CRM at Hanover Fair or at Pragati Maidan

Why participate in trade-fairs, if you have no follow up plan?

Have you ever participated in one of the large trade fairs? I mean, actually stand behind the counter? Man the booth?

What’s your takeaway from the fair? More awareness for your brand and/ or products? Hopefully. Some good partnerships signed up? Perhaps. A few large orders? Maybe. But, if you are in a competitive market and new customers are your lifeblood, then quickly having your visitors turned over to your sales people to follow up is important.

In a nutshell, that is what Saleswah Basic  does.

Think about it. Your prospect came to your booth, spent time looking at your exhibits and then,  either filled out a form or dropped his card in the fishbowl. If you wish to make an impact, sell to him when the visit is still fresh in his mind; not a week later, when the sales team gets handed out these “leads”.

How about following up the same day? How about calling his mobile as he is leaving the fair-ground, seeking an appointment to meet?

You sell automotive car seat covers? And you have tens/ hundreds of dealers? What if you could directly send the sales lead to the dealer best placed to serve him? What if, you did it right in front of the customer and told him, “the Monday after, when you go back to Cochin, please land up at this store where I have already made an appointment for you. And, someone will call you to confirm”. And, someone actually does?

Whether your customer is best served in Cochin or Cologne, Begusarai or Budapest, a delay in passing on the lead to your sales team is not going to help anyone.

Except perhaps the competition. Get Saleswah! Try for a month, absolutely free.

Process or activities? American or Indian?

The two approaches to CRM and why the Indian approach works better for small businesses

If you follow the CRM products and solutions out in the marketplace, you will know the “flavour of the season” is “Social”.

All CRMs are now focusing on managing contacts- the interactions, tracking their social media presence and activities and making it easier for engage their contacts on social media.

This is all very well and there are several folks who do this very well; taking contact management to a different plane altogether. You can now “engage” your prospective client like never before; congratulate him on a job-change, perhaps “like” his photos from his family holiday and follow his wisdom on Twitter.

All very well; but come to the point. Cut to the chase, if you will.

My experience of talking to customers over the last many months is telling me that customers (in India, at least) today are not seeing contact management as their big challenge and social media as the answer. They are looking to manage the sales process- from the enquiry (inquiry, if you are American) to close. They are looking at a B2B sales process in terms of “Account Management“- where multiple contacts take a “committee decision, past experience matters and sales follows a path of Awareness to Interest generation to Evaluation to Proposal to Close.

Has B2B sales become possible to be done on FB in US? Is it okay to Tweet a quote?  Ever posted your 20 page sales proposal on your prospect’s “wall”? You tell me.

The amount of time that you need to engage your clients on social media, the amount of compelling content that you need to constantly supply- and make it individually relevant- just providing the tool is not going to work.

How many social media savvy sales guys do you know?

How many customers are on FB with you?

This long, virtually never ending courtship that the “new-age” CRMs promise, will not likely lead to consummation.

The other observation I have, and this is a more generic comment about the CRM softwares: when they do go beyond contact management, they are more into process tracking and milestones. Let me explain why I think an Indian customer is looking for more than that.

B2B Sales, in India and I suspect in many parts of the world, is a formal process.

There is a long sales cycle and your software is probably doing a great job capturing the milestones. But, the customers are looking to send a quote, a formal proposal with terms and conditions, acknowledge the PO when it comes in and point out the deviations. Perhaps even invoice at shipment.

The advantages: The “Indian approach” has one huge advantage over the CRM softwares made in the west. It is that, you do not need to do these activities (quote/ proposal/ literature mailing/ event invitation) outside, using some other software and come back to CRM only to log these activities. So, the CRM gets elevated to a level of “part of work- a tool I use to do my daily customer facing activities”. The disadvantage is of course, that this makes the software itself “heavier-more laden with functionalites”.

The balance: I do think a CRM needs to do more than Contact Management. It also needs to go beyond process milestones logging.

Remember, one of the biggest problems the sales people have against CRM adoption was having to duplicate work done elsewhere. While the new CRM softwares in the market manage the task of profile management very well, managing to keep the contact profiles updated and rich in interaction history, I am not sure if the need of a small business is really served by having a long “courtship period”/ sales cycle. When they want to “pop the question”/ send a proposal or a quote or sales literature, they want to do it from the CRM itself.

I am not a great fan of the very transactional view of the business. But, the end goal of a CRM is business generation. Click here if you want a demo or a guided tour of Saleswah CRM.

Smart new contact addition and a smart uploader too!

Create CRM Contact records: painlessly

We did a major functionality enhancement to Saleswah CRM the past week. It is smart, adds a huge lot to the user experience and ensures we continue building the most complete sales experience among hosted CRMs of its class. We made the process of new contact creation even simpler.

Smart contact addition: (the one stone that killed two birds…)
We wanted to closely follow the process of adding a new contact to your CRM database. You met a prospect, he handed you his business card and now, back in your hotel or in the office, you want to punch in his details.
Our earlier process was: if the person’s company already existed in your database, great. All you did was to punch in the new contact name against the existing “acccount” – what client companies are called in Saleswah CRM. If the “account” did not exist, we went and added a new account record and then added a new contact to it.
Took time and what was worse, was not intuitive. So, we have now made it possible for you to add a new contact, even when the account record does not exist. In one go, in the “Add new contact” screen, with the search for the existing account built in in this page itself.

So, we brought down the time to enter a new contact record complete with creating the new account record to about a minute. And, did we tell you that we have totally done away with separate uploads for account lists and contact lists? Same principle.

Saleswah smart contact uploader takes this Excel sheet – a list of contact records which has information about the account records as well- and uploads them in one go. Saleswah tests if the account record exists- if it did, it would only add contacts to it, if not, it will first create the account record and attach contact records to it.

Okay, so that’s one bird. What about the other bird that this kills?
See the picture below:
Saleswah CRM can now handle B2C customers as well

Now Saleswah makes it possible to sell to small entrepreneurs as well

When you select “New Account”, you are asked to choose between a “Company account” and an “Individual Account”. If you selected an Individual, then Saleswah will insert the name of the individual contact you have entered above in the Account field. If your business requires you to sell to lots of small proprietorships, now you can; using Saleswah. 
The feedback from our existing users have been good. If you want to test out Saleswah, please register for a free account or ask for a demo.