This piece was originally written, published, and copyrighted by Jeffrey Gitomer in June of 1996. Wow, seems like yesterday.
Does contact management lead to sales?
Fillingyour sales pipeline is one thing. Controlling it is another. Everforget an appointment? Forget to make a follow-up? Not fulfill apromise? Lose a lead? Not record a vital fact? Dropped balls in salesare costly. Loss of credibility, trustworthiness, reputation, and ohyes, lost orders. Real costly.
Contactmanagement — a 21st century buzz word for keeping in touch, is nolonger a luxury — unless you don’t care about losing sales. When youhave no contact management program, you’re at a loss — or should Isay, you’re at a lost. Lost revenue, lost opportunity, lostgoodwill, lost market share, (strengthening of competition — they gotthe order), lost referral opportunity, lost temper (angry boss), andsometimes — lost job.
Informationis power. But, like all power, it must be harnessed to have any value.How are you controlling yours? If you’re like me, it’s often the tailwagging the dog. Come on. Admit it. Your information control could bebetter (or couldn’t be worse).
Atsome point, loss of control leads to loss of sales — certainly loss ofselling opportunities. A missed appointment, a forgotten follow-up, anot (but should have been) written thank you letter, a missed deadline,or even a lost phone number can be expensive — and lead to sales decay.
Youcan shrug it off the first few times, but if you let enough decayoccur, eventually you will rot (or get fired by someone you think isrotten).
Since97% of all sales are NOT made in one call, effective prospect follow-upcontact and information management is essential if you want to getmaximum results — make the sale. The problem is juggling calendar,prospects, existing customers, follow-up commitments, correspondence,promises made, and a million other details that are essential to thesale.
Enter the solution — contact management. “Contact management” are the words it’s known by, but what the software does is 1,000 times more powerful.
Do you have a contact management program?
Who needs one?
How do you know if you should have a contact management program?
Ifyou’re in business, in a profession, in sales, make phone calls, writeletters, keep a calendar, make appointments, make a to-do list, haveprojects, keep records, make notes, have a Rolodex, or have an addressbook — you need a contact management program. (HINT: this means you).
The salesperson, professional person, or entrepreneur who could benefit from contact management is someone who says:
- “My customer is more than a name and address.”
- “When my customer calls, I need instant access to their information.”
- “Most of my activities revolve around my contacts.”
- “I need to prioritize my day around the things that help me to increase my business.”
- “I am proactive. My business requires me to get people to do things.”
- “I need more information control. I gather information at different times, but need to keep it in the same file.”
- “I can’t afford to miss an appointment or fail to make a deadline.”
The advantages of a contact management program make it an overwhelming “no-brainer” if you’re thinking “is this for me?”
Look at these 9.5 advantages:
1. You only enter information once, and it appears in a multitude of areas.
2. Your daily schedule links information to your contacts. Because most activities link back to people, this is critical in assessing your needs and deeds throughout the sales cycle.
3. Your activities have priorities. Youwant to focus on those things that will increase your business. Contactmanagement software helps you keep tasks and activities under control,AND keep them in priority order.
4. You are able to expand your contact and customer base, and keep it under control. The more contacts and customers you have — the more likely you are to drop a ball without tight control.
5. It gives you instant access to all account information when you make (or get) a call.
6. You can print address books, calendars, to do lists, and account cards — every day if you like.For those of you that still carry the traditional hard copy daytimer,what terror is in your heart if you leave it someplace or lose it?
7. It makes communicating with customers and prospects by letter, fax, or e-mail easier. Theaddress and instructions are a keystroke away. The ease of useencourages a sales person to stay in closer touch, thereby building astronger relationship.
8. It creates sales reports by account and sales cycle activity. Ever spend Sunday night watching TV and filling out the weekly sales report? Ever lie just a little to make it look better? AttentionSales Managers: What a salesperson does at 10am on Tuesday is uselessinformation. It’s more important to know how the sales cycle is workingwith each active account. With ACT! you just enter each activityby account, set up the formats of reporting once, select the dates, andpresto! A report by account activity — a real sales-analysis tool.
9. You have a no lose policy. That’s right, as soon as you enter the information, you “no lose” it.
9.5 You have peace of mind that things are under control. Peaceof mind that allows for the creative side (the solution side) of yourbrain to engage. (for those of you non-scientific readers — thecreative side of your brain is directly linked to your wallet)
Contactmanagement is like sales success because it controls the elements anddetails that help you make the sale. The right contact managementprogram will change the way you do business — by making it easier,more powerful, and more fun. The power of a CRM program is that iffrees your mind from the details, and allows your creativity to kick inand find solutions — creative solutions that lead to sales.
OK.Which one? You decide based on your needs, your customers, yourproducts, and the willingness of your salespeople to use the softwareto their benefit. You also want to know “what can it do.”
Here is a list of minimums:
1. Manage leads and initial contacts
2. Manage your sales pipeline
3. Manage your sales cycle and account status
4. Manage follow-up
5. Manage customer communications of all kinds (e-mail, proposals)
6. Manage the relationship
Itshould also include other features like calendar, customer database,e-mail, proposal generator, appointments, alarms, to-do list, majorpriorities of the day, reports, evaluations, tools, and a place fornotes and ideas.
Iknow. You’re wondering if it can pay your mortgage, too. Well, if youuse it to maximum sales advantage, you will be able to pay off thewhole house.
“Time is money” is a misnomer. It should say organized time leads to money, and contact management leads to organization.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers.President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runsannual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on salesand customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
(c)2007 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document
without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112.