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.

Free Sales Call Report Template Download

sales report template

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.

free sales call report

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.

free sales call report

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!)

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.

The Salesperson’s Guide to Using Texting for Sales Prospecting

salespersons guide to texting prospects

Did you know it took the US about seven years longer than Europe to catch onto texting? It gained momentum in Europe in 2001, and quickly became a popular alternative to calls.

But in the US, text messaging didn’t take off until 2008. With the growing popularity of the smartphone, namely the iPhone, texting skyrocketed.

Today, texting is the #1 used app on the smartphone worldwide. In fact, no one even thinks of it as an “app”. It’s not a bonus — it’s an essential.

But are salespeople taking full advantage of texting? Not even close.

In most sales scenarios, salespeople deal with the buyer’s discomfort. In any good sales process, the salesperson builds rapport, the buyer begins to like them, and they become friends. But maybe the price is too high, or the products don’t seem to fit their needs. Now the buyer feels uneasy because they don’t want to give their “friend” (the salesperson) bad news. For most people, telling someone you like that you don’t want to buy from them creates an uncomfortable conversation. So the prospect often avoids the conflict by avoiding the salesperson altogether.

In this scenario, salespeople end up in a cycle:

1. Build rapport with the customer.

2. Ask pre-qualifying questions.

3. Propose a solution via email or hand-delivered proposal.

4. Silence.

In the end, they’re left without a sale and without a reason why.

How Salespeople Can Use Text Messaging

The text message gives people a more comfortable way to communicate. Building a relationship with your clients via text opens a channel of communication where they can more quickly respond and more easily deliver objections.

The secret? Text from the beginning. Here’s how to build this communication channel from the start.

Begin the text conversation with an appointment reminder. Confirm the appointment and include the address so there’s no question where you’ll be at what time.

After your first meeting, text a follow-up message. Summarize the meeting and reaffirm any promises you made during your conversation.

Start the text relationship before you get into the groove of emailing. If you wait to text until you need a response to a proposal, that’s uncomfortable. They’re not used to you texting — it’s a “stranger” text. But if the relationship exists prior, texting can be your secret weapon.

Related: 3 Ways to Integrate Text Messaging Into Your Customer Service

The purpose of the texting relationship is to better move sales through the sales funnel. You’ve built the rapport, asked the sales questions, developed and proposed a solution, but you haven’t closed the sale. In many scenarios, this is where the sale falls flat. What comes between the proposal and the close? Negotiation.

If the customer isn’t talking to you, it’s likely an issue of product, price, or prior relationship. Texting makes it easier for them to communicate these objections. So ask for feedback via text. Be direct and be brief.

Your message may say, Mr. Jones, it was great meeting with you last week. I sent you the proposal on Friday, and I would love to get some feedback. How can we move forward?

Now you’ve opened the door for him to communicate his objections and to start negotiation if he’s still interested.

Short and sweet texts can be your golden goose for moving sales through the funnel. But they won’t work if you don’t play by the rules.

The Golden Rules of Texting

1. Save Emojis for Friends

Anyone talking to the opposite sex faces a challenge in texting. Save emojis (and selfies) for your friends. Texts can appear more friendly than you mean, so play it safe and steer clear of the pics.

2. Keep It Strictly Business

Don’t veer off topic or add flirtatious comments. If you receive a message that’s inappropriate, it’s best not to respond.

3. Keep It Short and Sweet

As you message your busy prospects, focus on the facts. Don’t use text messages as an opportunity to build rapport. You’re searching for facts, so get to the point. Texts don’t need the introductions you’d include in an email.

4. Be Aware of WHEN You Text

Consider the person you’re texting and their normal business hours. It’s best to message them after they’re up, but before they get into their work day. So for people with typical hours, text between 7 and 9 a.m. For someone with night hours (like a restaurant manager), texting around 3 p.m. may be better.

Regardless, avoid early-morning or late-night texts. Most people don’t turn off their notifications, so respect their time.

5. Avoid Abbreviations

You may know all the trending abbreviations, but your prospect may not. So don’t use them. People shouldn’t have to decipher your message, so avoid abbreviations altogether. Steer clear of even the most common acronyms (such as LOL or TTYL) to keep your message as clear as possible.

6. Add Product Pictures

Depending on your product, a picture may communicate better than words. If you’re selling cars or a hot, new product, send a picture. A glimpse of your product will be much more enticing than any description you’ll write.

7. Respond in a Timely Manner

95% of people read their texts within five minutes of receiving them. The average response time is just 90 seconds. So when you get a text, don’t over-think it. Respond quickly.

Ways to Use Texting With Text Templates

1. Follow-Ups

Whether you’re following up with a new potential client or a prospect that’s been in the funnel a while, text messaging can be a great way to stay on their radar. Use one of these templates to touch base:

First Follow-Up

“Hi John! This is Prat with Absolute Wireless. We talked about looking into Sprint for the best possible deals for your cell phone service. Please let us know your availability, and we will reach out to schedule an appointment to get you saving sooner!”

“Hi John! This is Prat with Absolute Wireless for Sprint. I’d like to work with you like we discussed earlier for the best possible cell phone plan to fit your needs. Please let us know your availability, and we will reach out to schedule an appointment to get you saving, sooner!”

Second Follow-Up

“Hello again! This is Prat with Absolute Wireless for Sprint. I am touching base regarding an appointment to help you switch over to save more. I’d be happy to send you home with a phone accessory without any obligation just for stopping by our store to explore your options. Thanks!”

“Hello again! I am touching base regarding your appointment with Absolute Wireless for Sprint to save you more on your service bill for your cell phone. Could I give you a quick call this week to follow up on your options?”

2. Automate Monthly Follow-Ups

To make following up even easier, use an app (or your phone’s built-in feature) to automate texts. So, if you’re thinking about work late at night or prepping when it’s not appropriate to text, write a batch of texts to send later. You can even schedule your messages months in advance.

Related: Follow-Up Emails: When Should You Stop Pursuing a Prospective Client?

3. Ask for Referrals

Texts offer a great way to ask for an introduction while your phone number is easy to access. LinkedIn messages often go unnoticed. So use the network to find connections, then send a text. When you see a connection between a client and prospect on LinkedIn, ask for the referral via text message. Then they’ll see your number and hopefully forward it to their contact.

“Hi John! I saw that you work with Sarah from Sprint on LinkedIn. Would you be willing to introduce me? I’d love to offer her the same great service we provide for you. Thanks!”

4. Send Happy Birthday Wishes

Use your social networks to find clients’ and prospects’ birthdays. Then send a message on their big day. So you don’t forget, set these up to send automatically. You can even offer an incentive as a birthday gift:

“Happy birthday from Team Absolute Wireless and Sprint! Best wishes on your special day. Respond to this text within 7 days to learn more about birthday incentives for our customers.”

5. Confirming Appointments

Like we mentioned earlier, text messages eliminate the questions of where and when before an appointment. Sending the address and the time assures the customer you’re ready to meet them.

“Hi John! This is Prat with Absolute Wireless and Sprint. It was great speaking with you recently. I am confirming our appointment on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Thanks!”

6. Recapping Meetings

Let the client know you were paying attention during your meeting. This shouldn’t be a long text, but it should summarize your discussion. If you made a promise, affirm it.

“Hi John. I am recapping our meeting from earlier today. Let me know when you have a moment to briefly chat.”

“Hi John! It was great meeting you this afternoon. I’ll talk to my design team this week to see the cost to add this to the proposal. Look forward to working with you.”

7. After Meeting People

Texting can be a great way to connect with someone new. If I meet someone I could do business with (but don’t have a card with me), I can ask for their number and text them right away with my contact info.

But even if we do exchange cards, it’s still a great idea to text after we meet. Business cards are easy to misplace, while messages are easy to find. I may not need a particular service when we meet, but then something happens weeks later. Now I’m in the market for your service. Rather than searching for the business card, I’ll just look through my messages to find your information.

Consider texting as your virtual handshake. You meet someone, shake their hand, exchange contact info, and send them a message like this:

“Hi John! It was great to meet you. Earlier this week, we talked about saving you money on your cell phone service with Absolute Wireless for Sprint. As a service rep, I’m able to work out the best deal for your plan. What time would you like to schedule a quick phone call to follow up and start saving?”

“It was great to meet you recently, John! We talked about looking into cell phone service with Sprint for savings on your monthly bill. As a service rep, I’m able to work out the best deal for you. What time this week can we briefly chat to explore your options?”

8. When They Haven’t Responded to Your Proposal

The most irreplaceable benefit of text messaging in sales is the ease of communication objections. So, when you haven’t heard back about a proposal after you’ve cultivated the relationship and messaged for the seven reasons above, reach out via text. Say something like:

“Hello again. I am checking on the status of the proposal I sent you earlier this week. Please let me know what you think. Thank you!”

Texting shouldn’t only be the most used app with friends, it should also be the most used app in sales. Take full advantage of this essential tool to communicate with your clients as effectively as possible.

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

keeping leads fresh sales tracking app

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

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

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

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

Is Marketing Talking to Sales?

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

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

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

How Quickly Do You Respond to Leads?

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

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

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

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

Is There an 800 Number on Your Contact Form?

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

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

How Sales Tracking Apps Solve Your Problems

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

Provides Location

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

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

Tracks Responses

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

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

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

The next day: call, email, and text.

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

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

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

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

The Value of Having ALL Sales CRM Data in One Place

value of having CRM data in one place

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

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

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

How It Helps

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

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

How It Works

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

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

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

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

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

Why It Works

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

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

The Right CRM

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

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

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

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

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

FreeEbook

How to Calculate the Real Cost of a Sales CRM

calculate cost of CRM

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

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

Time: The Hidden Expense

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

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

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

How to Figure Out Your Total Cost

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

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

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

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

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

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Why Everything You Know About CRM Is 100% Wrong

Everything You Know About CRM Is Wrong

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

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

The Problem

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

What Typically Happens

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

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

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

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

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

The 3-Minute Sales CRM Test

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

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

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

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

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

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Salespeople: Avoid These Costly Social Networking Mistakes

salespeople social networking mistakes

Staying off social media all day is tough. Checking your news feed is a habit that’s hard to kick. But we all know it impairs work productivity, so when we jump online to check in or check up on what’s going on in the social media world, we tell ourselves, “It’s for work.”

Social media potentially helps your sales game – if you use it correctly. But these five mistakes may be getting in your way.

1. Confusing Social Media With Lead Generation

Is your time investment in social media going to pay off? We often tell ourselves there’s a prospect out there we might find through our connections. But nine times out of ten, it’s not worth your time. In fact, the risk of being sucked into other feeds is far greater than the potential reward of finding a prospect.

So here’s the rule of thumb: only browse social media during situations you have no control over (like standing in line). But, if your industry can’t benefit from browsing social media, don’t get on it at all during your workday.

2. Lack of Strategy and Schedule for LinkedIn

LinkedIn provides you the opportunity for seeing who’s changed jobs and if new decision-makers have entered the scene. However, we often use it aimlessly. It’s easy to get lost in the posts of articles, updates, and advancements.

When you get on LinkedIn, set a goal and a time frame for browsing. LinkedIn’s primary benefit for salespeople is showing when a key prospect moves to a new business. So schedule a time to browse your feed to look for new decision-maker opportunities. Then only visit the site once a week to see if those connections have changed.

3. Wasting Time on People Who Have Nothing to Say

To make browsing simple, hide the people that aren’t beneficial to your network. If someone doesn’t add value to your organization, you don’t need to see their posts on your News Feed. Change these settings on both LinkedIn and Facebook.

Also, follow the right people. Some people use Facebook as a channel to whine and complain. Block them. You want to follow the people who contribute in beneficial ways, not those that drain you. It’ll make finding the right posts much easier.

4. Alienating Your Audience

As a salesperson, your income relies on making people happy and getting people to like you. So be careful about what you say. Don’t post about topics that offend your customer base.

Don’t post political opinions. You’re bound to offend someone if you endorse Trump or Hillary. You’re entitled to your opinions, but don’t advertise them at the expense of your sales career.

Don’t brag about your lifestyle. High-end salespeople bring in big bucks. If your client base doesn’t have a similar income, don’t post about your high-dollar purchases. Be aware of how clients perceive posts about vacationing in Tahiti, meeting celebrities, or buying a new car. With these types of posts, you no longer relate to your average-earning client, and they may even grow to resent you.

Don’t complain. People get frustrated with online whiners. In fact, I just told you to block them. So don’t be someone others dread hearing from.

Instead, use Facebook to post pictures that make you a “real” person. Pictures of family time, for example, are something people identify with. Also, stay positive and post content that adds value to your followers.

Use LinkedIn to remind your audience what you sell and what you do. Your posts should always point back to your products and how those benefit your clients. Also remember that on LinkedIn your title is key. Think of it like your email signature and phrase it effectively.

If you want a more personal outlet online – for things like posting pictures from your nights out – use Snapchat or Instagram. Typically, buyers in professional organizations pay more attention to Facebook and LinkedIn.

5. Spending Too Much Time Browsing

The biggest problem with using social media isn’t the research you’re doing; it’s the distractions along the way. Media posts and story hooks are designed to grab your attention and draw you in. But no online story is going to get you a sale.

There’s undeniable benefit to using Facebook and LinkedIn to research your prospects. So schedule a time for it. Otherwise, steer clear from social media during the work day. You’re far better making prospecting calls than browsing meaningless content.

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6 Easy Ways to Get Past the Sales Gatekeeper

getting past the gatekeeper

You’re out building your network, ready to meet people in charge and make sales. You enter the office, walk up to the reception desk, and see someone sitting there engrossed in their US Weekly. As you ask for Dr. Jones, the receptionist flippantly replies, “He’s in a meeting.”

What do you do? You drove across town to get here, and now you can’t even see the person you came to meet!

Getting past the gatekeeper can make (or break) your sales game. And this process isn’t about making the pitch to the person guarding the door. It’s about learning to talk to strangers. Save your sales talk for the actual decision-maker.

As you aim to pitch to the right person, use these six tips to earn the gatekeeper’s trust and navigate your way past the front desk.

1. Take the Temperature

Before you jump into why you came to the office, gauge the gatekeeper’s temperature. You don’t want to walk in and interrupt whatever they’re doing without building rapport.

So make small talk. Look around for items on the desk that lend themselves to discussion. The receptionist is trying to figure out if you’re a friend or foe. You want to convince them you’re a friend.

2. Don’t Hold Literature in Your Hand

Since you’re looking to be a friend, not just another salesperson, avoid giving away that you’re there to sell. If you come in strutting your sales look with presentation materials in hand, they will have no reason to help you.

3. Dress the Part

Consider your audience as you dress for these in-person cold calls. It’s best to mimic the way people dress in the office. Don’t come wearing a suit if that’s not the culture. But don’t be underdressed either (it’s better to be overdressed).

That means you need to do your homework. If you’ve never been to the office before, search Google images for the business and look up their LinkedIn profiles to figure out their standard attire. If you’ve been there before, use the way they dressed as a guide.

Men, your best outfit is usually khaki pants and a golf shirt. You want clothing that breathes while keeping your look professional, especially when you’re traveling to multiple businesses. If you’re wearing a coat and tie getting in and out of your car all day, you’ll end up sweaty and wrinkled. And there’s nothing worse than a well-dressed person sweating on a cold call.

4. Ignore Negative Body Language

A good gatekeeper gives negative body language to scare people away. You have to ignore that. If salespeople left every time they read negative body language, they’d never be successful. Instead, high-performing salespeople ignore negative body language and try to overcome it. Sure, it’s uncomfortable to stay where you’re not wanted, but you have to power through.

You want to give off the right body language too. Don’t walk in looking like you’re about to spew a five-minute monologue. Instead, assume a more casual posture, or even look confused and say something like, “Wow, the parking lot is full today…” The goal is to be personable and non-intimidating.

5. Use the Gatekeeper’s First Name

Name exchange is paramount to building any kind of rapport. So, when you walk in, your first goal is to get their name. Then use their name in a sentence. Look for something on the desk with their name on it, maybe a nameplate or a plaque on the wall.

If you don’t see it, consider asking, “Hey, are you new here? What’s your name?” I usually do a quick age test before asking this question. If the person is older, I assume they’ve been there a while. But if there’s a younger receptionist, I go ahead and ask.

You can even lead into a conversation with something like:

Hey, my name is Robert and I’m here to see Dr. Jones, what did you say your name was? …Great, Susan! How long have you been here, Susan?”

With this approach, you find out their name, show you’re listening when you repeat it, and build rapport.

6. Find Signs of Affiliation

Connect with the gatekeeper in a conversation that could exist outside of the business. If you see a sign of a sports team, networking group, or hometown, use that to start a conversation. Or look up the business on social media before you make your visit. Often, posts are made by someone at the front desk. So see if you can identify a subject for conversation.

Next time you walk into an office on a cold call, act like you know the person in charge.

If the boss is in a meeting, be comfortable with that. Just reply, “No big deal. I need to do a little work on my phone, so I’ll just wait here until they’re done.” The more comfortable you are with yourself and the more personable you are with the receptionist, the more likely you are to meet that decision-maker.

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