How to Double Your CRM Adoption Rate

Double your CRM adoption rate

“You’ll lose your job if you don’t use the CRM.”

That should work, right? Surely your salespeople will get on board if their jobs depend on it.

Not exactly.

Even when people’s jobs are on the line, only 40-60% of sales reps are using their CRM — leaving your company with inaccurate data, stunted growth, and extra work.

And if you only have half the data, you have nothing.

How Data Drives Growth

When you’re trying to grow your business, you need the facts. If you’re missing 40-60% of the data, you can’t accurately make projections and plan for growth.

A wise sales manager bases their projections, goals, and strategies on the data. You need to know how many cold calls it takes to book an appointment and how many appointments it takes to a close a deal. Those numbers drive your expectations for your team and indicate if salespeople will hit their marks. If half the data is missing, those forecasts aren’t just slightly off — they miss the mark completely.

Sure, you may grow a little, but that’s either dumb luck or growing existing accounts. If you really want to boost your business, you need to be able to control your growth — and the only way to do that is to know what variables are present and what methods move new prospects down the pipeline.

Why Most CRMs Don’t Work

Salespeople hate using CRMs. They often have a system they’ve used for years and they don’t want to add hours to their workweek punching in data.

But you need the data so you buy a CRM that has all the output features you need and hope your team will get onboard. Here’s how it usually plays out.

You buy a new CRM. You set it up, roll it out to your team, and train them on the software. Then they just do what they’ve always done — write everything down. The only difference is now they have an added responsibility to keep up the software (that they didn’t pick) for five hours a week.

Most salespeople weren’t hired because they’re awesome at data entry. You hired them to be out in the field meeting prospects, pitching the product, and closing deals. These CRMs then become a weight they’re dragging along as they try to keep up their regular workflow. They take a few steps forward, then lose time backtracking as they catch the CRM up to speed.

Plus, delayed data is garbage. It’s not intentionally wrong — it’s just susceptible to human error. When you put a week’s worth of info in the system on Friday, details fall through the cracks. The data doesn’t accurately reflect what really happened.

Not only is your team resistant to using the CRM — but when they do use it, the data is inaccurate.

What’s the solution? You need usable software that reports real data in real time.

2 CRM Essentials for Every Sales Team

If you want reliable data from a CRM that your salespeople will actually use, you need a solution with two qualifications:

1. The software must match the workflow.

Salespeople need a CRM that works in the field. If they’re out meeting clients all day, they need a way to update their data from their mobile device, not their desktop. And it needs to be quick — automatic if possible.

2. You need a CRM partner — not a vendor.

If you want your CRM to work, you need more than a vendor — you need a partner to walk you through the entire process of CRM adoption. They spend their days setting up CRMs and bring their experience to you.

When you set up a CRM on your own, you miss some key factors — not because you’re dumb, but because you lack experience setting up CRMs.

Setting up a CRM is like doing repairs. If I need to change the drain in my dishwasher, it’ll take me all day and I’ll probably mess up a few times. But, if I call in the pro, they’ll finish in an hour. Why? They have experience. It’s not that I’m not capable of turning off the power, using a screwdriver, and watching YouTube — it’s just the first and only time I’m going to do this, so I won’t do it as well as a pro.

Related: A Complete Guide to Sales CRM Implementation

A CRM partner is the pro that sets you up for a great start. They sell the idea of using the CRM to your team. They know how to present it so the sales reps see the value in using the CRM rather than viewing it as another box on the checklist. It’s not just about training — it’s about training from a perspective that works.

When It Comes to CRMs, Simple Is Better

CallProof breaks the cycle of ineffective CRMs. We partner with you and we provide a solution that’s easy to adopt. If you’ve been around sales a while, you’ve seen CRMs cycle through your company. You’ve tried CRM after CRM — each adding about 3-5 hours per week of extra work. People don’t adopt it, the data isn’t accurate, so management tries another one hoping it’ll be better. It won’t be.

Interested in other tools that make your job easier? Check out 11 Essentials to Have With You in the Field.

Companies that use CallProof have an 80-90% CRM adoption rate because it’s different from the CRMs you’ve used before. It doesn’t need those extra 3-5 hours a week to gather accurate data. It’s simple. It integrates with your existing calendar, email, calls and messages and keeps track of the relevant info. It doesn’t change what you do — it works alongside you. When you use a CRM like this, you won’t have to threaten people’s jobs for not using it. Using this tool makes sense.

How to Minimize Turnover on Your Sales Staff

Turnover in sales is high — to say the least. With an annual sales turnover rate of 27%, it’s actually double the rate of the overall labor force.

Not only are the rates unfortunate, but they’re also costly. The time and money you spend on sales training are lost. Your investment doesn’t bring the return you needed. It’s back to square one every time a salesperson leaves.

Why do salespeople leave so frequently? Mainly because they don’t hit their goals. Instead of individually fixing the problem, managers usually try to treat everyone the same and find a one-size-fits-all solution to sales challenges.

But different people have different challenges.

Most salespeople don’t want to do a bad job — they just don’t know how to do a good job. They don’t know what steps to take to be successful. They need a strategy. And as their manager, it’s your job to help them find it.

Here’s how to get them on track.

1. Be Present

Good managers are aware of what’s going on with their team. They’re keyed-in and alert to how everyone’s doing and what their team needs. They look for ways to specifically equip their salespeople and help them improve.

Good managers do NOT do the salesperson’s job for them. A lot of sales managers were good salespeople who want to be friends with their sales team. But it doesn’t help anyone when this relationship turns into favor-asking and oversights. Instead, be aware of how your team members operate and show them the path to improvement individually. Give them the flexibility to decompress. Empathize with their situation. Then give them the tools they need to turn that stress into a challenge, not a threat.

2. Match Pay to Effort

No one wants to be a part of a get-rich-quick scheme. We’re too smart to think that easy money is all it seems. At the same time, no one wants to be underpaid for what they do. People start looking for other jobs when the pay doesn’t line up. If you pay too much, they don’t feel good about their work. If you pay too little, they start looking for another company who will pay them the real value of their contribution.

The compensation has to be commensurate with their efforts. The best compensation structure is typically one that mirrors the way your business makes money. If your salespeople profit as your business does, everyone is motivated to make the company more successful. If there are certain activities that are valuable to you, then pay them for it. But make sure those efforts help achieve results that benefit everyone.

3. Recruit the Right Employees

As you’re building your team and structuring compensation, you’re also cultivating a positive environment. Keep HR in the loop on how your team works. Make sure they know your core values and the positive culture you’ve established. In the interview process, ask questions that give insight on their values. You need to know if they believe in your core values. If they have the potential to become a core value violator, don’t hire them.

Also, have your salespeople recruit when you’re looking to hire a new team member. If they’re active in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring, you’ll eliminate a lot of red-flag candidates and therefore eliminate a lot of sales turnover.

Each person has a unique approach to sales, but everyone wants a boss who’s in their court. They want someone on their team who’s rooting for their success. If you’re a tuned-in manager who helps each salesperson hone their sales approach, offers fair compensation, and hires based on values and positivity, you’ll build a team that will last.

Increase Sales in Your Organization by Building a Culture of Positivity

culture of positivity

B Positive isn’t just my blood type — it’s also my philosophy.

How do people reach success? Well, the common thread in my past endeavors is happiness. When people are happy and begin to envision success, they become an unstoppable force.

If we want our organizations to be their best, we need to be positive. We need to lead by making good decisions that produce end results that benefit everyone.

How to Build a Positive Culture

Sure, there’s the mentality that if you’re going to make an omelet, you’ll have to crack a few eggs. Yes, there’s stress in any organization. You’ll need to have tough conversations with people as you lead them and hold them accountable.

Yet in a culture of positivity, people realize you’re all on the same team. You’re working towards the same goal. People with a common goal and positive attitude view tough conversations as a challenge, not a threat. Ultimately, they move forward for the good of the organization. (Or they don’t make it in sales and you’ll hire someone who wants to get on board.)

This is how you create that culture… the culture of positivity.

1. Create a Clear Line of Sight

Show your employees the big picture. When we understand the reason for our work and our role in the team’s success, our work becomes easier because it’s purposeful. So explain to your team:

  • What’s the end goal?
  • What happens when the organization is successful?

Then make sure each person knows how they fit into the big picture. How do they help the company reach its goal? Why is their role important?

One of the best ways to do this is to explain what problem you’re solving as a team. Everybody is happier solving problems than they are identifying problems. So focus on how you’re effectively resolving issues and making the workplace better.

2. Set the Tone

As a leader, you need to cast a vision and lead by example. Communicate your focus and then lead from the front. Think of it like pulling spaghetti. When someone makes spaghetti, they have to get in front of the machine and pull the noodles out. They don’t sit in the back and jam it through. They actually guide the dough from the front.

That’s your job as a leader. You guide your employees in attitude, work ethic, and values.

3. Surround Yourself With People who WANT to Be Part of Your Culture

You need people on your team who are willing to be positive. Establish core values and hold people accountable to them — even your customers. Only work with companies that align with those values. If you have any core value violators — customers, employees, vendors — get rid of them immediately. Core value violators are like a virus that can infect your entire organization.

Once you have your goals and culture established, make sure you’re recruiting people who are willing to join that culture. Everybody from the bottom to the top needs to feel as though they have a stake in the outcome and be willing to positively contribute to the team.

What’s So Bad About Negativity?

It isn’t hard to find negative people. We can write negativity off as the norm or even chalk it up to humor. But who really wants to be in the culture negativity creates?

We’ve all been part of a negative culture — even if we didn’t realize it at the time. In these organizations, you’re told what you did wrong… constantly. You’re never told what you did right. Your boss brings their shortcomings and negativity to the table. They’re leading by example. They don’t feel successful, so you don’t feel successful. You feel like you’re barely scraping by as you eat your way through each day, ready for the evening. You’re watching the ship sink without the energy to run any rescue ops.

No one wants to work in a place like this. No one thrives in these cultures. See, most of what goes on in our lives is internal, not external. If we’re not in a positive culture, it affects our internal selves. We’re negative about life, finding faults rather than silver linings.

I just talked to a friend who was promoted this week. The new job is awesome! She’ll be doing what she wanted to do and earning more money… but not as much as she expected. Now, she doesn’t know if she should take the promotion. She’s been in a toxic culture for a while and that negativity is skewing her perspective.

I told her, “Life is going to be better! The only negative is that the money isn’t exactly what you wanted — but you’ll enjoy what you do. You spend about 70% of your awake time at work — the money isn’t as important as actually enjoying your work!” That’s the big picture. But because she’s been in a negative culture, she couldn’t see it.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest when we’re in the trees. And even the best of us can lose perspective when we’re surrounded by negativity.

Start With You

A positive culture starts at the top and works its way down. Effective leaders create the vision. Then they take their vision from “me” to “we.” They cast that vision for the entire team and get everyone working in the same direction.

Leaders impact and administrators preside. Be the leader. Leaders make changes and grow their people. They make a difference. Administrators just make sure there’s governance on what everyone’s supposed to be doing. Leaders make it happen. They’re leading the pack to accomplish goals that benefit everyone.

Great leaders, positive leaders, do what it takes to make the entire team successful and create a culture that keeps that success going.

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.

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.

The 3 Critical Roles of a Perfectly Structured Sales Team

The 3 Critical Roles of a Perfectly Structured Sal

In a perfect world, sales departments hire three different types of people — then they let them play to their strengths. There are different types of sales jobs for different types of people. As a manager, you need to use that to your advantage.

There are hunters, farmers, and account managers. And typically, a person good at making phone calls isn’t good at closing… and vice versa. Usually, these three different roles require three different personality types. If you want to get the most from your sales team, you need to make sure you have all the needed personalities covered.

Different Jobs Need Different People

People need sales roles that fit their personalities — which I learned the hard way in my years running call centers. A person great at sales typically isn’t great at prospecting because they don’t like to be told no.

There’s a high turnover for telemarketers too. It’s grueling low-wage work that pushes most people outside their comfort zone since they’re cold-calling strangers all day. The average telemarketer only stays six weeks.

Most companies accommodate for this by giving their marketers a script. Then they deliver a live version of a pre-recorded message. But we were in a different situation. We sold high-ticket items to executives. We couldn’t expect good results from our employees just reading scripts. So we focused on finding the right types of people and creating a sales team structure that worked for everyone. Consequently, most of our telemarketers worked for us for years (not months), and our sales were top notch.

Here’s how we did it.

1. We figured out WHO to hire.

We gave all applicants a version of a personality test to see if they’d fit with the demands of the job.

2. We optimized the work environment.

For cold-calling, more breaks are better. So we gave all workers a ten-minute break every hour. Now, they didn’t need to have conversations about who’s going to the bathroom at what time. They just had to stay with the calls for 50 minutes of every hour.

3. We stopped work at 2:00 p.m. on Fridays.

In business-to-business sales, not much happens on Friday afternoons. So we gave our employees the afternoon off each week. They got a long weekend. Plus, they had a few business hours left to schedule doctors appointments or run to the bank so they didn’t have to take time off during the week.

4. We sold them on their work.

We all want to feel satisfied — like what we’re doing matters. So we helped our telemarketers believe in what they sold. They didn’t need to understand all the details, but they needed to believe in our product’s ability to provide solutions.

In call centers, we were looking for people that could go out and find new prospective buyers. These had to be people that could bounce back from rejection and move on to the next prospect. But this is only one step of the buying process. To take someone from prospect to client to satisfied customer, you actually need three types of people to work three different stages of the sales process.

3 Essential Sales Roles of the Perfect Sales Team

The sales process is broken into three stages: prospecting, closing, and managing accounts. Rather than make each salesperson responsible for different clients as they walk through each stage, designate the roles of hunters, farmers, and account managers.

1. Hunters

These are the salespeople who find new leads and generate more business. They hunt for the next big sale. They’re responsible for keeping active opportunities in the pipeline.

2. Farmers

These are your cultivators. They take the leads from the hunters and cultivate the relationship. They’re great closers — they know how to move people from interested to sold.

3. Account Managers

These salespeople keep your current customers happy. They maintain the relationship and boost sales by meeting the needs of the clients you already have. They treat each customer like your best prospect — because they are.

Rather than force your salespeople to play all these parts, give each salesperson one role to master. Use their giftedness to determine where they fit best — then let them focus on clients for that particular stage of the sales process before passing them to the next person.

When sales teams manage their accounts singularly, they have lots of ups and downs in sales. They’re reactive to their pipeline. They have an on-quarter, then an off-quarter. Why? They make a lot of calls, get a lot of appointments, and go to these appointments. But while they’re following up with their leads, they stop making the calls to keep their pipeline filled. When the smoke clears, they have to start all over again.

So, if it’s possible, have different people in each role. People will work where they thrive to boost the sales of the entire team.

For more on hiring, check out this post: Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Sales Team

What If You Only Have One Salesperson?

Maybe you’re not to the point where you have three salespeople that can meet these three different roles. That’s okay. Knowing these three roles can still improve your approach to sales. Here’s how to make it work:

1. Spend time in each role.

Realize that there are three stages of the process — and each stage needs attention.

2. Focus on getting activity.

Keep making those cold calls. Keep making those appointments. If you keep up the activities that generate sales, sales will eventually follow.

3. Establish processes.

How do you follow through on leads and clients to keep everyone on board? Create timelines and scripts for follow-up so you don’t neglect any particular area.

4. Minimize data entry.

You didn’t hire your salespeople so they could do reporting. You hired them for sales relationships — so that’s where they need to spend their time. Yes, you need to know their activity levels. And typical CRMs require about 3-5 hours a week of data entry. If you could cut that down to 1-2 hours, what would that mean to your company? Rather than plugging in records, your salesperson gets to keep generating leads and managing clients.

Now, if you have 20 salespeople, how much more does less data entry impact your company? If every salesperson saves just one hour per week, you now have 20 extra hours of sales-focused time. That’s 20 more appointments or 200 more cold calls… and that means more clients!

When you trim back the activities that don’t lead to sales, you can maximize the activities that get results.

Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone: A Lesson In Sales Cold Call Training

Sales_Cold_Call_Training

The busier the prospect, the better the prospect they are. I’ve spent most of my career owning business-to-business call centers and teaching people the tricks of the cold-calling trade. And we find this to be true across the board.

If you’re finding the right prospects, they won’t have much time to talk to you. It’s not that they hate cold calls — they just don’t have time to waste. So you need to be brief, be brilliant, and then be gone.

Know Your Purpose Before You Call

Before you call, identify your short-term goal. What’s your call to action? How can you get them to take the next step? Usually, the goal is to get a follow-up call or schedule a meeting. Whatever it is, make it easy.

Unless you’re just lucky, you won’t get a demo or make a sale on the first call. So, aim for a simple next step. This is the 3-part process I use to train salespeople for cold calls with busy prospects. Use it to give the client the information they need, get their attention, and then get out of their way.

A Simple 3-Step Process for Successful Cold Calls

1. Be Brief

People only care about what it is, why they need it, and how much it costs. That’s all they want to know, so don’t waste their time with extra info at this point. Tell them what you do, why it matters, and then schedule the next meeting.

Your call may sound like this:

“Hey, I have a way for outside salespeople to never have to do reports again. You won’t be chasing down leads and you will never have to wonder what happened to a dropped prospect.

We did this for a company with 1,000 sales reps. Now, none of their 70 sales managers have had to call their team for a report since. Plus, now they can figure out if new salespeople are going to work out within days instead of weeks.

Love to talk to you about it Thursday at 10. What does your calendar look like?”

2. Be Brilliant

You’ve also got to get their attention. How is your product relevant and personalized to their needs? We know that sales managers have trouble getting their team to submit reports. We know that people lose prospects and never know what happened to the deal. That’s what we help fix — so we use it as a hook.

Look at the difference. A traditional cold call might sound like this:

“Hi, my name is Clayton Geiser. I’m with CallProof, and we’re a company that helps salespeople implement a new type of CRM. If I could show you how this works, it’d change the way you do business. Our CRM capitalizes on the use of mobile devices to track and contact your clients. May I speak with the person responsible for making decisions regarding your CRM software?”

A brief and brilliant cold call might sound like this:

“Hey, I’m Clayton Geiser with CallProof. You can look us up – it’s worth a Google. We have a way to make sure that your salespeople turn in reports on time so you can do your job and build a business. Love to talk to you about that. I know I just called you, but what does your calendar look like next Thursday?”

See the difference? You’d hang up on the first guy, but you’d take a call like the second. Why? It’s novel and relevant — in other words, brilliant!

3. Be Gone

Once the prospect agrees, say, “Great! I’ll shoot you an email to confirm the time, and I’ll talk to you on Thursday. If you have a pen handy, I’m going to give you my number just so you have it.” Even if they don’t write it down, it makes the interaction more tangible.

Then get off the phone. Remember, these people are busy, so they don’t want to deal with someone who wastes their time. By ending the call this way, they know it’s over. Plus, they assume you’ll respect their time in the future.

Related: Cold-Calling Anxiety? These 6 Tips Will Help You Overcome Your Fear

People have been telling me that cold calling is dead since the 90’s. Sure, it’s been overused in the past, but it’s still a tool that has to be in your arsenal. Good cold calling works, plain and simple. You just need to implement these three powerful steps.

A Complete Guide to Sales CRM Implementation

 

sales_crm_implementation_guide

You have a problem. And you need help. No, not as a person — with your CRM.

Here’s what you don’t want to do — try to set up your own CRM. It’s the first time you’re working with the system and it’s the only time you’ll ever need to do it. Instead, use a company that offers a CRM implementation plan. You want an expert in the CRM implementation process to do it for you and then provide the support you need as you learn the program.

Setting up a CRM is like tying your shoes. The first time you try, it takes a long time and you don’t do it right. But someone who’s been tying shoes for a while can do it quickly with a dang good knot!

So step one: find a CRM solution that supports you through the implementation process. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration, and end up with a better result.

Essential Features of Your CRM

Beyond choosing a company that sets up your system, you need four essential features in your new CRM.

1. Easy Input

Prioritizing the features of your CRM is counter-intuitive. Rather than starting with the types of reports you want to generate, visualize how the data will regularly get in the system. How will salespeople enter the data? Once you have reliable data, you can have whatever report you want — no matter the program. Everyone has cool reporting tools and a good-looking dashboard. What they don’t have is usability and ease of use. And ease of use directly relates to adoptability. It doesn’t matter what reports you can generate if you don’t have the data for it.

So when you’re choosing a CRM, think about the daily life of the people who drive the data. How will they enter the information? If they can update info easily, you’ll be able to do anything you want with the data. However, if you think about what report you want first, you’ll have an awesome report with either no data or bad data. Great reporting is easy. Getting data is hard.

2. Sales Monitoring

When you’re managing salespeople, you need a way to monitor their activities that lead to sales (i.e. phone calls, appointments, drop-ins). Choose a CRM that lets you see these activities easily so you don’t have to dig for them.

When you can monitor these activities, you’ll be able to change your management process for the better. Rather than counseling salespeople through what they think they’re doing right or wrong, you’ll have the data to say, “This is how many activities you need to get the types of results you want.” Then monitor what they’re doing. How many phone calls do they make? How often do they have meetings? If their activity levels are there, the sales will be too.

3. Auto-Updating

You want a record of all the emails and phone calls between your clients and salespeople, right? But if it takes longer to manually update your CRM than it did to complete the task, you’re using the wrong CRM. You need a solution that integrates with your system to automatically update the CRM.

Without auto-updates, you lose record of those customer interactions. Let’s say the CRM integrates with email. Then, when you send an email to a client, the CRM automatically updates with that data. With manual input, it takes too long to enter it. People won’t send a quick email, log into the software, and update the file. So mundane tasks need to update automatically.

4. Works With Current Apps

No need to fix things that aren’t broken. If you’re happy with your calendar, you want to keep it. If you’re comfortable with your email, you want to keep using it. So find a CRM that integrates with what you’re already doing. There’s no need for the CRM to change the way you work if you’re satisfied. It can be overwhelming to learn extra programs. So find a CRM that fits with what you’re currently doing.

Now, if you’re looking for a new calendar or email system, it’s great to have a CRM that gives you an option, but it should be able to function either way.

Getting Buy-In From Company Leaders

A healthy business keeps all customer and prospect information in one spot. An unhealthy company doesn’t. Talk to an unhealthy company and ask about their sales process. They’ll say something like, “Oh, sure, we have outside sales reps and inside sales reps, but they take care of themselves. We don’t have reporting.” It’s great to leave professionals to work their strengths, but as a business leader, it’s not sustainable.

You want to run a business that makes your customers comfortable too. Let’s say you have a sales guy that’s been working for the company for 35 years. He knows everything, everyone loves him, and his sales are through the roof. In fact, he accounts for 30% of your total revenue. But he works his own system. His process isn’t broken, so why fix it? Well, if something happens to him, will you still be in business?

If your customers find out you’re not tracking your sales activities and recording customer data, they’ll start shopping for a new vendor. See, they don’t want to have to shop for a vendor at the last minute when you’re out of business. So they may start checking out their options now.

If your employees find out that you’re not tracking data, they might start looking for a new job too. If the person who represents the 30% of your top line revenue gets hit by a bus and he holds all the information on his phone, who knows if the company is sustainable after that?

No one ever got the best deal on something they needed today. But if they’re able to shop around for a while, they know they’re more likely to find what they’re looking for. And if your customers or employees fear a sudden end to your company because it isn’t healthy, they’ll start shopping now so they’re not left in a bind when those unhealthy practices catch up to you.

Transferring Data to a New CRM

When you’re ready to make the switch and transfer data to your new system, call on the help of your CRM supporter. Let a pro help you make the transition.

Also, go broad with your input. It’s better to get everything in the system at once and clean it up later than to only add the minimal.

So, if you have 1,000 contacts, but you think only 300 are good, don’t clean it up first. Add all 1,000 contacts, then clean it up in your new system. That helps in two ways:

1. It ensures all the data makes it to the new system. You won’t enter it later.

2. If you clean it up in the new system, you’ll learn how to use it.

How Long Does CRM Implementation Take?

With the right software, the CRM implementation process should only take a few days. But if you have the wrong CRM, it’ll take weeks.

You really only need to know a few things to get started with the right CRM:

1. Where to find the history with the customer

2. What steps to take next

3. How to enter the data

Then, when you leave a meeting, you can enter the data. The other details about the CRM will come with time and practice. There’s more to learn that’s helpful, but it’s not mission-critical.

The right CRM shouldn’t be hard to implement. It should come with an expert to guide you through the process, and your team should be able to enter and access their data more easily than they ever have before.

3 Ways to Increase Sales Without Hiring a New Salesperson

increase_sales_productivity

Improving your sales team comes at a cost. But what if you could pay for it in time you’re spending elsewhere rather than the actual price of hiring a new salesperson?

An increase in sales productivity doesn’t have to mean hiring another person — sometimes it just means using the team you have more efficiently.

So what do productive sales teams do? Collectively, they increase their market share. You want your business to gain as much of the market share as possible. The company’s success depends on it. Highly effective sales teams also create “sticky” clients. Once you onboard a customer, they won’t slip away to your competitors. When you’re highly productive, you’re able to do more for your clients than anyone else.

So, if you’re a sales manager looking to make your team more effective, here are three tips that can boost your productivity.

Tip #1: Play to Your Strengths

Here’s a secret: a highly productive sales team comes from highly productive individuals. When each salesperson is working efficiently in their area of strength, the team becomes a more productive force. Then you’re able to do more with less.

It’s important to understand role distinction. Someone who’s great at finding new business may be horrible at following through with account management. So rather than trying to solve the problem by giving each person fewer accounts, separate the roles. Then you may not need more people and you can give each person a more specific job.

The sales job consists of three different roles: hunters, farmers, and account managers. Ideally, people work only in their area of strength. People who are great at connecting with prospects and closing deals are hunters. Farmers then cultivate those relationships and onboard customers. Then another person manages the accounts in the long term. Usually, individuals who do best in each of those phases aren’t the same people. If your company is big enough, you’ll divide those job responsibilities for the best results. Your hunters find new business, farmers bring them home, and account managers keep them around. When people have specific roles, they become experts at their work. They’re more efficient, and customers stick around because their experience is so good.

Related: The Average Salesperson Wastes 2 Hours a Day — Here’s Why

Tip #2: Create Systems, Not Cycles

Systems boost productivity too. Sales managers usually notice the need for a system from fluctuating sales cycles. If sales aren’t consistent, even after you factor in the time of year and the product, a system may be your solution.

Maybe you have a top salesperson with a great month, but then two bad months follow. Once you dig a little deeper, you’ll find those salespeople have created a cycle for themselves. They focus on prospecting one month, appointments the next month, and then on closing deals.

But you want them on a system, not in a cycle.

If prospecting, appointments, and closes can happen at the same time, months won’t rise and fall. Instead, sales will steadily increase. So help them find a routine of scheduling time for each of their tasks. Rather than spending an entire month prospecting, help them designate specific time weekly for working on each task.

Tip #3: Use Sales Productivity Tools

Rather than adding personnel when you need to up your productivity, use tools that maximize effectiveness. An app like CallProof keeps people accountable to the systems you set and makes their job easier with follow-up reminders, a database of prospects, and easy note-taking. It helps each salesperson maintain a system of prospecting and follow up on a pre-scheduled basis so that they can close deals year-round.

The right tools can also help people schedule their time more efficiently. Think of an account manager who only visits current clients. Let’s say they visit a customer on Tuesday. On Thursday, they go back to the same area to see another customer. They’ve just wasted hours. But if the account manager looks at client assets and group visits together to save time, they become significantly more efficient. Then you’re positioned to grow and scale more quickly. And that kind of efficiency becomes much easier with the right tools.

Tools can also help you measure productivity. As a manager, it’s tempting to use closed deals as your only measure of effectiveness. But there’s more to it. Instead, measure activity. Use an app that tracks real-time activity. When you see how many prospects someone meets, how many phone calls they make, and how many meetings they have, you’ll know how productive they are. So focus on the numbers. Activities lead to sales. You can fix the details later if necessary, but the key is getting the numbers up.

The tools you need to improve aren’t far-fetched. They can be right at your fingertips with an app like CallProof. If you have the right people in the right roles, the right tools will skyrocket their success.

 

How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

sales_process_mapping

Most builders live by the rule “Measure twice. Cut once.” Sure, it takes more work on the front end, but it saves time, money, and frustration for the overall project. It wastes less material and gets better final results.

But most builders probably learned this rule the hard way. Early on, they skipped those extra measurements and ended up with something that didn’t line up. Then they had to backtrack until they found the wrongly measured piece. In the end, they learned the extra time measuring is well worth the investment.

Isn’t the same true in sales? Sales measurements aren’t taken in inches and feet — they’re taken through a sales process. If you can check measurements of success continually, you’ll be able to catch problems before they destroy your deals.

Here’s how a measured sales process keeps your sales team on track.

Why Sales Process Mapping Works

Any time you put a process in place, you have something to measure. And in sales, a routine sales process gives your salespeople a launching point for success. Sure, people do different things. Some salespeople approach a process with more creativity. Some clients need a more tailored approach to sales before they buy. But the groundwork of a sales process can be the same for everyone.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

The Basic Sales Process

A consistent sales process keeps your customers on the same track. Perhaps your sales process steps look something like this:

  1. Schedule an initial meeting
  2. Follow up after the meeting regarding any action items you discussed
  3. Give them a quote
  4. Make sure they received the quote
  5. Make contact regularly until they buy (every 30-60 days)

With sales process mapping, not only do beginning salespeople have a foundation for pursuing prospects, but these sales steps also help you troubleshoot three common problems.

Problem 1: Low-Performing Salesperson

If a salesperson isn’t meeting their goals, you have a starting point for identifying the problem. Look at their sales process. Are they scheduling enough initial meetings? Do they respond with quotes promptly? Do they make contact regularly after sending quotes? If they’re missing one of these steps, you’ve likely found the issue they need to work on in order to improve.

Without a process, it’s hard to identify the problems. Why isn’t this salesperson performing? When you have the same sales steps in place for everyone, you can identify low performers and pinpoint the problems.

Problem 2: Disappearing Prospects

A process also keeps your clients on a marketing path. Maybe a deal gets delayed or a prospect seems to disappear for a while. At one point, this prospect seemed interested, but something happened. They managed to fall out of the sales funnel either by choice or because a salesperson didn’t follow through.

But sales process steps help you pick up where they left off. If a prospect already received a quote, you can follow up on that quote rather than starting over when you resume contact.

Problem 3: Inconsistency

A sales process gives your clients consistency. And consistency builds trust. Your clients will come to realize everyone at your business is on the same page. They trust that you’ll be in contact regularly and know the next steps. And when they know they can count on you, they’re more likely to give you their business.

Setting Up the Sales Process

Paint broad strokes as you come up with the right process for your business. You don’t want to box people in. Instead, show them what general activities lead to sales. Then tie those activities to different steps, but leave room for salespeople to tailor their approach to the clients.

Then teach the process from the top down. Use top salespeople to outline the activities that led to their sales. After they have collectively outlined their sales process, they can teach it to others. If everyone follows that outline, each salesperson will be on the same page as they move clients through the funnel.

Make Sure It Works

You’re measuring the activities of your sales team along the way, but now it’s time for one extra measurement. Evaluate the sales process itself. Look at your sales process at least every six months to see what works and what doesn’t. You’ll start to notice trends like when people buy, where people fall off, and where individual salespeople succeed or struggle. Don’t isolate individual sales situations, but look at the whole sample. Then you’ll be able to make better decisions about what actions to take.

Sales is a marathon, not a sprint. It evolves over time. As the market changes, your sales process changes. So evaluate it regularly to make sure it matches up with the results you want.

As a manager, you’ll find a sales process makes it much easier to manage your team, replicate effectiveness, and scale your success.