The Sales Process – Electronic Database for SME’s

December 7, 2010

One of the essentials for a successful sales process is an electronic database. E-data may be managed in-house or outsourced to a Business Development company such as Remote Connections, but ‘e’ it must be! Successful sales databases contain all the business information you can find and learn about your future customers, data should be managed on a regular basis preferably daily but at least weekly depending on your sales activity.

There are many software companies offering good database management programs for creating, building and managing your ‘Prospects to Sales’ process. My particular preference is Sage ACT mainly because I have used it with great success for many years and always found it to be an invaluable tool – given a chance it is the one I recommend to my clients, but I’m not here to sell you database software.

A sales database holds basic customer information such as Name, Company, Title, Phone, Email, Address and so on. In addition it is a tool with the capacity to contain information such as company size, budget and review dates, multi locations etc. as well as e-mail marketing information and sales tracking. It should offer the facility for the co-ordination of sales and marketing activities, it should provide the ability for you to track performance as well as build customer relationships and act on information intelligently.

The 2011 database should be able to link to online networking tools such as Twitter, Linked In and other social networking sites. Customer intelligence is essential in today’s sales environment – company issues, hot buttons, positive and negative industry influences – the sales database needs to store as much business information as you can gather about your customers to be.

The right message and timing are both vital to converting prospects to sales, and storing a history of activities to measure when to send the next message out is essential when marketing your products and services. Measuring targeted communications to and from prospects and customers, and retaining that information is one method of gathering business intelligence for current and future use and is a crucial factor in the current sales process.

When the business intelligence gathering system is established and in use and the sales processes are functioning effectively, an accurate forecasting system can be put in place from the funnel of emerging opportunities.  A data image of real converted sales will show a map of successful campaigns and provide an understanding of why people buy from you, this in turn will show where to target in the future. With a view of ROI the rewards of using data successfully become clear and very exciting.

Sales Process – Top 20 prospects

December 7, 2010

Choosing your target market is one of the first and most important tasks to complete when prospecting. Without a target definition prospecting is both ineffective and time-consuming which in turn makes your ROI unprofitable.

To define your target market you need to create a ‘best fit’ map for your product or service.  Refine your list of prospects so that you can focus your efforts on potentially receptive customers.

Here are some tips for selecting your target list –  add your own to the list as you work through. 

Are there factors that will determine the success of sales:  

  • Is location a factor?
  • A specific type of person or company?
  • Are there any conditions that may affect potential customers?
  • Are there any current market trends that will have an impact?

Evaluate existing customers – understand what made them purchase from you: 

  • Why they are happy with your product or service?
  • What is it about your product/service that stood out when they made a purchasing decision?
  • What advantages did you have over your competitors when they bought from you?
  • Have they bought from you more than once and why?
  • Which of your customers are the most profitable and why – what have they got in common?

 Lapsed customers and failed sales: 

  • Are there any reasons for lapsed customers, what are they?
  • Which customers caused difficulties in the past because your product/service didn’t really fit – are there any factors to watch for in the future?
  • Have you had customers that generated a loss if yes why?
  • Are there factors that mean extra costs therefore less profitable sales?

 When you are happy with your evaluation process apply it to your prospect list and pick 20 companies to focus your sales efforts on. These are your most likely successes so prioritise them and focus your main efforts on your chosen group.