How to Master Door-to-Door Sales in 2018

How to Master Door-to-Door Sales in 2018 (2)

Door-to-door sales isn’t what it used to be… or is it?

In the past 25 years, technology has changed (to say the least). We have the internet. We communicate via Facebook, LinkedIn, email, and web forms. But before all this, we relied on good ol’ conversation. Back in the day, you didn’t get the best deal out of the phone book, so you needed relationships.

Now that we have more virtual storefronts and fewer brick-and-mortar stores, is door-to-door sales still a viable strategy?

Absolutely! But you’ll need to look at your industry to determine how prevalent its role should be in your marketing approach.

Selling Products Vs. Services

What you sell determines how effective the door-to-door strategy can be for you. Door-to-door marketing has value for everyone — but how much value depends on your industry.

Actual products tend to sell better door-to-door than services. Here’s why. The people you meet when you stop by — the receptionist or the office manager — make decisions about commodities. If you’re selling a commodity, you’ll likely meet the decision-maker if you drop by. They can look at the price you offer compared to what they’re paying and make the choice.

However, if you’re dealing with a principle-led sale, you need to talk to the CFO — who usually isn’t available without an appointment. When you drop by unannounced, you won’t get far with the office manager on these decisions. They just don’t have the authority to make the purchase.

Top Industries for Door-to-Door Sales

Door-to-door sales also works well in places that haven’t changed much with the times. It’s not that they’re resistant to change; it’s that the industry relies on traditional customer relationships. They’re used to face-to-face communication and place great value in it.

Medical Equipment

Purchases in a doctor’s office rely on consistent interaction. Doctors are used to lunch-and-learns. Vendors bring in lunch and teach them about new products, treatments, or pharmaceuticals. Doctors and their staff are used to talking to people in person about potential purchases.

Plus, most doctor’s offices don’t rely on email the same way other industries do. Why? Because spam filters filter out lots of clinical content. There are also liabilities involved in sending medical information electronically. So, if you’re trying to sell medical equipment, they still expect you to show up in person.

Are you a pharmacy rep? Check out “Why Pharmacy Reps Should Use a Sales Tracking App” for more ways to use door-to-door sales in your industry.

Car Dealerships

All business at a car dealership is client-facing. A car salesperson’s schedule is built for interruptions. If you handle auto financing, auto restyling, or another service for dealerships, stop by so you can talk to them in person. They’re used to it, and it works with their daily structure.

Grocery Stores

Grocery stores are another great market for the door-to-door approach. Click here for more info on selling food products to grocery stores (without competing on price).

Practical Tips for Marketing Door-to-Door

Whether you’re in an industry that thrives on door-to-door sales or you just use it occasionally, these five tips will help you make the most of your time.

1. Decide if it’s worth the effort

Think about what you’re selling. Will you see the decision-maker if you drop by? If you’re selling to the receptionist or the office manager, go for it! You’ll see them every time you stop in — that’s a 100% contact rate. But, if you need to speak to the CEO, you’re likely wasting your time.

2. Set a goal for each prospect

Each drop-in should help you reach a goal. This isn’t busy work.

  • Is your goal to get a name? If so, could you get that more quickly online or by phone?
  • Do you need to find out more about the gatekeeper? That may require a visit. Is there someone there you can speak with?

Have a clear objective before you walk in.

3. Work the numbers

How many people do you need to see for door-to-door marketing to be worth your time? Make sure the numbers add up before you make a visit.

4. Capitalize on proximity

How can you see multiple people in the shortest amount of time? Use your location to your advantage. You need a solution that shows you what’s near you so you can maximize your time. If you have an appointment on the West side of town, you need an app like CallProof to sort customers and prospects geographically. Then you can search for who’s nearby and drop by while you’re out.

5. Follow up

No drop-in is worthwhile if you don’t follow up. If you get a business card and enter it into your database, but don’t do anything else with it, you’ve wasted your time. You MUST follow up — and don’t let anything stop you from it. You have to close the loop for new contacts. Otherwise, it’s useless.

Door-to-door sales may still be around, but the days of going back to the office to update your CRM form with your notes are gone. With CallProof, you can speak your notes into your app as soon as you leave a business. Then you can click on a follow-up reminder so that you’ll actually do something with that information. This keeps your notes more accurate and your follow-up timely.

Sure, door-to-door sales is old-school, but when you use it well, it still works!

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.

How Much Time Should You Spend Prospecting Sales?

How Much Time Should You Spend Prospecting Sales_

My first sales job was prospecting… exclusively. All day, every day I looked for new clients. Maybe this sounds miserable to some of you, but it gave me an advantage in the long run. Where most people have a lot of different jobs competing for their time, prospecting sales was my only focus. I came away with some great insights that a lot of people never learn.

Even though some people avoid prospecting in sales, it’s vital to sales success. So whether you’re wondering how many (or few) hours you need to spend prospecting sales leads or just need the motivation to re-engage in this part of the process, these tips will get you started.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Sell

If you don’t ask people to buy, they won’t just start calling you out of nowhere. If you’re not out there prospecting leads, you won’t make sales. There has to be an invitation — you have to ask. So designate specific times in your schedule to find new clients and invite them to use your product.

Prospecting Is Sacred

Guard the time you schedule to find new leads. Understand the gravity of prospecting. Prospecting time is sacred. It’s one of those things you HAVE to do if you’re going to get the sales you want. Make it non-negotiable. Tell yourself, “Unless the building is on fire, I’ll be doing prospecting activities.” Make calls, meet people, do whatever you can to meet new potential clients.

How often? Well, that requires a little math.

Work Your Numbers Backwards

How much money do you want to make this year? Use that figure to determine how much time you need to spend prospecting. Work backwards through your numbers, starting with your sales goal, to figure out exactly how much prospecting you’ll need to do.

Ask yourself:

  • How much do I need from sales each year?
  • How many clients (of what size) will that take?
  • How many proposals will it take to convert that many customers?
  • How many quotes to get that number of proposals?
  • How many contacts with decision-makers to make those appointments?
  • How many dials should I make to speak with those decision makers?

Now, just divide that number by days/weeks/months to see exactly how much prospecting you need to do.

Work Your System

Just like you systematically figure out how much time to spend prospecting, you need to have a system for dealing with your leads. Sales is all about working systems. Once you get in touch with a decision-maker, you need to have a process for how you communicate with them after that call.

What Kind of Buyer Is Your Prospect?

Based on your conversation, determine your action steps. What will the sales process be for this specific buyer?

Categorize your prospects into three groups: Activelatent, and not interested.

Make sure you have a sales process for each group. Then you just have to follow the plan you’ve already scheduled.

Active Buyer: These are the people who are ready to buy. You’ll usually follow up with them within 60 days.

Latent Buyer: These are the “tire kickers” of the world. Nurture them until they’re ready to buy. Most of your “interested” prospects fall into this category. Close your call by telling them you’ll call next quarter. Really, call them every 60 days and email them once a month until they become active.

Not Interested: These aren’t likely buyers. Maybe the prospect says, “My brother-in-law handles this. I don’t want to make Sunday dinner weird.” Just call these prospects once a year.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

Exactly How Many Hours You Should Prospect

So how much time should you spend prospecting? Just do the math. Now, you know how many dials you need to make in a month. How many can you make in one hour? If you can make ten calls per hour and you need 100 calls a month, you need to schedule 10 hours to prospect each month.

It’s all about activity. Don’t focus on results at the beginning and compulsively calculate your conversion rate. Work on getting in the habit. Once you have the activity levels, sales will follow.

Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Restoration companies need to be in the right place at the right time. When the flood comes, the fire consumes, or a pipe bursts, your company wants to be on speed dial.

But how do you get your restoration company on their short list? In home restoration, you depend on referrals. Sure, you go through regular advertising channels, but professional referrals make you stand out. To have a testimony to the professionalism and quality of your home restoration company is clutch to a homeowner or business in need.

So how do you create a strong referral program? You build intentional relationships with professionals.

It’s all about keeping in touch. You need a rhythm — a way to reach out to people regularly so you don’t fall into the rut of contacting the same agents repeatedly. Instead, you need to give your attention to as many professional contacts as possible to make sure it’s you they call when it’s time to rehab.

Consistency = Trust

A lead management tool makes this rhythm work. It helps you keep track of information so you see the right people at the right frequency.

How? First, it tells you who’s nearby. If you drive across town for one appointment, you’re not maximizing your time. You may or may not get a return. Instead, when you drive to meet a contact, you need to see 5-10 other people too, whether new prospects or people you already know. Sales lead management software that shows you who’s close makes this easy.

This tool helps you to see your professional contacts regularly. That consistency builds trust — and trust is essential to earn professional referrals. See, insurance agents are recommending you to their customers. This recommendation implies you’re an extension of both the carrier and the agent. If you don’t do a good job, that’s a direct reflection on the insurance agent and company. So, if you want to be the person they refer, you need to give them a reason to believe sending clients to you is an intelligent decision. The right tool keeps you on track — it only takes one slip to ruin that relationship. But, if you’re organized and consistent, you’re building the trust they need to feel comfortable recommending you.

Related: How to Get High-Quality Sales Referrals

Improving Your Compensation Structure

The best software for sales lead management also helps you better compensate your salespeople. See, salespeople in other industries are paid based on their sales productivity. They earn commission by getting dollars through the door. But, in restoration services, salespeople can’t exactly create their sales — they’re not starting fires or busting pipes. So instead of basing commissions on sales alone, they need a structure that incentivizes activity. Why? Activity leads to phone calls that ultimately lead to sales.

We’ve worked with numerous companies to restructure their commissions based on activity levels. Let’s say we start with a 2% commission on sales from one of your referral sources or commercial accounts. Then give your salespeople the opportunity to increase that commission percentage with activity levels. As salespeople hit the target number of appointments, lunches, phone calls, and meetings with professional references, they bump up their commission to the next level.

Related: How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

The goal is to keep your sales team out of research mode and in the field meeting people. It’s the face-to-face meetings that earn money — it’s walking through office doors, having lunch, and playing golf that builds the relationship.

Plus, there’s not much to research — if you need to know where the agents are, just open your CallProof app and it’ll tell you.

The Two Most Ignored Markets in Home Restoration

Most home restoration salespeople know to stay in touch with insurance agents, but there are two vertical markets they miss — and both are clients with lots of toilets.

Sounds like a joke, right? It’s not. If a property has lots of toilets, they’ll have a water problem at some point. So they need to be on your radar. Here are two specific markets this includes:

1. Property Managers of Multi-Family Properties

The more property someone owns, the more likely they are to need restoration services. Properties with multi-family units likely have a lot of toilets and water lines. So stay in contact with them. After you meet with them and initiate the relationship, tell them you’ll call once a quarter to check in. Really, call them every 60 days to make sure they’re doing okay. Then see them (face-to-face) twice a year.

If you cover a specific geographic area and you know an ice storm came through, send them an email, “Hey, I hope you’re okay. Not all of our clients are. Do you need anything?” Whether they need you or not, they’ll know you were alert and ready to help.

2. Businesses With Lots of Toilets

Businesses and other commercial entities are another missed market. Churches, libraries, factories, and school districts are prime contacts for restoration. They have assets they need to protect from fires, floods, and storm damage. Any business you assume has an on-staff maintenance person or any building over 40,000 square feet is a contact you want to have.

Let them know about the risks they have too. In the event of a sewer backup, is their maintenance staff blood-borne pathogen certified? Do they want to handle that? No, they want to outsource to eliminate risk. I guarantee, if the risk manager at their insurance agency found out that someone who isn’t blood-borne pathogen-certified was working on the sewer backup, there’d be issues. They don’t want to do that — it just puts them at risk.

When you meet with asset owners of these businesses, make them aware of the risks they face. Here’s just one (true) story of why letting the pros handle cleanup is best.

During a busy time of year, a restoration company hired a temp to help with janitorial work. The guy they hired had a history of heroin use and intravenous needles. He worked a few hours of a sewer cleanup (wearing full protective gear) before he quit and walked off the job.

Later, he sued them because he tested positive for hepatitis C… and he won. He had 20 years of needle usage in his history, but after working less than a day on a cleanup with blood-borne pathogens won the lawsuit. And they’ll win every time. That’s how dangerous some of these issues are.

The Real Value of Relationship

Having a relationship with your company is helpful to you — but it’s valuable to agents and owners too. Sometimes, they don’t understand that the best deals don’t come out of the phone book. If they start looking for a restoration company during a 2:00 a.m. emergency, they won’t get special treatment. In fact, they’ll likely get a hefty bill and a lot of stress. Help them understand this. A pre-existing relationship with your company protects their assets (and bank accounts) during unexpected crises.

5 Steps to Build a Steady Home Health Marketing Pipeline

5 Steps to Build a Steady Home Health Marketing Pi

If you’re in home health marketing, you’ve got a unique set of challenges. You’re not marketing to people who will buy your service, but to the people you want to recommend it to. You’ve got a guy being discharged from the hospital who needs home health aftercare. Who gives him the referral? The hospital. And how do they decide who to refer? Well, they have two options:

  1. Choose at random from a list of companies
  2. Refer a person they’ve come to know and trust

You can be that person — but it takes intentionality and follow-through. With these five steps, you’ll build a steady pipeline and see your home health sales rise to a new level.

1. Identify Referrals

Who are you contacting regularly? As you’re planning how to market your home health care services, consider the different types of people you’re visiting. There are two types of referral sources: active and prospective.

Active referrals are the people you already know. They’re the companies who already send patients your way. Now, you just need to keep that relationship steady.

Prospective referrals are hospitals or doctors you’d like to win over. It’s time to start making face-to-face visits and building the relationships.

Who are your referrals now? Make a list. Do you need more active referrals or prospectives on your list?

2. Find a Rhythm

Now, think about how often you visit these contacts. Visits shouldn’t be random — they’re planned and intentional.

For your active referrals, set a routine period for seeing them — every 30, 45, or 60 days (depending on what works for you and feels right).

Then schedule time to get to know your prospective referrals. Fact: It takes 5 visits for hospitals and doctors to know who you are and what you do. Sure, they’ll know what you do and why you’re there sooner, but it takes five visits for them to understand that you’re interested in their referrals and willing to earn them by maintaining a relationship.

They have lots of people working to earn their referrals for different products and services — sales equipment, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and home health. But after five visits, it’ll click. Even if it takes you 10 months to see them five times, that’s okay, as long as your consistent.

3. Be Consistent

Make your visits consistent. Consistency builds trust — and hospitals and doctors want to feel comfortable recommending their patients to you. So, if you’re routinely coming by the office, following through on what you say, and generally proving yourself to be organized and reliable, you’re building their confidence in you.

4. Use the Waterfall Approach

Once you know what types of referrals you have and set a schedule for maintaining consistency, simplify your sales funnel. Keep your prospective client visits simple and in the same stage. Let’s say this month I meet five new prospective referral sources. Next month, I’ll visit those same five again (so I’m on the second visit). I keep this going until the fifth month when I “re-classify” them as active referrals. Then I’ll find five new prospectives to put through the five-visits rotation. This way, you’re building a healthy pipeline so your sales don’t drastically move up and down.

5. Use the Right Tools

You can do what’s traditionally been done in sales by generating a list of people to see. Then you can see those same people over and over again hoping it’ll pay off.

Or you could find some sort of mechanism to keep track of how many visits you have with each provider, see who the providers are, and identify new providers.

We like tools. Tools also help us see the true value of each referral. Salespeople sometimes mistakingly place the value in the kind of relationship they have with a provider, not how many people that hospital or practice can actually send them. In doing so, they miscalculate the return.

Maybe they think Joe, the single general practitioner, is their best customer. But he’s only one doctor in the practice. Really, Suzy might be the better customer because she has six people who send referrals. But, without the numbers, a salesperson may misidentify that value. The value of the relationship isn’t in how “cool you are” with that person — it’s what the potential is.

Remember, your current customers are your best prospects. So figure out their value and invest your time accordingly.

Bottom line: Keep in touch with your referrals regularly because your competitors aren’t doing the same. They’re only keeping in touch with the current active referral sources. They’re not seeing new people and they don’t have a rhythm. They’re working off spreadsheets and memory, or some CRM solution that’s data-entry heavy that they only use because it’s a job requirement. They’re not using it as a tool. They’re using it as “a thing I have to do to keep my job.”

CRMs should be built for salespeople to want to use. A CRM is helpful, not time-consuming. In fact, it should take less than two minutes to update and input so you can do it while you work — from anywhere. You shouldn’t have to go back to an office to enter data.

So use a CRM like CallProof that keeps you working your plan and doesn’t let your referrals fall through the cracks.

Related: A Complete Guide to Sales CRM Implementation

While your competitors are taking shots in the dark, you can methodically and consistently work your plan to a better pipeline and better sales.

What Parking My Car Taught Me About Sales Success

What Parking My Car Taught Me About Sales Sucess

A few months ago, I was doing a three-part training for New York Life agents. In these types of training, you get to know each other during multiple sessions as you observe and interact.

Well, apparently one guy had noticed how I parked from the conference room window. So, as I walked into the third session, he asked, “Why do you always back into your parking spot?” Little did he know, he was tapping into a life philosophy.

It all started a few years ago with a Stephen Covey book.

The book was all about being proactive, keeping the end in mind, planning, and being more confident. When someone had asked me what I got out of it, I joked, “I could probably park better.” But it was true! Beginning with the end in mind affects everything — even how we park.

You park your car best when you consider how you need to leave. What’s the easiest way out? What safety concerns do you face? What are you skilled enough to do?

I’ve realized we can also follow this new way of thinking when it comes to our sales success. So, here are three ways to begin with the end in mind, whether you’re parking your car or making a sale.

1. Be Proactive

How do you want to drive away later? Forward or backward? Obviously, forward is easier, so I back into a spot. Most likely, when I leave later, other people will be leaving too. Do we all want to be backing out at the same chaotic time? No. Why not just back in when I’m the only one parking? When I do that, I’m proactive about how I want this situation to end.

2. Plan Ahead

One the main parts of driving is planning to be safe. I know I have horrible blind spots in my truck. So, if I can pull forward rather than back out when the lots are crowded, I’m less likely to hit anyone. Hence, I plan to be safe from the beginning.

3. Be Confident

I’ve been driving this truck for a few years. I’m good at backing the truck into a tight spot, so I lean into that ability with confidence and park accordingly.

From the Parking Lot to the Workplace

Just like I implemented these strategies in parking, CRMs help you naturally implement them at work. You have to be proactive, plan ahead, and be confident to sell. And CRMs like CallProof enable you to gain these skills.

First, they help you be proactive. You’ll always know who’s around you and what’s coming up. Then you can prioritize what you want to do and spend your time wisely.

CRMs that show you location data also help you plan. You’ll know where you’re going each day and will be able to plan what else you can accomplish while you’re there.

Related: Check out Field Sales 101 for more tips on your sales approach.

Then, once it starts working, you’ll gain confidence. You’ll know you’re not missing anything or forgetting anyone because everything is in one place. You’re not lugging around notebooks anymore. Instead, you’ve got a central hub you can access anywhere with everything you’ll need to know.

Applying these principles to parking may have started as a joke, but there’s no denying the relevance. So whether it’s sales or parking, begin with the end in mind.

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.

Anatomy of the Perfect Sales Follow-Up Call

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

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

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

Contact Them… Then Contact Them Again

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

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

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

Ask, “When should I follow up next?”

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

Mail a Handwritten “Thank You” Note

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

Send Your Quote ASAP

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

Follow Up Immediately After Sending the Quote

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

Call Back

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

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

If You Don’t Follow Up

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

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

How to Make a Great Follow-Up Call

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

1. Immediately say your name and your company.

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

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

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

When to Follow Up

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

Active and Latent Buyers

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

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

How a CRM Helps You Follow Up

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

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

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

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

Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price

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Don’t compete on price.

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

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

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

Current Customers = Best Prospects

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

Start With the Right Pitch

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

1. What is the product?

2. Why do I need it?

3. How much will it cost?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showing Your Product’s Value

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

Avoid Prospects Who Only Buy for Price

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

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

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

4 Ways to Increase Adoption of Your Sales CRM

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

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

1. Input Data in the System

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

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

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

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

2. Establish Norms

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

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

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

3. Teach the Process

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

4. Provide Ongoing Training and Support

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

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