Call Reports & Sales People…the Reality!

Today we have a guest post from Russ Hill, Founder and CEO of Ultimate Lead Systems.

OK, let’s get real about sales people for a minute. Sales people want to make sales calls. They want to make calls on qualified leads and on profitable customers who can generate sales and compensation. They are like gunslingers interested in the “quick kill.” You hire them to sell and that’s where you want them to spend their time.

But they are also given business plans and projections to write and update. They also have prospecting and travel to schedule.  And they are frequently required to spend time on software training…you know the CRM program, Excel, quote building software, the ERP system and the other third-party programs and resources that are pushed out to them, so they can be “more productive.”

The days of sales people making sales calls and writing up “simple” call reports (primarily for their own benefit) are long gone. Besides making calls, today’s sales people need to master and manage a variety of tasks and complex software. The need for the fundamental call report stills exists and management would be wise to keep that in mind. That means that one of the most important things management can do to help their sales people be more productive is to reduce the sales person’s administrative and non-sales related tasks.


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6 CRM Best Practices

Today we have a guest post from Russ Hill, Founder and CEO of Ultimate Lead Systems. BestPracticesImage-300x171

With a couple of decades of experience helping companies with their B2B sales lead management and CRM programs, 6 Best Practices have revealed themselves that I would like to share. I’ve witnessed companies succeed and increase sales by diligently applying these practices. I’ve also seen organizations waste thousands of marketing dollars and lose thousands of dollars in sales opportunities by ignoring these practices. If you are serious about improving your sales and marketing ROI, these practices will lead you to some big wins.

1. Get your sales and marketing teams on the same page

First of all, Sales and Marketing need to re-think how they fundamentally interact. They frequently operate in their own “silos.” They need to learn how to support each other to release their inherent synergy to increase sales. Customers are rarely ready to sign a purchase order when reps first call. And reps are usually not present when the purchasing decision is made. Thus, today’s marketing programs need to nurture buyers throughout their buying process and notify the rep when a buyer is ready to engage. Marketers must send the right messages out at the right time that appeal to all of the buying influences. And the sales person must make multiple calls on the right people to further cultivate the relationship. It is a team selling approach. Everyone has a role and responsibility.

Industry research shows that buyers are 60% into their buying process before they engage your company or sales person, so it’s crucial to have sales and marketing working together.


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Are You Talking to Professional Tradesmen?

I’m sure you’ll answer yes, but are you talking with them or at them? We all assume that email or phone calls are the best way to communicate with your customers. I’m surprised when I ask our clients that question that it’s based on their assumptions on how their customers wanted to be contacted.

It’s interesting that we all want to build relationships and engage our customers, but if you think about it, you’re doing it on your terms not necessarily on theirs.

Here’s what I’d suggest. Have your customer service department contact your customer base and ask them how they want to be contacted (most of this can be done on regular inbound calls), for example, regarding new products or new training that’s available. You may be surprised at their answers.

For new products, they may want a one-on-one with their salesman, and for training, they may want to be contacted by email. They should touch most of your customers in a normal period of a month or so, and for those that are reached from inbound calls, start an outbound campaign to those that haven’t purchased for some time. It will give your customer service people a reason to reach out, and who knows, they might even sell something!

I’m assuming you’re working with some sort of CRM system that can be updated, and when new things come up that need to be shared, you have a better chance of getting that message out if you deliver it the preferred way the customer wants.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

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Leverage Your Presence on Social Media Sites

Are you taking advantage of the numerous sites out there that can drive traffic back to you? If your online presence is limited to things like banner ads and blogging, you’re missing out on some great social media marketing opportunities. socialsitesFollowing is a link to 50 sites you may want to visit. Granted, they may not all be applicable, but I’ll bet you’ll find plenty to keep you busy for a while. Take your social media networking to the next level. Enjoy!

Inside CRM, 50 social sites that everybody needs a presence on.

Nicky Jameson, There’s more to social networking than LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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