Simple Sales Tracking Blog

Latest Updates on Simple Sales Tracking

New Release of Simple Sales Tracking Now Available.

Highlights of what’s included:

  • Added new bulk actions (set follow-up date, add note, update custom field)
  • New report to export email addresses as well as updates to some existing reports
  • Improved billing and credit card management for administrative users
  • Some UI/UX changes to improve user flow, as well as some minor bug fixes
  • Under the hood, we have updated the architecture to allow new functionality to be more easily added in the future

One of the updates in this release is the addition of new bulk actions. You can now set the follow-up date for multiple sales records at a time, as well as add a note or custom field to multiple sales records. These are available for leads, opportunities, and accounts.

Another update is the addition of an “Email addresses” report. With this report, you can export all email addresses stored in your account (sales records and associated contacts). The report can be found under the “Combined & Individual (Accounts, Opportunities & Leads)” section on the Reports tab. For the existing custom detailed reports, we have now added the option to include the latest note for a lead, opportunity, or account record when generating the report.

Administrative users will find an improved billing profile and credit card management page that will make it easier to manage account billing information. More enhancements are planned in this area in future updates.

Along with some other UI/UX improvements, we have added the ability to automatically pre-fill existing contact information when adding a new opportunity directly from an existing account.

Let us know what you think about the changes!

We Value Your Feedback

We’re committed to driving future enhancements of Simple Sales Tracking based on your feedback and requests. At any time, contact us at support@simplesalestracking.com. We’d love to hear from you!

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Filed under: New Features, , ,

New Version of Simple Sales Tracking Released

A new version of Simple Sales Tracking has been released and there are a number of important improvements that we wanted to share with you.

Highlights of what’s in the release:

  • New filtering concept for some key fields
  • Improved page view capabilities
  • Resolution of an intermittent Start Page loading error
  • Improved mobile device detection
  • Small update to the Detailed Contacts Report (addition of Date Created field)

One of the main changes is how the filtering works in the Accounts, Opportunities, and Leads list pages for the “City”, “State/Province”, and “Country” fields as well as the Custom fields (when configured as free-form text). Instead of a pre-populated drop-down list as before, you can start typing your search criteria and the application will display the possible search values based on the actual data available in that field.

When you start typing a search term …

Another update is to the page view layout for the Accounts, Opportunities, and Leads List pages.  You now have the option to select how many records you see per page (10, 20, 50, 100 or 500) based on your needs.

Both of these changes were implemented to improve the page load times, and we feel they bring an improved user experience to the application. Let us know what you think!

What’s Next?

Our next major release is targeted for the end of the year where we will be releasing a number of much sought after capabilities per your feedback. Stay tuned!

We Value Your Feedback

We’re committed to driving future enhancements of Simple Sales Tracking based on your feedback and requests. At any time, contact us at support@simplesalestracking.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Follow Us on Twitter

@simplesales

Filed under: New Features, , ,

The best time to plant a tree

Many businesses delay training of any sort as they see it as a burden not an investment, it’s just something they have to do.

But consider that sales is the only function of your business that actually brings in an income. I was speaking with a colleague the other day who was deciding if they should bring on another accounts person or a new salesperson. They remarked that hiring a salesperson would be a no-brainer as they “pay for themselves”.

The same goes for sales training, it is something that pays for itself. Our clients are able to measure and see the results in a relatively short time frame.

Most of us start off in business with no formal sales training in place. We just wing it for as long as we can and hope for the best.

If however you have discovered you have a need for sales training it is best to act immediately (if the resources are available)

You have to ask yourself, what do I have to gain by putting off the training and more importantly what do I stand to lose?

There are many reasons that may cause you to put off training, some common ones are “What if I train them and they leave?”… This is a valid point, but the flip side to this is, what if they stay and don’t have the tools necessary to bring in new business, or mess up a big deal?”

Another common one is that they are too busy to implement training; they are right in the middle of their busy season and couldn’t possibly spare the time. What often happens is three months later the work finishes up and they are left scrambling for new prospects.

By not having a strong sales process, you risk missing out on prospects that you may have got across the line. Perhaps it was that one question you didn’t ask or that one prospect you forgot to follow up. Training helps us to plan ahead for quiet times so we aren’t stuck cold calling during our off season.

Sales is like anything in business, if you put a process around it, it functions better. They say – what gets measured gets managed. Consider the following questions to see if you may need a stronger sales process –

1. Do I have a standardized process or questioning method for interviews, or do I ‘play it by ear’ ‘let them do the talking’ or ‘show and tell’.
2. How am I managing the prospects in my sales funnel? Do I keep a record of our conversations to measure what stage they are at in the deal?
3. How do I manage my existing clients and what products they buy from me, what are they buying from other sources that I could be providing? What percentage wallet share do I have with each?

If you have been considering training your team or yourself, the best time to do it is now. You will see immediate benefits and a solid return on investment.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”–Chinese Proverb

Hayden Burgess
Sales Associate
Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , ,

So how much is this going to cost me? aka “Don’t drop your pants on price”

I was with a client the other day and they mentioned a conversation they recently had with a prospect.

After a warm referral they made the initial phone contact, and a few minutes into the call the prospect asked the dreaded question “Can you give me a price? My current provider charges $$$ what can you do it for?”

This left the client stuck, as the price mentioned was his standard hourly rate he paid his staff and so was not even in the running.

Don’t worry though; we all get tripped up from time to time when it comes to these types of questions around price.

Here are some ideas to help you negotiate your way around that nasty elephant in the room we call ‘price’.

– First off, don’t ask about their budget. This is one of the biggest no nos in sales. If you do this, you have already created a ceiling. If you come in higher than the price they expect to pay for your offering, you will have a battle on your hands to get them to come round to your price point.

– However, if they ask about price early on, you can reply by simply saying “I need to know more about your needs before I can give you a price. All our solutions are customised to the client” – you can’t prescribe until you have done a full diagnosis.

– Watch out for benefit buckshot, as this can kill you in a sales interview. Benefit buckshot is when you reel off the benefits of using your product or service in quick succession. It’s kind of like shooting a shotgun in the air and hoping a duck is flying past. More often than not the client then says “well we are already getting that from our current supplier, how much discount can you give me if we don’t include that in the price”. Be wary of this and remember – It’s only a benefit if the prospect tells you it’s a benefit.

– Another key thing to remember is not to sell on the phone. If you have been referred to a prospect, the only outcome you want from that first initial phone call is an appointment to meet in person. Otherwise you may find yourself having to justify yourself or sell on the phone. Questions like “what can you do for me” and “what makes you different from my current supplier” are killer and best avoided or handled in person.

– When you start to negotiate on price, or even justify why you charge a certain amount, you are arguing with the prospect. The key to getting around this is showing the return on investment that your prospect will receive if they go with you. This may mean they save money or make money. Either way, by showing a strong return on investment, you will avoid having to stand up for your pricing, or debate about your price points.

– Ok, so if you really have to drop your price, then for goodness sake change your deliverables!! If they insist on paying less, then perhaps they pay more up front, or you may suggest a staged delivery. But remember, if you are crafting the perfect solution for your client; beware about cutting corners here and there in order to make it more appealing financially. If you change the price you must change the conditions!

Happy Selling!

Hayden Burgess
Sales Trainer and Programme Developer
Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy

New report and charts added

New Sales Tracking Charts

The first in a series of new reports and charts we’re developing is now ready for your review.

The first of those is a new manager-only report named Team Member Activity. The goal of this report is to give you insight into the same kind of information that each of your team members view on their own Start Pages – including New, Won and Lost Opportunities, Current and Overdue Tasks and Current Appointments – filtered by date range. By default, when you run the report it will show you all the information created or due for the current week. Sorry, if you’re not an Admin or Manager on your team, you won’t have access to this report.

In addition to the new report is a new charting series which enables you to graphically display your sales, grouped by your custom fields. So, for example – if you have a custom field for Industry, you can see all your Leads, Opportunities and Accounts per industry in a nice bar chart. The charts can be interacted with as well as exported as a downloadable image.

Just like the reports, you can access the new charts from the Reports tab.

Filed under: New Features, , , , ,

Easily switch between company or group accounts



We had some great feedback on the new reports for the Report Center as well as suggestions for new ones. If you missed our last email, please consider sending us your feedback – it’s not too late yet.

Along with the handful of design changes this week, you may have noticed a new menu option named “Link to Account…”. This is something that’s been on the requested list for a while and we’re excited to get it into production. Note – this setup option is visible only to those with Admin level access, however accounts can be linked for those with any level of access.

There are 2 reasons why you might like to take a closer look at this new capability:

  1. You have more than a dozen users who work in separate divisions.
  2. You use Simple Sales Tracking for more than one company.

With the ability to switch between accounts, you can jump from one company (or division) to another without having to logout, then back in again. If you want to organize your sales people into teams and restrict access so that each member has access and visibility only to those in their team, then linking accounts is a perfect solution.

Filed under: New Features, , , , , ,

Tell us what you’d like to see in the new Report Center


We’ve got a couple of new developers on board working out the final parts of a new API and Outlook plugin (we’ve had some delays – but it’s finally coming together now). Once they’re finished, we’re going to be starting on a new Report Center within Simple Sales Tracking – which will include new Reports and Charts/Graphs.

If you click on either report thumbnail above, you’ll see the sample report drafts that we’re looking to introduce. I’d really appreciate your feedback on those and any other ideas that you would find helpful from both a sales manager and team members perspective.

A handful of new fields will need to be added to support concepts like targets/budgets, so if your report idea includes information that’s not currently captured in SST – include it anyways.

You may have noticed the new filter boxes on the list pages. Over the next while another one of our developers is working to improve / streamline some of the UI. No big changes – just some refinements. If you have any questions about any of them – don’t hesitate to ask.

Filed under: New Features, , , ,

How many sales are you losing through poor Sales Process?

“To train or not to train?” – that is the question

Many businesses spend thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising to generate inquiries and yet spend nothing on training their salespeople to convert these same inquiries into sales.

A common misconception is that if the salesperson has great product knowledge they can make the sale. These types of salespeople rely on what we term “show and tell” selling which leads to price focused buyers rather than needs based selling.

Many sales are lost as a result of poor or even non-existent sales processes. The analogy I often use is when baking a cake you follow a recipe and if you do you get the same result each time. When you decide to change the recipe and say use less baking powder you may still get something that is edible but not the best result.

Well it is the same with many salespeople who have never had any formal sales training – they may have a recipe/process they are following but some of the key ingredients may be missing, resulting in missed sales which invariably leads to increased cost of sales not to mention lost sales revenue.

When you consider the cost of making a sales call can be from $90 to $500 depending on type of call and then take into account the lost opportunity costs it often comes down to leaving sales to chance.

I meet many businesses who would gain immediate sales from sales systems but will delay sometimes up to 12 months before starting.

The great thing about sales training is that it is entirely measurable and the return on investment can be seen almost immediately.

The cost of missed sales can be huge even for small businesses. An example might be a business where an average client may spend $200 per month over 12 months – this adds up to $2400 p.a. If the average client stays loyal to this business for 5 years then the average lifetime value is $12,000.

Now if our untrained salesperson is fumbling one sale per week over 46 weeks this amounts to $552,000 in lost business and over 5 years this could come to $2,760,000 and remember this is per salesperson.

Quote:

From Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Company, who once was asked by a wholesaler why he invested so much in training his people, when ultimately they might leave.

His reply was “what if I didn’t train them, and they stayed?”

Action Steps:

Review your sales processes – do you have systems for:

• Asking for referrals
• Managing new leads
• Identifying potential prospects
• Making appointments using the telephone
• Conducting sales interviews
• Quantifying your prospect’s problem in dollar terms

Hayden Burgess is a Sales Trainer with Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

Starting 2016 the right way

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas and New Year’s break, it’s crazy to think we are already one month into 2016.

With that in mind, I wanted to write about one facet of something that many of us have a challenge with. I’m talking about prospecting and more specifically, referrals.

Let’s start the New Year off prospecting strong with these three tips to get the most out of your referral system.

  1. DON’T OVER-QUALIFY YOUR LEADS
  • Many of us make the mistake of thinking too much about if a prospect is right for us, all we should be asking is – Do they potentially have a need for what we offer? If yes then add them to your suspect list.
  • The same goes for the person referring, if you are making an introduction for a colleague, don’t look too far into it, they know best if they can potentially help the prospect. It is up to them to discover this through good questioning.
  1. WARM/COLD/HOT REFERRALS – KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
  • Cold referral – A colleague has handed a client/prospect one of your business cards and said ‘give them a call if you need….’
    ◦ This is akin to a cold call because there is no trust established, all they know about you is what is on your card – save these for C and D prospects
  • Warm referral – A colleague has mentioned your name to their client/your prospect.
    ◦ Again this is not ideal, your name has been mentioned but there is no next step for them, you can’t start the relationship based on this.
  • Hot referral – Now this is key, your colleague has introduced you to their client/your prospect and let them know that you will be giving them a call.
    ◦ These are ideal as the prospect is expecting your call AND you get a buying signal because if they were totally uninterested in what you have to offer they wouldn’t meet with you in the first place.
  1. BE SPECIFIC
  • Once you have established a list of the prospects you would like to work with, share it! Share it with your colleagues, at referral groups or at networking groups. Be specific about who you are targeting, it makes it much easier for people to refer to you.

Many people we meet through our business say they are too busy to prospect, or the phone doesn’t stop ringing.

However, having a strong prospecting and referral system is key. You will be glad you planned ahead and filled up your pipeline for the long winter months.

Oh, and the best way to get a referral? ….To give one.

So let’s start this New Year off the right way, help each other out, and in time it will come back around to you tenfold

Hayden Burgess is a Sales Trainer with Sales Impact Group

 

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , ,

Lead Sources as a Drop Down List

 

Earlier today we published the latest release of Simple Sales Tracking. Included in the release are a number of small changes and minor bug fixes.

The most important change has to do with how Lead Sources are managed. In the past, the only option was to type in the Lead Source for your Accounts, Opportunities and Leads on a case-by-case basis. In our latest release, you now have the option of creating a drop down list of lead sources. The list of available Lead Sources are managed by your group administrator, in the Admin area.

From there, Lead Sources can be added, changed or removed entirely. If one is changed, the change flows through to any matching Lead Source marked against an Account, Opportunity or Lead.

If you’d like to continue to type in Lead Sources manually, all you need to do is delete the Lead Sources from the list in the Admin area.

As always, if you have any questions about this or anything else in Simple Sales Tracking – please don’t hesitate to ask.

Filed under: New Features, , ,

About

Simple Sales Tracking is web-based sales CRM software for the tracking, analysis and forecasting of individual and team sales pipeline and contacts.

Built with simplicity at its core, focus is kept on key sales tasks, while eliminating unnecessary ones, helping to ensure buy-in of the entire sales team.
Go to SimpleSalesTracking.com

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