking, but I absolutely think we can offer you special pricing. Are you available next Tuesday at 2:00 to come in so we can give you a quote?”

Once you identify the people who would bring new business to your carrier, be proactive and work to make the sale.

Making It Worth Your Time

Yes, listening to previous calls takes a while, but it’s a great task for your team to do in their downtime. They can analyze calls and see who’s worth a callback to try to schedule an appointment.

When you find a gem worth $1,500, is it worth your time to call them back? Absolutely.

When you call back, either admit you made a mistake or tell them the offer they asked about returned. When you convince a person who was originally told no to come back for an appointment, your chance of a sale skyrockets.

But don’t stop there. Track the appointments and results. If someone doesn’t show up for their appointment, find out why. Call or text them to see if you can reschedule the appointment — you don’t want to lose that opportunity.

Finding gold takes effort — in mining and in your wireless store. But with a little work sifting through calls, you’ll earn a big pay-off.

How to Increase Sales By Returning Calls Faster

How to Increase Sales By Returning Calls Faster

Online leads are great — customers come to you, ready to talk about what you offer! With this kind of killer lead, wouldn’t you want to jump on the opportunity to sell? Of course!

So why aren’t you responding faster?

Companies who respond to their online leads within an hour of receiving their query are seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with the decision maker… but only 37% of companies follow up that quickly.

Even one hour makes a difference.

We’ve had this problem too. See, lots of leads come in when it’s not convenient. Your future customer is chillin’ at home, watching Netflix, and surfing the internet on their phone. Your company piques their interest so they fill out a web form and you get their info. Soon, they’re going to move on, so you need to engage them immediately, while you’re still on their radar.

That’s why I created Beaclock — a way for salespeople to get leads instantly no matter what time it is or where they are. If we want to increase our chances of making a sale, we need to contact leads immediately, before they get distracted and lose interest.

The Danger of the Spreadsheet

Lots of systems automatically document online contact forms in a spreadsheet — that’s what our old system did too. We’d then look at the sheet, ask the salespeople to reach out, and hope they followed through.

Beaclock does things differently. As soon as a lead comes in, the app notifies the salesperson on their phone so they can call right away. This has tripled our conversion rate. If you want to increase your sales, you have to interact with the leads while they’re hot — and that means contacting them ASAP.

Gain Momentum

Leads no longer die waiting on the spreadsheet. With immediate notifications, you have the chance to capitalize on their interest. So, when you follow up, do it with energy! Capitalize on the momentum of their initial interest to book an appointment and make a sale.

The purpose of your first call is to book an appointment — not to answer all their questions. Maybe your call sounds like this:

“Hi, Mr. Customer, I just got your information. I see that you’re interested in exploring what it would take to switch to our service. I would love to schedule a time to meet you. Are you available tomorrow at 2:00 to come in and check out what we have?”

Then give them an incentive to come. Offer them something for booking the appointment that gets them into your store ASAP. If you book too far out, you’re less likely to close the sale. You want to have the chance to close the deal before they’ve mentally moved on.

Leads have a quick expiration date — if you don’t act quickly, you’ll be too late. So, right out of the gate, you want to respond with energy and schedule an appointment.

How Fast Is ASAP?

We’ve been talking about following up ASAP, but let’s look at how that actually unfolds. Follow-up should always happen within an hour of getting the lead and use three points of communication: call, text, and email.

When a lead comes, call them immediately (until 8:30-9:00 pm in their timezone). Not all calls will be answered, but numbers with the same area code are answered more often. With Beaclock you can use that to your advantage and automatically push the lead to a salesperson with the same area code.

If they don’t answer, leave a friendly message, then contact them with two other points of communication: email and text. Maybe the customers can’t answer because they’re at work, in school, or in a place where they can’t talk. You can still open the conversation! If you initiate the conversation via email or text, you can start having the same discussion as you would on the phone.

Choose First Responders Wisely

Not all salespeople are created equal. Some are better on the phone than others. So decide who’s going to call back your leads… and do it well. Your top salesperson won’t always be your best choice. To choose the best fit, ask yourself these questions:

1. How valuable is the lead?

How much did you spend on the name? Was it a $2 lead for a slightly interested prospect or a $50 lead who’s ready to buy? The more you pay, the more carefully you need to choose the follow-up person.

2. Who has the best phone skills?

Not everyone is good on the phone. Train your employees on how to make a good phone call and make them practice. Role play works great. Employees should literally sit with their managers and pretend to call ten leads (or more!) before calling their first lead. Otherwise, they won’t do well. It takes work.

We’ve struggled with this too. Great salespeople sometimes don’t have the confidence they need on the phone. Maybe they think the sale won’t convert so they just call out of obligation. But, if they call because they want to win the sale, you’ll hear a different level of confidence and energy in their voice — and those qualities convert more sales!

So don’t assume you know who’s best. Listen back to the calls so you know just how your salespeople do on their calls. Just because John is a great salesperson doesn’t mean he’s always your best phone follow-up guy. If a lead costs $50, it’s worth the 30 seconds it takes to listen to that call. You don’t have to listen to all the calls your team makes, but listen to enough of them to decide how to delegate the next lead that comes in.

3. Who has the capacity to follow up?

Some of your salespeople may be too tired or busy to call back. Make sure you choose someone who can give the prospect time and energy.

Then hold them accountable. As a manager, you should know:

  • Did they make the call?
  • What was the call quality?

When you can answer those two questions, you’re on your way to building a scalable marketing plan that drives sales to your store. But if you don’t have time to listen to a recording from yesterday and coach your people on better calls, you won’t win in the online marketing world.

For more resources for training your sales team, check out these 7 Unlikely Sales Books Every Salesperson Should Own.

If you’re gathering online leads, make sure you’re being intentional about how you follow up. When your team has the chance to contact these leads while they’re hot and you have your finger on the pulse of that follow-up, your investment in online marketing will multiply.

Wireless Retailers: How to Drastically Improve Your Employees’ Phone Greetings

Wireless Retailers_ How to Drastically Improve You

No one actually makes a phone call anymore, right? Who would call a wireless store before they buy their phone? They can see stock online, map their own directions, and do their own research, so does anyone really call?

Yes! And as a wireless retailer how you answer the phone matters!

If you don’t have a great greeting and a way to connect with your customers immediately, you’re losing up to a third of your business opportunities. But don’t worry — it’s an easy fix.

Why Customers Call

There’s a common misconception that no one calls businesses anymore — it’s just not true. Yes, live chats, emails, and messaging give customers other ways to communicate, but those options haven’t completely replaced the phone call. We discovered that 27% of all our business comes through a phone call — that’s almost a third of our sales! If you’re in retail, I bet your figures are similar.

See, before your potential customer invests their time and gas money into making a visit to your store, they want to know it will be worthwhile. So they call to see if you’re really open during the hours you advertise online. They want to know if you’re located where they think.

Customers also may want to check your inventory. Do you really have that space gray iPhone?

They’re also giving your customer service a trial run. The phone call is a test — will you price match that accessory? Remember, this is an investment. They’re trying to see if you’re someone they want to do business with.

The Best Way to Answer the Phone

Want to know how NOT to answer your phone? Call any corporate wireless company and you’ll likely hear an automated phone tree that sounds like this: “Thank you for calling Anywhere Wireless USA. Please press one if you have a question about your bill. Press two if you’d like to sign up for our service. Press three if you have a technical issue.”

The best way to show your customers you care is to actually answer the phone. When a real person picks up the phone, you’ve already communicated that you care about your customers.

But you can’t answer haphazardly — there’s a technique to it… and your employees will likely need some phone-answering lessons (especially if they’re under 30 — remember, they’ve grown up in the world of texting and video messaging. Phone calls aren’t in their repertoire).

Here’s the best way to answer your calls:

1. Answer with energy

Stand up! It’s time to talk with a customer. When the phone rings, get on your feet and answer with energy.

Think of it like an audition. If you were trying out for American Idol, you wouldn’t walk on stage and sit down in a chair to perform. You’d stand! Standing gives your voice energy, excitement, and inflection you wouldn’t otherwise have. It helps you stay engaged and sound interested. Your goal is to tell the customer you care.

So when you open with, “Thanks for calling Absolute Wireless! This is Robert. How can I help you today?”, you’re telling the customer, “I care about you! You’re worth my time and energy!”

2. Exchange names

After you answer, they’ll likely launch into their questions, “Where are you located? Do you have XYZ?” No matter what they ask, your response is the same…

“Great! First things first. What’s your name?”

“Julie.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Julie. Again, my name is Robert. You’ve called the right place. Now let me answer your question…”

See, before you deal with the question, you need to exchange names. Say their name back to them. We love to hear our own names. When we hear our names spoken, it builds rapport and increases the opportunity that we’ll close a sale together. But why should the customer know your name? They need to know who to find when they visit your store.

Here’s what you don’t want: You don’t want Julie to come in the store and say, “I talked to some (old/young/white/black/loud/raspy) guy.” You want Julie to ask for you by name.

Related: Why Securing a Relationship Is More Important Than Securing a Sale

So you’ll also repeat your name throughout the call. Find a way to say, “Again, my name is Robert. Just ask for Robert when you come by — I’m your new wireless guy!”

3. Book an appointment

Your goal on a call is NOT to close a sale — it’s to book an appointment.

Sometimes we’re tempted to answer all the customer’s questions on the phone. Wrong approach. They could be on their computer ready to buy from someone else and you’re just helping close someone else’s deal. You want them to come in and buy from you.

Your mission is to set an appointment. You start the rapport over the phone and continue to build it when you meet in person. Once people are with you face to face, it’s easier to handle their objections and they’ll feel more obligated to buy. It’s far easier to close the sale in person.

However, don’t mistakingly assume they know where you’re located. Always confirm your location before they hang up. They may think they called another store (your competitor!). You don’t want to work on booking an appointment and let someone else close the deal. So double-check your location during the call.

To learn more about how to make the sale when you meet, check out Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

4. Master the perfect exit

I’m always amazed when I call a store and hear a flat, “Hi, thanks for calling Anytime USA Wireless, how can I help you? Uh-huh, uh-uh, uh-huh,” and then silence — not even a goodbye. You don’t build any rapport when you hardly speak to your customer.

Think of a good call like a song — you need energy, dynamics, a beginning, middle, and end. Don’t just fade out. Instead, keep that energy going until the end of the call. Recap what you talked about and confirm your name, the appointment time, and the location. Your close may sound like this:

“Hey, Julie, it was a pleasure to speak with you. I’m excited that we can work together. I can’t wait to see you at 2 o’clock today. As a reminder, this is where we are located. If you’d like, I can text you our address so you don’t lose it and you have my name. If you ever need anything or you need to reschedule, I’m here to help. Thanks, Julie. You have a great day now. Travel safe.”

You’ll notice there’s a lot of name repetition and reminders of the location. When you close a call like this, your customer knows they’re in good hands.

Phone calls may not be the newest technology in communication, but they’re still relevant. If you’re not training employees on how to answer the phone well, it’s time to start.

When Is the Right Time to Hire Your Next Salesperson?

You’ve hired your first salesperson, and business is going well. But you know the only way to grow your revenue is to find more prospects. And the best way to do that is hiring a salesperson. So is it time for you to make your next hire?

Consider the Demand for A New Salesperson

First, consider your supply and demand. If you have enough supply, then you need more demand. Maybe the demand just needs to be notified that you have the supply.

In B2B sales, this usually requires a representative — a person who knows all the features of the products. This rep can show your product to prospects, answering their questions and teaching them how it works for their organization. So how do you find more demand?

1. ID the Marketplace

What type of prospect is your salesperson missing? One person can’t reach your whole market. So identify the areas they aren’t reaching.

2. Segment the Field

Then decide how to divide the territory. Do you want to segment your salespeople based on types of industries, types of sales, size of the organization, or location?

3. Run the Numbers

Hire the right number of salespeople to reach your market. On average, a sales rep should have about 500 prospects to target in a year. So, if your marketplace has 2,000 prospects, you’ll need four strong salespeople.

Are You Ready for Another Sales Rep?

Before you hire your second salesperson, ask yourself these questions.

1. How many prospects are there?

Run the numbers to calculate your prospect to salesperson ratio. Remember 500:1 is the average ratio. If you only have 50 prospects, you don’t need another sales rep.

2. What’s the buying frequency?

Your specific ratio will vary based on the product and sales cycle. If you’re selling a commodity that’s needed every month, you’ll need more salespeople. After all, you have multiple opportunities to sell to the same client. If you have a contractual service where clients sign up for a year or two (i.e. health insurance or satellite providers), you may not need as many reps.

3. Can you afford to hire two salespeople?

Add to your sales team in pairs. Don’t just hire one person at a time. Instead, hire two, knowing you’ll only keep one. Only rarely will they sell the same amount. Rather, one will overachieve — and you’ll know who’s better. It’s easy to see a winner and a loser when they do the same work.

And, if you hire two competitive people, they’ll win over tons of business trying to beat each other.

How to Hire Salespeople Starting Up

If you’re just starting your business, don’t hire only one person. Hire as many as you can afford for the first two months. If you hire just one person, it’s tough to gauge how well they’re doing. You’re going to go through sales reps anyway. So begin with too many reps, and you’re more likely to find that rock star salesperson early on.

How to Build a World-Class Sales Training Program on a Budget

Most sales training is terrible. It doesn’t relate to the salespeople, and it’s outdated… if the company has any training material at all.

Back in the day, we used flip charts. Our training (like most US companies) went like this:

Introduction: Don’t stray from the script. This sales presentation is fail proof. Build some rapport, make sure the key decision maker is present, then use this flip chart.

Page 1: Our company was founded in…

Page 2: We are 20 million in sales!

Page 3: (More company history…)

Sure, company background builds credibility, but it’s no longer an effective tool. Why? You’re only talking about yourself. Today, making a sale means relating to clients — building a relationship so they can see how your product meets their needs.

Closing sales requires out-of-the-box thinking. That means it’s time for new sales training ideas to go with the new approaches it takes to sell.

Film REAL Salespeople Talking About REAL Opportunities

Interview your number-one salesperson via video. Then use their insight to teach others. Ask about recent opportunities and success so everyone learns how they’ve earned their spot as the top seller.

Then replicate this each time another sales person climbs to the top. Not only does it build your library, it also builds competition.

Stage Selling Opportunities

Want to pitch to a real client and end up with great sales training material? Hire prospects to play the part of a potential buyer.

Call a key prospect in your marketplace and say, “We’re creating training material for our reps and need to film a sales presentation. I know you’re with XYZ firm and aren’t interested in switching, but I’d like to offer you a $250 gift card if you’d be our client for the mock presentation.”

Sure, this technique may cost you a little, but think about the value of pitching to that prospect. In this scenario, you get a sales opportunity and training material. Even if you don’t need more sales training techniques, it’s a creative way to make a pitch.

Role Play

If you can’t find actual prospects to participate, hire actors or use salespeople for video role play. This works best stranger to stranger, so make sure you don’t use co-workers who know each other.

Provide the “client” with a persona. Give them a name, business details, and pain points.

Then choose a salesperson to make the presentation without knowing the client’s pain points, just like a real sales scenario.

Film their interaction and point out objections, pain points, and strategies for overcoming obstacles during a training.

Sales Program Essentials

You need more than one filmed scenario to fully train your salespeople. So, as you build your material, make sure to include these essentials.

Objections

Every organization has about 8-10 objections. Make sure your salespeople know how to handle each one. How? Ask your top 10-20 sales reps what objections they hear and how they respond to them. Then, either film these interviews or point out the objections in role play clips.

Video

Is video really necessary? Yes! It builds your library and allows people to study the details. I can train and role-play one on one, but a video is much more effective. It lets people study body language and facial expressions — repeatedly.

If you’re on a budget, use Google Hangouts to make the recording simple. All you need is a webcam.

Alternatively, you can make the video on your phone. No need to go hi-tech. Just record on your phone or in Google Hangouts, then put the footage to work.

Create for 2 Hours/Week

Sales managers, if you want to know how to develop a training program for your new hires too, start collecting these videos. It doesn’t have to take up much time. If you set aside two or three hours a week to build sales material, you’ll soon end up with an extensive resource for new hires.

You can use these videos in your hiring process. Require candidates to watch three hours of training material. Then have them “audition” for the sales role. If they don’t put in the work ahead of time, no need to waste your time.

Building a top-notch training program doesn’t require endless funds or time. With this plan, you’ll soon have the training resources you needed to equip your team with skills they’ve been missing!

3 Keys for Keeping Sales Leads Fresh With a Sales Tracking App

keeping leads fresh sales tracking app

I’m a multi-tasker. And because of that, I love Audible — I can listen to a book while doing just about anything. But recently, there was one book I was ready to read that wasn’t on Audible, so I picked up the hard copy. I hadn’t finished page one before I got distracted!

Why? My attention span is short. But it’s not just me — it’s all of us. Now, in our instant gratification culture, even a goldfish has a longer attention span than we do!

Naturally, our leads have the same issue. They have an itch to scratch when we get their referral. As soon as they find a solution (even if it’s not the best one), they move on and that opportunity disappears.

But what if you have old leads? No matter how good your CRM is, if your leads are old (10 years or 10 weeks), you’ve got a problem. So, before you blame the CRM for your sales plateau, ask yourself these questions to get to the root of the problem.

Is Marketing Talking to Sales?

Marketing and sales departments need to work together. Marketing spends major money to buy ads that bring in phone calls and find leads through outside sources. But, if they aren’t communicating with sales, your company may miss the value of your leads.

Marketing knows what a campaign costs, but they don’t always know how many leads it generates. Instead, they need to figure out the number of leads that come in because of each marketing strategy. Then they can calculate the cost of each lead — helping to develop their marketing strategy for the future and place an immediate value on leads for the sales team.

How many people filled out a form, gave information, or contacted you because of your $5K campaign? Once you get hard numbers, marketing can tell you exactly how much each lead is worth.

How Quickly Do You Respond to Leads?

Sales reps should respond to leads immediately. How do you think of leads — as a treasure or a task? Some salespeople treat leads as a task they need to complete within a week, while they need to respond within minutes. Otherwise, they loose the prime window for a sale.

InsideSales.com found that if you follow up with a lead within five minutes, you’re nine times more likely to convert them. Sales managers need to hold their team accountable to responding immediately.

Immediately? Yes. As soon as you see it. Do you want to close the sale? If so, call them right away. If a lead comes in at 4:00, don’t wait until the next day. If someone submits a form at 9 pm, call them then. And if you don’t get to it right away, call as soon as it’s acceptable to do so.

It’s not a matter of waiting until you get to your office to return calls. Sales don’t work that way unless you’re the only person selling something. Otherwise, leads are gold.

Is There an 800 Number on Your Contact Form?

People with wallets spend on phone calls. It’s also quicker to close on a call. A lead form (without an 800 number) tells potential buyers that their entries aren’t very important — they’ll be answered when you have time.

But any good sales organization makes time to answer sales questions. And any good salesperson would love to get a phone call from a client. The problem is solved when you add a number to the contact forms. That’s why we use custom phone numbers.

How Sales Tracking Apps Solve Your Problems

Sales tracking apps make it easy to solve these problems with two functions: displaying each prospect on a map and tracking communication with your prospects.

Provides Location

Sales tracking apps show you each lead’s location. Often, someone will fill out a lead form but not respond to your calls or emails. If you’re using the app, you’ll see your leads on a map. And a pop-in visit can be extremely beneficial.

So, if you just received a lead in Franklin, Tennessee while you’re in the area, you stop by to say hello. This person was interested in your business but didn’t want to talk to a sales rep. Now, since you’re standing in front of them, they may ask you about an objection you can resolve.

Tracks Responses

Sales managers, do you know how many leads are NOT contacted? An app like CallProof shows emails, calls, and texts sent to clients so no lead gets overlooked. See, a lot of salespeople make judgment calls on the leads. If they see a fake-looking email address, they skip it. But if their manager asks about it, they don’t say, “I didn’t call him because the email was fake.” They’ll just say they called and that he wasn’t interested. So, unless you have a record of the call, don’t assume they made it.

Other leads are only contacted once. Most of your leads are busy. You are not the only issue in their world. So, even though you could solve their problem, they put you off. In fact, 80% of sales require five follow-ups to close the deal, but 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up. So, if leads say, “I’m busy right now, you’ll need to call me back,” don’t assume they aren’t interested. You have to reach out several different ways to get their attention.

Here’s how I tell the salespeople in my organization to handle a lead: call, email, and text.

The next day: call, email, and text.

And the next day: call, email, and text again.

And the text message matters. Texts can’t be random, generic, or impersonal. Make the message understanding: “I understand you’re busy. What’s the best time to call?” Don’t text about your product and if they want to buy. Rather, ask a question about when they’d like to communicate.

Leads are valuable. When your marketing and sales departments work together and each lead is contacted promptly and repeatedly, you’ll see your numbers climb.

What’s the value of a lead that you don’t call? Nothing.

The Value of Having ALL Sales CRM Data in One Place

value of having CRM data in one place

Have you ever made a list, only to lose it before it was even used?

It’s frustrating to take notes and keep track of information, only to misplace it later. But while it may be frustrating in some circumstances, it’s costly in others. Client information is one of the most valuable resources in business. If you misplace it or the right people can’t get to it, your business suffers.

We want ALL client information in one spot. No matter who talks to the client at what time, all calls, emails, files, interactions, and notes need to be in one place.

How It Helps

Centrally located information helps in many areas, but transition periods reap huge benefits. When you promote a salesperson and reassign their territory, a new person shouldn’t start from scratch. Often, outside salespeople work a territory for a few years, and when they leave, they take their information with them. Then the new person gets a new prospect list and spends months re-creating those relationships.

But what if they could pick up where the last person left off? With a CRM that stores information in one place, they can. And the transition becomes smoother for everyone prospects, customers, and salespeople.

How It Works

So how does that happen? You could require salespeople to log all client interactions diligently (and hope they do it). Or you could use a system that automatically updates itself.

That is what CallProof does. It logs all the phone calls, emails, and meetings automatically. Salespeople handle clients the way they always have, while CallProof syncs up and logs the interactions.

Here’s what used to happen. First, I had to remember to call or email Joe. If I remembered (and didn’t snooze my calendar alert for six months), I logged into the CRM afterwards, and made my notes.

Now, CallProof tells me to email Joe. I email Joe, and CallProof automatically updates itself. If I included an attachment, it automatically uploads that attachment to the client’s file. If anyone else on our sales team emails Joe, it stores the information too. CallProof aggregates the information for us.

I hate change. So I do the same things I always did. But CallProof figures out the way I work (so I don’t have to change), and then puts the information where it needs to be.

Why It Works

CallProof offers this solution, but no one else does. Why? We found out what the people who buy and use CRMs want. Only after talking with usability experts, aesthetic consultants, and many marketing and IT buyers, did we build our CRM.

Salesforce.com was one of the earliest “software to service” solutions. Buyers consider it a safe buy because it’s well known. No one will fault them for buying this age-old service. But just because it’s popular, that doesn’t mean it’s the best solution.

The Right CRM

If you want to buy the right CRM, recognize each solution for what it is. Figure out why it works the way it does. Was it built to market or built to work?

CallProof was built to work, then we just happened to sell it later. We built it because we realized that the other CRMs didn’t work. They operated, but they didn’t fit with sales culture. When they were effective, it was because salespeople changed their mode of operation. They took on extra work to get data into the system.

Marketing buyers think about the end goal. They want to be able to market to any potential demographic middle-aged dog owners who live on the east side of town and drink coffee. They want options to create “cool charts” with the variables. But they forget to think about how that information gets in the system to start with. Sure, the marketing options and campaign potentials are appealing, but they’re useless without accurate data.

IT people look at solutions in terms of technology. They want a solution with a solid operating system. Since they know how to build systems, CRM services sell to these buyers with discussions on certifications and firewall technology. CallProof has all that too, but that’s not the most important factor.

No matter how solid the technology or what demographic specifications it pulls (which CallProof does too), the solution won’t work without data. And that’s the last thing people think about when they’re buying, even though it should be the first.

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How to Calculate the Real Cost of a Sales CRM

calculate cost of CRM

The best deal on paper isn’t always the best deal. Your CRM invoice may look like you’re spending a few hundred dollars when you’re actually investing thousands. So how do you know the true cost?

When you’re calculating the real cost of a CRM, start by adding up the setup fees and monthly costs, but don’t stop there. You also need to calculate the value of your time.

Time: The Hidden Expense

Time is money especially when you’re on the job. When a CRM requires a large time investment from you and your employees, you lose money. So ask yourself, “Do I make more money for the company updating the CRM or doing my job?”

Here’s an example. If an engineer’s billing rate is $100/hour, and they spend six hours managing the CRM, that time investment results in $600 lost revenue.

If you decrease the time you spend managing the CRM, you save major money. Let’s say this same engineer now uses a different CRM that only requires two hours to manage. That time shift saves the company $400.

How to Figure Out Your Total Cost

Start with setup fees and monthly fees. Then factor in the time it takes to set up the CRM, who does it, and what their time is worth. Now, add the amount of time that each employee spends in the system every week according to their approximate hourly rate. That’s your true cost.

Here’s how it adds up. Which of these solutions costs less?

  1. You spend $10 per user/per month. Then each user spends 40 hours a month updating data.
  2. You spend $30 per user/per month. Then each user spends five hours a month updating data.

When you factor in time value, B is your obvious deal.

A CRM may seem like a good deal on paper, but when employees have to spend numerous hours working for the system (rather than it working for them), you lose more money than you may realize. Instead, calculate the real deal. Spending a little more on an efficient solution saves you thousands in time.

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Why Everything You Know About CRM Is 100% Wrong

Everything You Know About CRM Is Wrong

Successful companies have always recognized the need for a CRM. They have a responsibility to their employees, vendors, and customers to keep information organized. But old CRM methods no longer make the cut.

Now, as people work anytime from anywhere, salespeople need customer information at their fingertips. They need data in one place that they can access or enter from a phone. Fancy spreadsheets and unique demographic pulls are no longer the priority any service can do that. What matters is accessibility.

The Problem

When business leaders decide to shop for CRM solutions, they usually delegate it to marketing or IT. Some plan to use that information from a marketing perspective to nurture prospects. Others send it to the IT department because it’s a technology solution. And IT technicians can figure out what will work with current software. What leaders don’t think about is the end user the salesperson.

What Typically Happens

CRM solution companies know who buys their solution and it’s not the individual sales rep. Therefore, most products appeal to marketers or IT technicians and disregard the ease (or difficulty) of entering the data.

After salespeople make calls and visits, taking notes and tracking appointments, they need about five hours each week to enter all that data. But they lack either productivity or time. Low performers often make up their data, completely skewing the CRM information, while top performers don’t have time to enter all their activity.

Instead, you need a CRM system that updates activities automatically. When a CRM depends on each sales rep spending hours each week correctly recalling their activities, your data won’t be reliable.

With old CRMs, you needed to remember to email your prospect. Then you’d craft the email, send it out, log into the CRM, and make a note of what you did. Now, CallProof reminds you to email your prospect, you send the message, and then it automatically copies your email to the contact record (along with any attachments). The activity is automatically updated, and you’re free to move to the next task.

CallProof also updates in real time. Why? So you can manage in real time. It’s not about micromanaging, but rather keeping your thumb on the pulse of activity so you know what’s going on. You can check in or follow up as needed.

The 3-Minute Sales CRM Test

How long does it take to enter data in your CRM? If it takes more than three minutes, that’s too long.

With CallProof, you can make any data entry in under three minutes. You can also find information you need for a visit, select the result of your appointment, or book a new meeting within that short time.

Your sales team (and people in general) procrastinate tasks that take too long. In fact, they often put tasks off so long, they never complete them. That’s why CallProof keeps the process quick and easy.

CallProof gives you a solution that stores functional, accessible, and accurate data in a central location. Because of that, our adaptation rate is stellar. It’s the easiest CRM for salespeople to use, which means companies get more reliable information and better results than from any other service.

Instead of thinking of CRM as a tool to generate reports, focus on how you’re going to get the information into the system. How can you take this burden of documentation from your day-to-day employees, and yet have data at your fingertips? CallProof is a solution that automatically does this for you.

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