When entering notes and history into CRM systems, I am an advocate of what I call the “bus” theory. If the salesperson working the account was hit by a bus on the way to work the next person to work the account should have all of the information necessary to close the deal.
Information that I feel is crucial is:
- Does the contact have budget approval?
- Who are the other stakeholders in the process?
- Is the sale tied to a project if so what is the go live date?
- What do the company financials look like?
- What competitors are in the bidding process?
- What are the next steps – a meeting or scheduled call?
- What are the prospect’s concerns and objections?
Other helpful information could be:
- The gatekeeper’s name.
- Facts that were discovered during bonding and rapport – hobbies or interests.
- Links to the prospect’s LinkedIN profile or Twitter account.
What I often find in CRM systems is information that is not only unhelpful but disruptive. Personal attacks of the prospect are not only damaging to the sales process but also your reputation. Entering comments akin to “the prospect is a jerk”, “this guy is a moron” or even worse entering swear words into your CRM is counterproductive.
When entering notes, you should imagine you are talking to your boss or coworkers. In essence, this is what you are doing. If you feel the prospect is a jerk, explain how the prospect is making the sales process difficult. This will not only help you better understand what is making the sales process so challenging but could also help the next person working the account.
When entering the counterproductive information you give your coworkers and superiors the perception you are inarticulate and frustrated in your position. You also give the appearance that you do not understand the customer’s obstacles and objections. The next time you are entering notes in the CRM system imagine the CEO of your company asked you for an update on the account. Ultimately, this is what you could be doing; the CEO might be the next person to look at that CRM record.
Any sales professional will tell you researching target companies can be painful. It is beyond important to have significant research on your prospects; the downside is research time takes away from valuable selling time. SalesQuest’s new product Mid-Market Manager or M3 is the type of tool that will give sales professionals a lot of that valuable time back. M3 is a very intuitive prospecting tool that takes the user beyond the traditional prospecting directories. M3 was able to give me a clear snapshot of the companies I was prospecting in a concise and intelligent manner.
Most company information in the Jigsaw-like sales tools is basic. These tools provide company name, address, URL, a stock ticker and a list of names to sort through. Now comes the painful part – digging through page after page on Google to match up this basic information with useable data. M3 is a time saver, delivering the user current revenue information and up to date org charts. Some links will pull up any current news and information on the companies or executives of interest. Having all of this information in one interface will help any sales professional create informed and coherent account plans quickly and easily.
If you don’t know how to draw up a plan of attack for a major account SalesQuest has that covered also. SalesQuest is an industry leader of strategic company information for sales professionals. Their website has great whitepapers that show you not only how SalesQuest assembles this company data, but how to use it to start building plans of attacks for yourself.
M3 is also a valuable tool for executive search and sales recruiters. A recruiter can quickly take a look an org chart to see major players in a company of interest. Sales and executive recruiters can pull up financials along with a list of candidates, matching business performance against an executive’s tenure.
The possibilities with this tool are endless; at first blush, it looks like M3 is going to make prospecting a breeze. It is also nice to have good company research at my fingertips during that first call.