How to build a marketing campaign targets list that has sales impact

Does the word campaign evoke images of large armies marching through inhospitable terrain? For months on end for small gain?

A marketing campaign is certainly a sustained effort. The objective being to narrow down the list of prospects to those that may be profitable to chase. It is important to focus on the “right” marketing campaign targets list from the beginning. As the list keeps getting smaller, the  personal attention to the members of the list grows.

How do you know which are the right people to pursue? Continue reading “How to build a marketing campaign targets list that has sales impact”

Are you using Excel to track sales leads? 7 reasons why you should not

7 reasons why using Excel to track sales leads is bad

Please don’t. Using Excel to track sales leads, that is. It’s a terrible idea.

Don’t get us wrong. I am one of those who have been quoted as saying, “In God we trust, rest must be backed up by Excel”. Among all the MS software that we use and we do use quite a few, this software from Microsoft is simply unparalleled in use, power and familiarity.

So, why aren’t we using Excel to track sales leads through the funnel?

Excel is free with your office 365 subscription, Saleswah is not. But, as we will see later, even that is not much of a factor. Here are a few things that Excel or Excel based lead trackers (see this, and this) just do not do.

1. Does not organize data in one place; or even link to data in multiple places.

You have a lead; that has a potential value, timeframe and associated contacts. You either will have an impossibly large and messed up spreadsheet or you will have to constantly refer to your email, PDA etc for information that proved difficult to capture in one place. If you know a excel based lead tracking software that does this well, let me know.

2. No time-stamped data capture

When you are monitoring sales activities, we need to understand things like how long an activity is overdue, when have we committed to do something, when is the next event and things like that. Getting Excel to capture that data is prone to error and requires massive efforts. And, as we will see later, prone to errors, data duplication and almost impossible to report on.

3. Welcome to data duplication.

Most of the stuff you will enter into your spreadsheet will be from information that exists elsewhere. So, you will send a quote elsewhere and copy down the value on your spreadsheet. You will have email addresses on your Outlook, mobile numbers on your phonebook/ cellphone and everytime you need to follow up on a deal, you leave your excel based lead tracker and jump into another software.

That is not how you do it in a CRM, obviously. You send a quote and it keeps the records, so even re-quoting is just a few clicks away. Your contact details are all in one place and you can keep them synced with G-Suite or Office 365. You can sync your calendar as well- and ensure no appointment is missed or no task is unattended.

4. No reporting capability:

Everytime you want a report, be prepared to spend time pivoting and massaging data. And, this is with basic “how much we will close this month?” kind of reports for single product, single market kind of companies. Excel templates for lead tracking just die when it comes to anything even a shade more complex.

5. No link, to anyone else or anything else

You have a team? Okay, then. Good luck with pulling all the data together and forecasting. Ever noticed how everyone has a different way of formatting data, inputting data or even abbreviations? And, even before we get to that, no sharing or collaboration on opportunities. No one knows what the other person in the team is doing. When a team member leaves, the data leaves too!

6. Complete absence of hierarchy in your data

You have a team, a hierarchy- reporting relationships. How do you share data on a need to know basis, strictly by hierarchy with your team members? How do they collaborate, escalate or even re-assign anything?

Such questions do not bother you when you are running your sales operations on Saleswah CRM. All customer data access is by hierarchy and bulletproof security guards it. Can you say the same about Excel?

7. Does Excel send you email or mobile triggers?

It does not; but Saleswah does. Everytime you create a sales lead or assign a task to your executive, he gets an alert on his browser, mobile app and also on email (what is task assignment, Excel will ask 😀 )

Enough said. Say goodbye to excel based lead management systems; get something much more professional and surprisingly, way more easy to use. Get your team on Saleswah.

Oh, and by the way, Excel is used for all spreadsheets- so basically, do not ever try to use any spreadsheet program to track your sales lead.

Bridging the gap between Marketing and Sales

Who is Saleswah CRM for?

Saleswah CRM works for sales teams, small and big – who depend on getting sales leads from new customers to make their target.

If your organization has an ongoing marketing programme for lead generation: you advertise in websites and newspapers, you participate in roadshows (in malls and in group housing societies etc), you participate in trade-fairs: then you should get Saleswah CRM for everyone of your sales team.

If you are relying on marketing to generate the buzz, the excitement and leads, Saleswah CRM puts the focus on bridging the gap between marketing and sales. Capturing leads and managing them through the sales cycle is what Saleswah CRM does best.

What is the cost of missing a lead?

Let’s do the math- a classified ad in TOI Delhi for property costs about Rs 5000/- and those in online portals costs anything between Rs 1200/- to Rs 2500/-. A property dealer in hot markets like the Delhi NCR, Pune, Bangalore etc would easily spend Rs 50,000/- a month advertising. And these are dealers that have 2-3 sales guys and perhaps do 1-4 “sales” transactions and “2-5” “lease” transactions. In order to do this level of work, he has to make sure he gets at least 400 “leads”- folks who call him up and inquire about the properties he has a mandate for and he has advertised.

The trouble about advertising is not that 90% of it is useless spending; we know that. The trouble is, we do not know which 90%!

How do you get the leads anyway?

Do your customers call you/ email you/ sms you? How many walk in through your front door? And, surely, no one, no one these days ever writes in? Do they leave their details on your website?

What is your process of capturing a lead?

Once you get an sms, or a phone call or a email or queries forwarded from the website/ newspaper where you may have placed a classified, the fastest you can note it down and send it to your sales team to follow up, the better your chances of closing business.

What in reality happens is that you note down the call details or the number sent on email and send it to the sales guy in your team. “Most of the time”. And, your sales guys will follow through and make the connect- “most of the time”. And you will remember the leads you passed on to them in the morning by the time evening comes and you can review the day with your team- “some of the time”.

Do you want to guess what happens to the leads that get missed out on? They go to competition “all the time”!

  • Do you know what proportion of your leads get addressed, which ones were followed up and which ones you closed?
  • Do you know where you got most of your enquiries from?
  • Do you know enquiries from which source are normally more productive?

How do you bridge the gap between marketing and sales:

Log and assign all leads, as they come: Saleswah helps you quickly and efficiently log all incoming calls. Note down name, contact details – phone, mobile, email- as much or as little as is available or useful and click a button to send the details to your sales guy on his mobile app. The incoming call logging can be done by anyone with an access to the system; your receptionist, your secretary, you, your marketing team member, the salesman himself..

Update lead status and track through stages, online: The fact that you have done this is remembered by the software; and when your team updates the status of the follow up, you get to see it too; online! The status of the lead, as it goes through stages can be seen by the salesman and his superiors.

Assign and schedule tasks/ activities: You can use Saleswah Basic for scheduling meetings, assigning work to your team – go pick up the cheque, schedule a site visit, draw up the agreement- whatever. And, track the status of the tasks as well.

Bridging the gap between marketing and sales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have products and or services to sell to other companies, big or small; Saleswah Basic will work for you.

Free to try, for fifteen days!

Sales lead tracker: Never let go a sales for want of follow up

We all want leads, but it is important to track them through the sales process

Saleswah keeps the focus relentlessly on sales; the process including keeping track of the sales cycle and progress of the opportunity through it is important. As important as the activities that the sales team performs- send literature, meet and present, demo, collect cheque.

As you grow, it is no longer possible or practical to track all individual leads manually. You need the sales lead tracker capability of Saleswah.

For small businesses, spending money getting noticed by customers and generating “enquiries/ leads”, it is important to ensure that

1. All enquiries immediately land up with the right sales person.

2. The sales person is able to log the stage and size of the opportunity, his chances of converting it into a purchase order and the customer influencers.

3. Furthermore, he should be able to log what the next action should be and schedule a task for himself in the calendar.

His boss knows it too!

Saleswah’s team management ensures that the salesperson’s manager always stays updated about

– the state of the sales funnel and the monthly forecast.

– the individual opportunities: their stage, status and chances and the actions- taken and pending.

How does the sales lead tracker work?

Saleswah is a hosted total sales lifecycle management tool. It allows you and your team to track a sales opportunity from start to finish, through all stages of qualification to close. Leads go through a process of assign, nurture and close after being captured.

Leads are first qualified and the best ones are “converted” to Deals whereas the less promising ones are rejected. The progress of each lead is tracked and any conversion or rejection has a reason and follow up comments.

sales lead tracker helps ensure nothing falls through the cracks

Who would use the sales lead tracker of Saleswah?

Saleswah is useful for all businesses, big or small – with one salesman or one hundred- who want to track the sales leads that they receive and take appropriate action to close them. This can be property dealers, insurance agents, office equipment vendors, trade-show exhibitors, companies running seminars, those who primarily get their leads from vertical portals etc.

Want to know more? Call us.

How to avoid 5 common CRM implementation mistakes

Common CRM implementation mistakes that lower adoption rate

CRM applications have a low adoption rate; and that is a global fact. I will share the common CRM implementation mistakes that dog most; from my days using large CRM applications in a marketing and then in a sales management role.

Frontline sales people hate CRMs- actually, they hate any system which forces them to log, record their activities and pins them to a number. It is also a fact that without the sales team adoption of the CRM, it will fall flat. What can you do, to make it better for your team?

So, here are the 5 CRM implementation mistakes to avoid

1. Sales people do not like adding to their work by recording their activities, meeting notes etc. To elaborate, they do not like to record that today they called A, B and C; sent quotes to B, E and G; mailed product brochures to F,K,M and given product demos to P,Q,R.

Among all CRM implementation mistakes, this is the most common, yet most overlooked.

They expect their sales numbers to speak for them at the end of the month/ quarter/ year. But, for the manager, who wants to establish a link between activity and result, this is a nightmare.

How are you doing it today? Let’s face it- you need this; one of the reasons you want to select a CRM system. But, will your sales team play ball? By agreeing to painstakingly record each activity of the day?

The mistake you must avoid is expect 100% compliance and adherence to all processes, right from the first day. Prioritize the critical activities. Ease into it.

2. Sales people absolutely hate updating customer contact details. 
Among all CRM implementation mistakes, sometimes this is the biggest hurdle.

See it from the sales guys’ point of view. They have their mobile phone – which stores the contacts’ mobile numbers. And, they probably have the email addresses in the office email system (Outlook??). And, now- you want them to separately feed the CRM system?
Your marketing team can’t do without this information, however. Updated contact details are a must if they want to create leads and deals. How else will they send newsletters? Where else will they send invitations to seminars? And, without proper profile information (not knowing the level- designation/ department, not knowing the past contact history, not knowing their industry segment – how will their message be relevant and elicit a response?

Avoid this by having an easy connect to G-Suite or Office 365. So that information entered once, can be leveraged.

3. Too many problems- let’s solve them all.
This is what the expectation is. From having no software today, the expectation is to leapfrog into a “solve everything” software which will do contact management, marketing management, sales management, order administration including factory linkages and inventory too. Oh, by the way, can you link to my accounting software too. please?
Our advice? Desist. Resist the temptation for a cure-all. Why? Because, the most important part of the software is adoption- and any adoption will go well, if done slowly and at a comfortable pace.

avoid CRM implementation mistakes by doing one step at a time

CRM implementation is never a ready to move in house. Build it brick by brick- the software may be ready- but, your team needs to give it time and let it grow.

Pace your implementation- in fact, even hide everything other than the most critical things from the menu, if possible. You can add them back when your team has “warmed up”; perhaps a month later. Less is truly more, when it comes to enterprise software adoption. Trust us.

4. Flexibility equals ease of use
No, it does not. In fact, we even say, ignorance is bliss! Don’t ever make this CRM implementation mistake
If you do not have a formal CRM system/ software, yet; then it is best that you stay as uncomplicated as possible when you first start.

Where is the highest impact likely to be? It is in the sales area. So, stay with a CRM that does a good job with automating the tasks your sales people do on a daily basis- like mailing literature, sending quotes or sales proposals and scheduling tasks/ activities. Keep it simple; do not, repeat do not ask for customizable workflows and screens and so on.

5. My existing process, my letter head, my way of making a proposal, order ack- I want a custom CRM software that does what I already do

Not all your processes, activities and documents need be logged and used by the CRM software. When in doubt, plump for simplicity and ease of use. The role of the CRM software is to ensure that your salesmen spend time selling rather than sitting in front of it filling up information.

To sum it all,

go for simplicity and ease of use. Ensure that all the essential sales activities are done on the platform itself to save time from being wasted in separately logging them. Make the task of customer profiling simple even minimal. Ensure simplicity and believe it or not, flexibility and customizability is NOT what you really need if you are a first time CRM user.

We are flexible, customizable, configurable but, when you get started with us, we would rather you used as few of the “power features” as possible.

For how Saleswah can help, please check out How Saleswah Works and Why Saleswah.

What other CRM implementation mistakes have you seen?

4 Lead management stages: capture assign nurture convert

Sales lead management stages

Capture to assign to nurture to convert to deal

Understanding how a sales lead goes through all the lead management stages is crucial. Sales Leads – whether from marketing efforts or from Sales efforts, are the life-blood of a sales operation. The success of your business can depend on the number of leads you are able to convert. Your aim is not only to generate a bunch of leads but to ensure that they are assigned to an appropriate person for follow up and track conversion metrics.

Leads have a very limited life-span. Customer may not be looking at you alone but at other vendors as well. So, getting back promptly is important.

Typical lead management stages are

  1. Capture the lead
  2. Assign the lead
  3. Nurture the lead
  4. Convert (or reject) to a deal: wheare-upon further follow up might help win the deal.

We are today going to discuss the first two stages of leads management – the marketing lead and the sales lead.

Marketing lead management

Marketing leads are most often nothing more than a name and a contact number- phone or email.

More information is welcome, of course. But typically, we get nothing more than the bare minimum.

Capture: Where do you get leads from? Inbound calls, existing customers giving repeat business, website forms, email, seminars, referrals.

The main idea is to get a number and start calling them to qualify their interest. So, after the leads are “captured” in the CRM, it is imperative to get it to the right sales/ telesales person as quickly as possible.

Leads can be added to Saleswah one by one.They can be also uploaded from a spreadsheet.

lead management stages

 

See the diagram above for the lead management stages. It is obvious that at each stage we need to stop leakage and maximize the movement to the next stage. Having sound CRM processes can help you maximise capture, immediate assignment of all leads to the right sales person and putting in place a lead tracking and conversion process.
Yes, you can’t convert 100% of the leads. There will be a steep fall from “Nurture” stage to “Converted” stage. But, there is really no reason to accept “leakage” at any stage of the funnel before this.

Sales lead management in Saleswah CRM

Assignment: While adding/ uploading a new lead, Saleswah checks for a match with an existing contact, based on email address and if found, it attaches the lead to the Contact record. Now, this contact may already exist in the CRM but under a different Sales Exec. So, tough luck! The assignment will happen to the person who already has the Contact ownership (and thus Account ownership).

This could be tough for the guy entering the lead but good for the company for whom the executive works.

Nurture: After the lead is entered and assigned, the responsible user can then reject it (after recording a reason), re-assign it to someone else or work on it. She will then go through the lead follow up process, provide information and clarifications to ensure the prospect is interested.

Convert: If she finds it valuable and worthy of further follow up, she “Converts” the lead to a Deal. By default all Deals start off as a Sales Lead– the earliest stage in the funnel.

At this very early stage of the funnel, the accent is very much on trying to “qualify” the lead – find the genuineness of the interest, see if there is budget, start identifying the decision makers and the purchase process.

What are your lead management stages? At what stage do you have the maximum challenge? Take a trial run of Saleswah and check it out to solve your lead management challenges.