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The SFA of CRM

Posted by Phil Kessler on March 23, 2009 8:10 AM EDT
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It's the Simple Things that Make CRM a Compelling Solution

SFA, Sales Force Automation, in one of the three cornerstones of most CRM products.  The others are Marketing and Customer Service - they're  used on a regular basis by companies that need to manage those functions in a standardized, transparent way.  But when a CRM solution is used for Customer Service, every transaction is entered into the system for disposition - it's not an option.  The Marketing functionality is employed for specific tasks - surveying customers, sending promotions etc.

Sales Force Automation, the function of following up leads, managing accounts, scheduling activities and making notes on interactions are optional tasks for the salesperson.  A good salesperson, who understands the value of creating a history of interaction with customers and prospects, will take the time to add to that history so that future sales calls are focused on the customer need. In order to get sales force adoption, a CRM system has to be intuitive.

ConcourseSuite has been designed as a logical, intuitive, easy to use CRM product that is can be customized in a varierty of ways by the user.   It is a  tool that makes it very easy for sales people to enter data, move from screen to screen and create the history necessary for successful sales calls.

Flashy software has it's place, but a CRM system should invite quick, straightforward communication with the user.. ConcourseSuite makes it easy.

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Managing Leads

Posted by Phil Kessler on March 18, 2009 8:35 AM EDT
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Leads are Valuable - Don't Leave Follow Up to Chance

How does your company get it's leads - website, direct mail, mass media adverising, trade shows?  It's probably one or all of these.  And every single method costs money.  That means each lead has a monetary value and should be treated as such.  You wouldn't buy a compiuter monitor for $100 and throw it out the next day.  But if you pay $5000 to attend a trade show and get 50 business cards, each one has cost $100. Make sure it's worked properly by the right person.

Leads management tools differ from one CRM application to another.  Assignment notification, process management, manager oversight, record creation and final disposition are the steps in an efficient leads management process.  And the process must be simple and intuitive so that the system is used.

Concourse Suite allows easy leads distribution via email notification and Action Plans.  An Action Plan is an easily built, step by step, dynamic outline of the company's approved procedure for lead follow up.  It can be attached to each lead so that the salesperson following up has the company roadmap and management can monitor progress.

Leads are potential revenue - make sure you handle with care.

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Email Marketing

Posted by Phil Kessler on March 16, 2009 8:40 AM EDT
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Identify Your Targets

Email marketing can be an effective tool to grow your business when the group you are contacting has been carefully segmented by certain criteria you decide is the most effective way of identifying prospects. 

In your business, it may be size of the prospect, how long a company has been in business, or the prospects associations with other customers .  The important thing is you must look at your business and decide what characteristics are most important for a prospect to have when introducing them to your products and then tag each one with a one or more of those attributes when entering them into your customer database. 

Concourse Suite makes it easy to enter contact information and assign multiple Contact Types to each one.  If your business sells to individuals, you can enter their information and assign the Contact Types you've decided are the most important to your marketing efforts.  If your customers are companies, you can assign individuals to those companies, enter specific contact information and Contact Types to each, and create groups of Contacts to market to.

Identifying markets and targeting specific groups who are more likely to have a need for your specific products is a more effective way to build your business and increase your revenue.

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