Field Sales 101: Follow These 10 Solid Tips for Success

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If you’re new to field sales, there’s no sense wasting time. You have people to see and sales to make.

But there’s a learning curve. Being a field sales representative is tough work. You’re out of the office more than you’re in it — meeting people, building relationships, and trying to remember who said what so you know how to follow up.

So, as you navigate the obstacles, try these 10 tips and tools to take your field sales to the next level.

#1: Have a Sales Process Before You Meet With Prospects

Every sales representative needs a solid process before they meet a new prospect. When you have a process, you stay in control of the results. A plan keeps you on track and establishes a call to action. Then you know the possible outcomes and can be prepared to guide the prospect through their responses.

In doing so, you’ll show them you’re organized, and they’ll know they’re in good hands.

#2: Stay Organized

Have a plan for dealing with people at every stage of the sales process. Always know your action. And have a system for everything. Then, no matter where a prospect is in the funnel, you know the next touchpoint.

Moreover, don’t over-complicate your touchpoints. They’re molehills, not mountains. It’s easy for a new field sales representative to think of making contact as a giant task when it only takes a few minutes. Make sure you realize the simplicity of the task so you don’t put it off.

#3: Don’t Keep Anything in Your Head

As you work your system, use tools to keep you on track. That way you won’t overlook something (or someone) by accident. It’s a little easier to keep track of things mentally when you’re younger, but the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to mentally track it all.

So trust your calendar. Trust your CRM. Even if your memory is great, you cloud your judgment by mentally trying to keep track of everything. Instead, use a reliable CRM to track your data so you can stay focused on what you’re doing. A clear mind frees you up to be more strategic.

#4: Tell Your Story

Qualify your prospects before you meet with them. Then focus on your story. Work on telling the story of why your company exists and what your business brings to the table. It will allow you to see how that applies to your customers.

When you meet with customers, center your conversation on the story. Tell your story and listen to theirs. Customers need time, trust, and money before they buy. So build that into your story. How does your product bring value to their company?

Related Post: Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price

Once you hear their story and tell them yours, you’ll know if their needs align with your product. When you have conversations with the right people (people who want to buy now, not those who may want to buy “one day”), your stories will match up.

#5: Admit If You’re Not a Good Fit

If you’re not the right fit, be the first to admit it. There’s no problem in saying, “Hey, I can’t help you, and here’s why.”

But even if your product won’t solve their problem, point them in the right direction. Give them a recommendation of a person or company who will meet their needs. Then ask for a referral. I usually say, “I know I’m not the right person for you, but if you know someone else…” They almost always refer. And I almost always make a sale by telling them no.

#6: Balance Your Goals With the Customer’s Goals

Before you take on a customer, make sure it’s a win for both sides. You have a responsibility to your customers, employees, and vendors to make good decisions that benefit everyone involved.

To keep that balance, you need a direct line of sight to success. So figure out what “success” is to each person involved. As you sell to new clients or adjust to current customers’ needs, ask them what they need to be successful. Then see how you can help meet those needs. When your clients are successful, you are too.

#7: Keep the Price Fair

Price your product accordingly. You’re working with customers, not against them. So don’t gouge people. But also, don’t cheapen your product. Instead, charge a fair price where you can explain why you charge what you do.

When you’re offering a product that helps clients be successful at a fair price, you’ll see good results. Why? You’re working towards the same goal. With a fair price, the customer gets good value, and you make enough for it to be worthwhile.

#8: Take a Team Approach With Vendors

If you use vendors, don’t forget to consider their success. In the past, I didn’t want to hear about the vendors at all. I just wanted the results. Worst idea ever.

Vendors should be treated as part of the team. You have a responsibility to make sure the customer gets a good product. So everyone involved needs to be on the same page — including vendors.

Vendors are good at what they do. They’re experts — you just don’t need them full-time. Even if they only work for you temporarily, make your efforts collaborative. When you do, you’ll see better results for everyone involved.

#9: Communicate During Onboarding

You want new clients to become lifelong customers. Good onboarding sets the stage for a long-term working relationship. Onboarding is all about communication. Make sure you know what pieces need to be in place to make it successful. You’ve onboarded customers before. You have experience. They don’t. So guide them down the path and make them feel comfortable with the process.

Communicate every step of the way. It’s just like the sales process. In sales, you close a call with, “Here’s what’s going to happen next…” The onboarding process should work the same way. Make sure there’s no question about what comes next.

#10: Quote Quickly

Quotes need to be prompt. Don’t say, “I’ll get it to you soon.” Instead, tell them exactly when you’ll send it. Leads and deals are like fish. The older they get, the more they start to stink. So move fast — the more touches you make in a short time (especially during the quoting phase), the faster you’ll build trust in the relationship.

Your product is not their world. They don’t spend days thinking about your solution. That’s just something they did once and don’t want to deal with again. So get started, pull off the band-aid, show them what they need, tell them what’s going to happen, and deliver.

I typically leave a meeting, send a handwritten thank-you note, email the proposal, call them to make sure they received it, then give them their next steps. The goal is to meet their needs quickly.

These 10 tips are no great secret. The real secret to success is doing them. So don’t be one of those people who know what to do but fail to follow through. Instead, let these time-proven practices change your work.

How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

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We all need motivation to do our best work – and money is a great source of motivation.

But the structure of salesperson commissions can only matter as much as the actual amount. We aim for salespeople compensations to reward for big sales, give opportunity for growth, and keep people motivated to sell even more. Here’s how we do it.

Foster the Mini-Business Mindset

Good salespeople have spirit. When they use that spirit to operate their sales like their own mini-business, they’re successful. Start by making them financially literate about the business so they understand how and why they’re paid. That doesn’t mean you have to divulge all the company’s financial information to them. Instead, explain how the company gets paid. Does the company earn recurring revenue from a sale, or is all payment up front? Then structure their pay similarly. If it’s a one-off sale, they’ll get paid once. If it’s recurring revenue, they’ll earn a recurring commission.

When salespeople understand how the company makes money, they’ll mimic that in their sales approach. Plus, they’ll learn that what’s good for the company is good for them. The more ownership they take in growing their own “business”, the better they become at their job. They’ll foster a consultative relationship with their customers, doing whatever it takes to keep that customer satisfied and offering additional products and services that meet their needs. In turn, they understand the business on a deeper level, which makes them an even better salesperson.

But, if they don’t get paid the same way as the company, mistrust starts to grow. If you get paid recurring revenue, but the salesperson doesn’t, they feel cheated. They start to distrust leadership. And they stop treating their job like a business.

The Average Commission for Salespeople

Since salespeople want opportunities to grow their business and income, try to match commission structures to how the company is paid. As a rule of thumb, the average commission is one sixth of what the company makes. So, with every sale, the company makes six times what the salesperson is paid.

The 3 Phases of Sales & How to Separate Them

Should you offer more commission for a new sale or a retention? If you offer more for a new sale, will your retention levels drop? How you weigh salespeople compensation depends on the business. But separating types of sales strengthens your business and better equips your team.

Think of sales as three phases: hunting, farming, and account management. We want to separate those roles as much as possible so people can focus on the area in which they’re most skilled.

Hunting

Hunters are the people who go out and find new sales. They find prospects and qualify them — and they’re good at it. If you have someone who finds new opportunities, keep them hunting. You want them capitalizing on their strength of bringing you new customers.

Farming

Once a prospect becomes active, you move them to the farming category. This is the nurturing and cultivating stage. It is where you want the salespeople who can close a deal. Farmers are people in front of customers, moving deals through the pipeline.

Account Management

These are the people who keep the client happy. They provide customer service to the client, answering their questions or coordinating repairs. Maybe this is your technology person who can keep things running smoothly. Sometimes the best technology or service people aren’t great salespeople. It’s just a different personality type.

The more separate you keep these roles, the better. But also, remember to move clients between categories. You don’t want a salesperson servicing the copier, but they can still coordinate the relationship between the client and the service technician. And, when the client is up for renewal, it’s the farmer’s turn to deal with them again.

Capping Commissions

When you have a cap on a salesperson’s commission, you’ll stop making money off of them. And it’s an easy way to make your sales team unhappy. Find a solution where, if they make a million dollars, you make six million – then it’s worth it for everyone.

The exception comes when the salesperson no longer services an account. Let’s say someone just gets paid on monthly recurring revenue from something they sold but no longer manage. In those situations, limit the timeframe on the payout or scale down the commission over time. Maybe the first year they earn 5%, the second year they earn 2%, and then the third year they earn nothing. Why? Because if a salesperson always gets a piece of the pie, they’ll stop hunting. They won’t look for new prospects because they won’t need to.

Bottom line: make your sales commission structure clear to your salespeople. Make sure they know what it’ll take to succeed and that sales are worth their time. After all, when your sales team does well, your company does well too.

Anatomy of the Perfect Sales Follow-Up Call

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Well, he may have exaggerated a little, but it sure does seem to apply to sales.

Sales relies on persistence. And often, that persistence relies on following up.

When you’re dealing with clients, you should always have a next step. No matter what. Follow-up calls can be the perfect way to close the loop and provide your next interaction with a prospect.

Contact Them… Then Contact Them Again

Sales is based on a series of touches. Sometimes you call prospects, and sometimes you need to make contact in another way. Before they buy, people need trust, timing, and money.

The faster and the more frequently you can interact with them, the faster you can identify those needs and build trust. Some interactions directly affect the sale. Others focus on building a relationship with the client.

Here’s how we get to know your future clients and move them through the buying process.

Ask, “When should I follow up next?”

Always pin down the next action step at the end of a sales meeting. Just ask them, “When should I follow up next?” so you know where the prospect is in the buying cycle. This closes the loop for the meeting and helps you plan your next steps accordingly.

Mail a Handwritten “Thank You” Note

Always drop a “thank you” note in the mail after your meeting. And, if you can, make sure it’s sent from their town. I write a note as soon as I leave a meeting and mail it right away.

Send Your Quote ASAP

If the call to action is to send a quote or proposal, send it soon. It’s helpful to tell your prospect exactly what to expect. I might say, “I’ll send you an email right now to make sure you have my contact information. I’ll get a quote together for you later today or early tomorrow.” Now, they have your information and know when to expect the proposal.

Follow Up Immediately After Sending the Quote

After you send your proposal, call your client ASAP. That way, you can make sure they received the quote before they can form an opinion on it. This conversation isn’t about finding out what they think about your quote, but rather confirming they have the information. I might say, “Hey, I just sent you the quote and wanted to make sure you received it…. Great! When should I follow up with you next?” They’ll tell you.

Call Back

Now, when you call for the next step, they’ve given you permission to contact them. Check and see where they are in the process since they’ve had some time to think about the quote.

As you take these steps, you build in touches along the way. From your first sales meeting, you’ve worked in three more interactions before discussing the quote. Some people say it takes 6 to 7 touches to close a deal. Obviously, that varies with different products and services, but consistent contact builds trust and moves prospects toward a sale.

If You Don’t Follow Up

Consistency takes discipline. As a salesperson, you need to follow a plan — not just for the sake of checking items off your to-do list, but because follow-through builds confidence and increases your likelihood of success.

People want excellent customer care. If you don’t follow up when you’re in the sale phase, you probably won’t respond to them in time once they’re a client. The sales process is like an interview. Prospects want vendors who stay organized, respond immediately, know what they’re doing, and know the next steps. And with good sales follow-up, you get to show them what it’ll be like to do business together. If you don’t follow up, they won’t want to work with you.

How to Make a Great Follow-Up Call

Before you reach for the phone, do your homework. Check your notes so you know what to say in a follow-up call. You’ll need to remind yourself when you last spoke and how you left the conversation. Here’s the basic outline for a great call.

1. Immediately say your name and your company.

2. Remind them when you spoke last and what you spoke about.

3. Quickly recap any of their concerns and provide solutions. This will remind them why they’re on the call.

4. Be persistent and polite, not obnoxious or pushy.

When to Follow Up

Generally speaking, you want sales follow-ups to be tight. Leads are like fish — the older they get, the more they stink. So keep leads fresh with a quick follow-up. If you’re selling to a really busy person, make their next steps easy so you can keep them in the sales process without taking up too much of their time.

Active and Latent Buyers

Also, consider what kind of buyer you have: are they active or latent? Active buyers are an active opportunity in the pipeline. You’re following up with them in 60 days or less, and they’re ready to buy a product.

But, if a prospect asks you to wait more than 60 days for your next follow-up, consider them a latent buyer. That means you’re nurturing them to become an active buyer in the future.

How a CRM Helps You Follow Up

A good CRM makes sure you don’t miss anything as you work to close the loop and set your next follow-up actions. Successful people in sales do two things:

1. They schedule a follow-up action every time they speak with someone.

2. They make notes about every interaction. Sometimes they even add notes that say, “Nothing to note.”

That’s why you need a CRM that plays well with the tools you use to keep track of your life. It needs to integrate with your calendars and to-do lists so no one falls through the cracks. You’ll also want a solution that files notes with each action step. That way, it’ll be even easier to access the information you need to make a great follow-up call. And, if the CRM is easy to use on the go, you can make your updates and action steps immediately — which is even better.

Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price

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Don’t compete on price.

But if you do, you’d better be the cheapest… and stay the cheapest.

See, when you sell the value based on price, both you and the customer treat the product like a commodity. There’s no relationship, and there’s no loyalty.

Instead, take the consultative approach. When you position yourself as an expert and a true partner with your customers, you sell the value in the advice you offer. And if you do that, your relationship will outlast your price point.

Current Customers = Best Prospects

Your current customers are your best prospects — if you have a relationship. When you know your clients, conversations about other products or services you offer happen naturally. Plus, they’re open to giving referrals because they trust you. But if you’re competing on price, you won’t have a good enough relationship with your customer to expand your wallet share with that business. Plus, they lack the incentive to give you referrals.

Start With the Right Pitch

To avoid selling based on price alone, you need to craft your sales pitch in a way that builds a relationship from the beginning. But how do you do that if the typical customer only cares about three things?

1. What is the product?

2. Why do I need it?

3. How much will it cost?

There’s one other element of a sales pitch that matters: the story. If you want to hold their attention and get them to think the way you want, tell the story and make the sale. Tell them why you’re in business. Then they become involved.

This isn’t a slideshow. This isn’t an informational company history. It’s a way to connect. Think of it like a good movie.

Take our story, for example. Several years ago, I was looking for a CRM solution. Like anyone, I wanted something that would store all my information in one place, keep me from missing a client, and allow me to see data in various ways. So I went out and looked at several solutions. I even liked some. But when I tried them, set them up, and rolled them out to the sales team, they’d just do the same things they’d always done. They would stick to their systems and write down their notes. But now they needed 4-5 hours a week to enter it into the system. We got a lot of garbage in the CRM. The top performers arguably didn’t have time to deal with it, and other people weren’t entering data that’d make them look bad. So I needed to find something different.

I realized CRMs were just built to sell. They were made for IT and marketing people from large companies — because that’s who had the budget for the software. But the people who actually use the CRM daily weren’t considered. When I made a list of what my salespeople needed and what I needed as a manager, I realized nothing did that. So I built CallProof.

We started using it successfully. Then our clients started asking what we were using. They wanted it too. Here we are, 9 years later, with a mature solution that provides thousands of users with a bug-free, simple way to keep track of their sales.

That’s our story. A good customer will relate to that. If I’m selling to an IT or marketing person from a large company, I’m going to tell them a slightly different story to show them how our product meets their needs.

Showing Your Product’s Value

Once a prospect invests in your story, figure out their motivation. If you can understand their goals, you can show them how working with you helps them get there. Do they have a problem you can solve? Can you show them how your solution helps them reach their end goal? If they’re starting to connect with you and you connect to their goals, your product just became much more valuable.

Avoid Prospects Who Only Buy for Price

There are two types of decision-makers: asset owners and asset custodians. Asset owners care about the well-being of the business. As you deal with owners, you’re dealing with the people who have a stake in the success of the company. So you sell to them based on what your product or service means to the company and the bottom line.

Asset custodians are just trying to avoid problems. They’re trying to get their job done and avoid extra work. They’re much more likely to “kick the tires”, so you need to be ready to change the conversation to deal with their main priorities and keep them from focusing solely on price.

Your product is valuable. Don’t cheapen its value by reducing your sales pitch to the bottom line. Instead, sell the total benefit you and your product offer your customers.

How Women In Sales Can Succeed In The Male-Dominated Industry

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Sales used to be an industry dominated by men. Why do you think we still default to “salesman” rather than “salesperson”?

However, there are more women in the job market today than ever before. In fact, women make up about 45% of the workforce in the United States. And sales is no different; as the number of women in the workplace rises, so does the number of women in sales.

Men vs. Women in Sales

Like men, women can be excellent at sales. And like men, some women struggle at it. The qualities of a top salesperson are the same. Everyone needs confidence. And everyone needs a process for collecting leads, following up, and closing sales. But a person’s level of confidence and the quality of their sales system depend much more on the individual than on their gender.

That being said, there are parts of sales where women generally have an advantage. For example, many women get better results in prospecting. Women listen differently than men. And whereas men may listen to see how their solution fits your problem, women hear the emotional undertones of the conversation. They can often figure out a customer’s real problem and offer the best next step. Men, however, often push people to the next step without considering what the correct next step should be.

That also means men generally close more sales, more quickly. They’re less concerned with the emotional implications, not overthinking each step, so they negotiate to close and then move on.

Yet, these are just stereotyped advantages. While some women hold an advantage in face-to-face or phone prospecting and men take the advantage in negotiation, individual work ethic is much more important.

The Most Successful Women in Sales

Some of the most outstanding salespeople I know are women. And, though the sales industry is often perceived as a “man’s world”, some of our most groundbreaking leaders have been women. From Mary Musgrave, who used fur trading posts to establish peace with the Europeans during the 1700s, to Estee Lauder, who introduced the idea of incentivizing purchases, to Oprah Winfrey, who is often called “the most powerful woman in the world”, women have been revolutionizing sales for hundreds of years.

Those women were successful in their own right. They didn’t do the same thing as everyone else in their time. They didn’t learn how to succeed in sales by copying the people before them. Instead, they listened to others and found the approach that worked best for the surrounding needs. They didn’t let gender stand in the way of using their strengths to succeed.

Sales Tips for Women

People who make it in sales are disciplined and intentional. They have a plan for how to do business and who to work with, and they make it all better with their personal strengths. So, if you’re wondering how to succeed in sales, here are three tips for moving in the right direction.

1. Have a System

The single biggest differentiator in your performance is how you move prospects through your pipeline. Man or woman, you need a way to keep track of people, no matter where they are in the sales process.

2. Capitalize on Your Own Talents

What are your talents as an individual? Leverage those to your advantage in the sales process. Whether your strengths are gender-specific is irrelevant. It’s all about how you use your best qualities to move clients through your system. Focus on your own strengths.

3. Look for Leadership

It’s always helpful to work with and for strong leaders. It’s not as common as we’d hope for new salespeople to surpass the leaders who train them. Usually, you’ll find the best people in sales have a good leader… and good leaders have good salespeople.

There aren’t just good salesmen. There are great salespeople. And today, we’re glad that more of those people are women.

The Most Successful Sales Teams Avoid These Time Management Mistakes

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As a salesperson, you have a say in how your day unfolds. But as you balance working in the office with prospecting and helping clients, are you really making the most of your time?

Below we’ve listed the most common time management mistakes that salespeople – and sales managers – make. If you want your sales team to run smoothly and effectively, avoid these mistakes and follow the steps listed for a more productive schedule.

The Biggest Time Management Mistakes That Sales Teams Make

Being busy doesn’t mean you’re effective. So look at how you spend your time and schedule your day to see if you’re maximizing your work hours.

Mistake #1: Spending Time on Software Updates and Data Entry

A salesperson’s day should be focused on talking to prospects. You have to work within the office hours of your potential clients. So spend your day making those connections. Other activities can be done other times. The CRM software can be updated anytime. It’s not bound to the 9-5 workday. So save it for a less valuable time of the day.

Mistake #2: Leaving the Schedule Open

Each night before you leave the office, figure out the best plan of action for the next day. If you don’t have a plan, you won’t accomplish as much. Make a schedule of when you’ll prospect and contact clients so you don’t spend your best hours figuring out what to do next.

Managers, help your team by setting clear goals for activity and creating a sample salesperson daily schedule. Then your salespeople have a model of how to structure their day to best use their time.

Follow These 3 Steps to Increase Your Sales Productivity

As you look to increase productivity every month, the key is knowing what works. So, after you set activity level goals for each individual and teach them to schedule their day, you need to check on what’s happening. It’s all about the plan, the reality, and looking for ways to improve.

1. Know the Plan

As a manager, I want to know how my salespeople schedule their day. I want to know who they plan to see and how they envision spending their time. For example, they’ll tell me, “These are the 10 people I’ll see today.”

2. Know What Actually Happened

Next, I need to know how the plan unfolds. What really happens? Do they see all 10 people? Maybe they only see 7 of 10 prospects on their list for the day. Now I can follow up.

3. Calculate the Difference and the Cost

What’s the difference between their plan and reality? In this case, they missed three of their planned contacts for the day. So I ask why. The salesperson says, “The expense report took up my time so I could only get to seven people.”

Now I know the expense report is costing us three visits. If we close 30% of our contacts, that expense report costs us $35K in potential earnings. If my salespeople have to do one expense report a month, it costs us $420K per year per salesperson. Sounds like I need to figure out how to eliminate the expense reports for my sales team. And with that amount of potential profit, I can afford to hire someone that handles expense reports for my team.

When you crunch the numbers and see the differentials, you’ll see what’s standing in the way of closing more sales. Don’t let the we’ve always done it this way mentality stand in your way. Instead, take an honest look at the numbers and eliminate the tasks that create unnecessary obstacles.

Time Management Tips for Sales Managers

Managers, with intentionality, you can teach each member of your team how to be a successful salesperson. Don’t leave it up for them to navigate on their own. Here’s how.

1. Figure Out What They Should and Shouldn’t Be Doing

What’s getting in their way of meeting prospects and closing sales? If you can eliminate unnecessary tasks, do it.

2. Find Solutions

Are expense reports getting in their way? Hire someone to handle those. Is CRM reporting taking up too much time? Find a CRM that automates activity reports. There are solutions out there for these time-consuming tasks — you just need to implement them.

3. Check Activity Levels

Work backwards with your numbers. How many average clients will they need to meet their sales goal? To close that many clients, how many people should they quote? In order to get that number of quotes, how many prospects should they see? How many prospects is that per day?

Then, if you can tell a salesperson exactly how many prospects they should see each day, you’ve taken out your guess work. With an automated CRM, you can hold them accountable to maintaining the activity level they need to meet their goals.

Time Management Tips for Salespeople

1. If It’s on Your Calendar, You HAVE to Do It

It’s easy to snooze a task for later. Don’t do it. Make your calendar sacred. If there’s a task on it, it’s not optional. If you get into a cycle of picking and choosing which tasks you’ll do, you’ll always avoid the most difficult (and maybe most lucrative) ones.

2. Focus on the Highest Payoff Activities

When you have the choice, pick the activities with the highest payoff. Sure, updating your data for the week is important, but what’s the payoff? Cold-calling prospects may be more taxing, but it holds the biggest potential return. So, when your list gets long, don’t start with the menial tasks that don’t make much difference. Instead, start with the ones that pay.

If you’re not using your flexible schedule to your advantage, it’s time to start. Choose activities that bring the most reward and delegate the tasks that don’t.

How to Implement A CRM With Your Sales Team

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Productive. In a word, that was my weekend. I cleaned out the car, re-organized the garage, and even fixed a few things around the house. But there was a problem. I never did the one task I needed to get done. Why? I was avoiding it. And, in an unconscious effort to delay getting to it, I kept finding “better things” to do.

Have you ever done this? There was some dreaded task looming over your head, so you worked at any (and every) thing else?

We all avoid things we don’t like. And if your sales team doesn’t like your CRM, it’ll likely fall to the bottom of their to-do list: the task to complete once all other possible tasks are finished.

Sure, sometimes, salespeople deliberately try to hide their lack of activity — so they don’t follow your sales implementation. But more often than not, they’re just avoiding it. We can always come up with something better than the task we don’t want to do, right?

But why is a CRM so dreaded to the salesperson? Because it’s not built for them.

Who’s the CRM Built For?

Most CRM systems are built for the people who buy them, not for the people who use them. When marketing and IT directors purchase CRMs, they look for the benefits of various data aggregations and spreadsheets. They’re not thinking, “How user-friendly is this for a salesperson?”

Instead, they’ll choose the CRM with features they find helpful, set it up, then require the team to use it. The team will do what they’ve always done. They’ll keep writing things down throughout the week, following their individual systems for managing clients and prospects, but now they have an added responsibility to keep the software updated. So they likely need to block off 4-5 hours every Friday to update their data — a job no one really wants to do.

To the marketing director, the CRM is great because it generates fantastic reports. Yet, to the salesperson, a CRM can be difficult to navigate and entering data becomes cumbersome. So what do they do? Mediocre salespeople make up their data to get by. They want the spreadsheet to say they’re doing a good job. Top performers don’t have time for that. They’re out doing their job, not messing with reports. So they constantly tell their managers that they just don’t have time to get to the data entry. Consequently, the sales manager ends up with skewed numbers that don’t accurately reflect activity.

How To Implement A CRM With Your Salespeople

If you want to get accurate data, you have to find a sales implementation strategy that works for everyone — directors, managers, and salespeople alike. So choose a CRM that fits into their workflow — not one that creates more work. An easy-to-use CRM should make their job easier. It should be a tool that enables them to organize their prospects, document their meetings, and keep track of clients so they can boost their sales. It shouldn’t require them to change their schedule or add another item to their to-do list. A CRM should be a tool that will benefit both of you.

Once you choose your solution, find a partner to help you adopt it. The CRM needs to work for your company and your strategies. Then make sure you have the support necessary to train your sales team so that using the CRM is no longer an obstacle.

We all put off things we don’t like. So, if you want your team to use a CRM, choose one they’re equipped to use, not something they want to avoid.

Free Sales Call Report Template Download

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Sales success is simple: know where you are and how you’re doing so you know where you need to go next.  The best way to gain that information is through sales call reports. And if you’re not setting aside time during the day to measure your sales activity in a call report, you’re wasting your time trying to reinvent the wheel.

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Why Do I Need Sales Call Reports?

Activity leads to sales, and one of the best activities your team can do is a sales call. To us, a sales call is a face-to-face visit. The more effective you can make the sales call, the more sales you make. Since these calls are such a vital piece of the sales puzzle, it’s crucial for salespeople and sales managers to track them. Enter sales call reports. As a sales manager, there are two specific benefits you get from these reports.

1. Calculate Needed Activity Levels

First, you use the reports to make sure activity levels represent the result you want.

Work backwards: If I want my sales to be x, how many average clients will it take? To close that many clients, how many people do I need to quote? In order to get that number of quotes, how many prospects do I need to see?

Once you do the math, you’ll know just how many prospects each salesperson needs to see daily.

2. Train New Salespeople on Activity From the Start

New salespeople can learn the value of activity from the beginning. Rather than wasting time teaching the product and the brand in the classroom, train your sales reps in the field. Then they learn how to produce the right activity levels right away.

Too often, managers start with months of training before putting a new salesperson in the field. But what happens when you find out they’re scared to meet people, avoid the phone, or just don’t follow through? You’ve wasted months of investment in this person without anything to show for it.

Instead, what if you start with activity levels? Train your sales reps to reach the needed level of activity from the beginning. Then they’ll only grow stronger as they learn more about your company and product.

Download Our Free Sales Call Report Template

You can download this free sales call report template to help track your daily progress and make sure you don’t miss out on closing those leads you spent so much time nurturing.

Out of sight really is out of mind and without a report to track sales calls, it’s far too easy to forget about leads and lose money from lost sales. Having a report directly in front of your eyes forces you to consider those next gentle nudges to push each of your leads towards that final closing sales call.

Download this Sales Call Report template to track your activities in face-to-face meetings. You can even customize it to your needs. Then give it to your salespeople so they can keep track of their activities. When you see their reports, you’ll know if their activity levels are setting them up for success.

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Mastering Your Sales Call Report Entry Habits

This sales report template is great for doing reports manually, but with CallProof you can get the same report with the click of a button. Instead of your salespeople filling out paperwork and returning it to you, they can simply use the CallProof App. With CallProof, they click an icon before they go into a meeting, click another when they leave, speak their notes into their phone, press a final icon, and they’re done. With one click, you can get that report any time, in real time.

The little time needed to invest in your call reports will pay huge dividends but you need to make sure you’re entering your data regularly and accurately.

If you’re struggling to find time to keep up with reporting your sales progress, CallProof has a system that automates the process for you and will deliver reports directly to your e-mail inbox every morning. Sign up for a 14-day free trial (no credit card required!)

4 Ways to Increase Adoption of Your Sales CRM

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The biggest problem with your CRM is that salespeople aren’t using it. And without salespeople on board, a CRM isn’t much help.

If you’re ready to get the most from your CRM, here’s how to get your team on board.

1. Input Data in the System

Without data, a CRM is useless. So, at CallProof, we launch our CRM with data already entered.

We start by interviewing the management. We ask, “If I started working with you today, how many prospects should I have in my database?” If a sales rep doesn’t have prospects, that’s their number one excuse for not using a CRM and for their consequent low activity. We want to eliminate all the objections to using the system. So, once we know how many prospects a salesperson needs when they start, we enter data for them.

We first collect their current prospects’ and clients’ information and enter it into the system. Then we find more prospects from a variety of lead sources. This way, your salespeople start off with a full database of their current contacts, plus new prospects they can reach with the push of a button.

Data is key. That’s why we load the initial data for you.

2. Establish Norms

Once you have the data, establish a process for using the CRM. Every sales team has their own sales opportunity file system or “steps of selling” process. So make sure your team understands classifications of clients and selling sequences. Clarify when a new prospect goes into the CRM — when you first get their information or after you’ve made contact?

Then create norms for classification. How should you identify customers? Do you distinguish between a pharmaceutical lead and a doctor lead? Know how you plan to sort clients. Are certain lead sources classified differently — like trade show leads? When you create a way to see where customers come from, you’ll understand which of your resources work best.

A clear process for sorting clients and understanding the onboarding process is critical. So make time for a management meeting that includes key salespeople to evaluate your process before you train the entire team. First, you have to build the plan. Then you can use the CRM to deploy it.

3. Teach the Process

After you’ve established your methods, we make the CRM work for you. We’ll teach you how it functions best for your company. Via training calls, we show you what the screen looks like when you’re adding a client, what to do when you’re done with a client, how to order notes, and how to sync the emails. We’ll use the app screen and web portal so the team becomes familiar with each CallProof interface.

4. Provide Ongoing Training and Support

We also record each training call so future salespeople have access to the same information. When new sales reps join your team, you’ll be able to onboard them right away with access to the pre-recorded training. We even use a company called Thinkific to host our content and provide a quiz at the end of each video. Why? Quizzes help people focus on the training material. Without them, they aren’t as engaged. So we help you hold your team accountable.

With intentional data and training, we make adopting CallProof an easy transition for your business. CRMs don’t have to be a struggle for your sales team. When a CRM really works for you, adopting it is easy.

5 Ways Salespeople Ruin a First Impression

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A good first impression is timeless. And in a highly competitive industry, it’s invaluable.

In just the first 7 seconds of interaction, people start to form their opinion of you. They evaluate your status, authority, approachability, competence, confidence, and likeability faster than you can make a proper introduction. From a study that proves a connection between personality and appearance, we learn that even something as superficial as the way you look says a lot about who you are.

So, if you want to improve the way you interact with clients (and become a more likeable person altogether), look out for these 5 ways you might be undermining your first impression.

Mistake #1: Treating Others Poorly

Every contact you make holds opportunity — whether it’s for a sale or for a referral. Too often, salespeople become dismissive if they realize they aren’t speaking to a decision maker or the product isn’t a good fit. But never underestimate the power of a referral.

If you discover you’re not talking to a good prospect, your next question should be, “Who else in your circle would be a good fit?” If you’ve made a good impression, even a “no” can lead to a great opportunity. So stay respectful, even when there’s not a sale.

Mistake #2: Not Dressing the Part

Face it, looks matter. One of the easiest ways to improve your first impression is to dress well. Most of us live behind our computer screens, which makes our clothing choice less significant in daily life. But when you’re meeting new people, you should spend the extra energy on your appearance.

I’ve actually sat down with salespeople simply because they were well dressed. Why? We associate well-dressed people with respect and attention. So when you dress the part, you’re more likely to get the respect (and listening ear) you’re looking for.

Mistake #3: Discussing Controversial Topics

Political discussions ruin a first impression, especially today. People are so entrenched in one side that you’re likely to find yourself at odds if you even allude to being affiliated with the other party.

Also, keep discussions about how much you drink, who you’re seeing, or how late you party off limits. Those topics only hurt your reputation.

Tempted to make a derogatory comment about the opposite sex? Don’t. Talking about topics, jokes, and lifestyle choices that are deemed controversial quickly ruins a good first impression.

Mistake #4: Not Listening

Ever tempted to walk into a sales meeting and launch into your full sales pitch? If you spend more time talking than listening, that tells clients you’re out of tune with their needs. Clients want to know about you and what you have to offer. They don’t want to hear a 45-minute monologue about the history of your company.

Mistake #5: Poor Email Etiquette

Email gives you the chance to make another great impression. Before you meet, send them an email invite that includes the date, details, and location. To really set yourself apart, create an event that links to their calendar. It tells them you’re organized and won’t let their needs slip through the cracks.

Also, proofread. Use proper grammar and spelling. Most people will write you off if you don’t.

Bonus Tip: Be Punctual!

Don’t hurt your chances of a good first impression by arriving late. When you’re late, you waste people’s time. Efficient people will eliminate your business immediately — they don’t want to waste more time in the future.

Plus, latecomers often have plenty of excuses for their tardiness. Excuses drive people crazy. So plan accordingly, giving yourself plenty of travel time to arrive on time or early.

It’s tough to overcome a bad first impression — so don’t make one. Start on the right foot and leave an impression that makes people want to do business with you.