Simple Sales Tracking Blog

Bulk Delete Just Added

From time to time we get asked for the ability to delete multiple records at once.  This is especially true of Accounts, Opportunities & Leads.

So – Thanks for the feedback, and you’ll find we’ve now included this on each of the list pages.

Filed under: New Features, , , , ,

Latest Release and the new My Resources page

Between now and into the new year, we’ll be releasing a number of new capabilities to Simple Sales Tracking that have been highly requested.

In today’s release we’ve introduced the My Resources page, and the ability to Downgrade Opportunities to Leads, along with a number of other smaller tweeks and improvements.

 

My Resources

Maintain an easy-to-access set of team-wide resources on the new My Resources page. In addition to a text editable area, Admin’s have the ability to upload documents, pdf’s, spreadsheets and images.

A few examples could include:

  • Sales Scripts
  • Document Templates
  • Support Letters
  • Team Performance Charts & Spreadsheets
  • Company-wide Notes

My Resources page on Simple Sales Tracking

 

Downgrade Opportunities to Leads

A question we often get, and one we’re happy to answer YES to!

 

What’s Next?

In the near future we’ll be releasing a number of much sought after capabilities, including:

  • More flexible User Access/Permissions
  • Customizable Reporting
  • iPhone Mobile App!!!

Filed under: New Features, , , ,

Forward your Emails to Simple Sales Tracking

Your communications with prospects and customers is likely to include sending email messages. Until now, you’ve been limited to using either Notes or the Outlook plugin to track those email communications.

Now, with the new Messages feature, you can easily forward any important email message to Simple Sales Tracking and have it automatically included in
the new Messages Tab.

Additionally, if an email address is recognized as matching an email in any of your Sales or Contacts, an association between the two is created.

How To Get Started

First, make sure that the “Enable Messages Drop-Box” check box is selected on your Admin page. Then, generate your unique email address in your Settings.

Now any time you want to forward a message to Simple Sales Tracking, include the unique email address in the CC or BCC of the message.

Note: Currently storing of email Attachments is not supported.

Filed under: New Features, , , ,

Google Map with Every Address

Any Account, Opportunity, Lead or Contact where you’ve provided an address now has a link – which opens up a new window with a pin marking the spot on Google Maps.

Filed under: How To's, New Features, , , , , ,

Are you a Rocket Scientist or a Salesperson?

Recently I attended a business function where one of my clients introduced me to a business consultant.  Upon hearing I was a sales trainer the consultant related how he had watched a couple of dvds on sales training over the Christmas break and decided that perhaps he could add sales training to his portfolio after all as he said “its not rocket science”!

I was most disappointed to hear this as I have been waiting for the call from NASA for some time!!! 

But in fairness I have to agree that selling isn’t rocket science, it is very basic.

I always say –    “selling is simple – but not easy”

Sales in a nutshell comes down to –

Identifying your Prospect

Gaining an Introduction

Uncovering a Need
(If they have one)

Showing the Return on Investment

Asking for the Business

Delivering the Service

Follow Up and Support

Regular Contact

So if you want to launch your sales to new heights in 2011 you will need to jettison some of your unproductive practices that do not directly contribute to one of these areas.

We know that most salespeople on average only spend 90 minutes per day in face to face meetings – the rest of the time is spent gliding through the myriad of other jobs that they are tasked with.

A breakdown of where a typical sales rep spends their time would be –

Sales administration:  16%.  This includes any administrative work directly related to a sale such as entering information, writing reports, filling out order forms, pricing up jobs, quoting and writing proposals.

One way to lessen sales administrative time is to put an expert network in place.  Sales reps spend a lot of time tracking down answers to customer questions – finding the right person to answer the question,
sending emails, exchanging voice mails and so on.  Consider delegating the most time consuming tasks such as pricing and proposal writing.

Sales preparation:  16%.  This includes all the time spent preparing for a call, including research, preparing a meeting agenda, putting together a presentation and so on.

Waiting: 11%.  This includes time spent waiting for a customer, whether in the customer’s reception, on the phone, or in the customer’s office while he or she attends to another matter.

Travel and travel-related waiting:  21%    This category is just what it sounds like – the time reps spend in a car, on a plane, sitting in traffic or sitting at the airport.  To decrease the amount of time reps spend travelling or waiting to travel, look at how you might use telemarketers to interact with customers.  Face–to-face contact is great, but save it for when it adds the most value.   Territory planning can have a huge effect on reducing travel time.

Other administrative tasks:  10% – This is a catchall bucket for time-spent doing everything not included in the other categories. It includes everything from filing expense reports and time sheets to getting a cup of coffee.

Selling:  25%.  If you can decrease the time your reps spend doing other things, they theoretically should have more time to spend selling.  So put systems to work for you and watch this percentage grow.

How do these figures compare to our sales week?

If we are to propel our sales into lunar orbit then we need to delegate any task that is not related to business growth.

The beauty about selling is the sky is the limit when it comes to business growth.

So to help your sales to soar this year, spend more time face to face with great referred prospects – after all, it’s not “Rocket Science”!!!

Action Steps:

1. Identify all tasks that take up more than 30 minutes per week
2. Plan to either eliminate, delegate or outsource within a month
3. Block times for face to face meetings in your weekly planner
Quote:
                                                             Sales isn’t rocket science
                                                                                        Unknown Consultant

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , , ,

How Much Actual Selling Time Do You Have?

A challenge I hear from many salespeople and business owners alike is that there is never enough time to keep in touch with all their clients and prospects.   This in turn leads to many lost opportunities and indeed lost clients.

There are just two areas salespeople and business owners need to focus their time on as far as sales are concerned.

The first we will look at is retention of existing clients.   Our existing clients offer the best opportunity for future growth for a couple of very good reasons.

Firstly we have already earned their trust as an advisor/supplier and are therefore most likely to be offered the first opportunity of further work and secondly in many cases we are only getting a percentage of their work.

Some studies have shown that most of what we might consider to be “A” type clients are only in fact giving us slightly more than 50% of their potential business. 

Secondly, and this may come as a surprise to many salespeople, the key reason for this is a lack of account strategies and planning, particularly in smaller businesses who seem to believe if we look after the client we will automatically get all their business.

So to maximize sales to our existing clients we need to develop an account strategy.

The first step in this process is to identify the services and products they are already buying from us then work out what other needs we can fulfill for them and build these into our call objectives.

Another step is to work out a call cycle. This will depend largely on what type of client you are dealing with.  A trap for many of us is to categorize by turnover.  It is therefore very important to look at a number areas when categorizing accounts, such as gross profit margin, lifetime value, wallet share, potential growth and so on.

All accounts, including those of prospects and customers, should be categorized to keep their call frequency as productive as possible. You must decide which accounts are most important to your company.  Categorizing helps determine this.  For every prospect or customer, there is a call frequency that will give you maximum return per call.

It is based on the belief that a greater portion of time should be spent on prospects or customers who offer larger volume potential.   Less time should be spent on lower volume prospects or customers.

You will categorize your prospects or customers as A, B, and C accounts.  A are major accounts; statistically they number about 15 percent of your accounts and give you 65 percent of your volume.  The following 20 percent of your accounts are B, or minor accounts.   They give you 20 percent of your total sales.  Of the remaining prospects or customers, 65 percent are C, or marginal accounts.   They give you 15 percent of your total sales.  These percentages apply in most industries and are an excellent rule of thumb for determining account classification and setting sales-call frequency.

In most businesses, this simple analysis is rather startling.  You will probably find that a small number of accounts produce the majority of your sales dollars, whereas a majority of your prospects or customers provide you with a small percentage of your sales.  The classic statement that “80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers” is refined somewhat in the three account classification – A.B.C.

A good exercise would be to go through your database of clients and categorise them as

A, B or C.  By understanding this you can then manage your time more effectively and look after the 20% of your clients who are indeed giving you 80% of your income and more importantly retain these very valuable clients through regular call cycles.

I will look at the second key area which is growth in my next article.

Quote of the Week:
“Sales is a contact sport”
Brett Burgess

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , , , ,

Import directly into Accounts and Opportunities

Until now, importing your data into Simple Sales Tracking has been limited to Contacts and Leads. 

If you had wanted those Leads to be Opportunities or Accounts, you would have had to Covert the manually.

You’ll notice now, on Step 2 of the Lead import, at the bottom of the page, a new drop down list which asks you to choose at which stage you want to import the data. By default, this is still Leads. Optionally, change this to either Opportunities or Accounts to import directly to this stage.

Keep in mind that First Name, Last Name, Job Title and Company are fields that only exist in Leads.  After the Lead stage, that information gets seperated out as a Contact.

Filed under: How To's, New Features, , , , ,

Real-Time Collaboration with News Feeds

Earlier, we sent you part one of the latest features added to Simple Sales Tracking. In part 2 of 2, we’ll highlight the new real-time collaboration capability called the “News Feed”.

If it looks familiar to you, it’s because it probably is. Each time you use Facebook or Twitter you find something similar. Facebook with its latest news feed and Twitter with it status lists. In the same way, you now have the ability to communicate and stay up-to-date privately and securely with others in your team.

2 Types of News

There are two types of news that make it to the news feed.

  • Status Updates – On the Start Page you’ll find a new text box near the top of the page which reads “What are you working on?”. Simply answer this question and keep in touch with others on your team throughout the day.
  • Auto Updates – Each time you, for example, create a new Lead or upgrade an Opportunity to an Account, the news feed will automatically announce the upgrade to others in your team.

News Feed on the Start Page

You’ll find that the Notice Box on the Start Page has been replaced with the “Latest News”. Whatever news item is most recent is now automatically displayed in the box.

To view a full list of recent news, click the blue “Show News Feed” button directly underneath the Latest News box. Click it again to switch back and forth between the news list and the chart and follow up information.

If, as a Full Account user, you’re operating in the “Closed” access model, you’ll find that auto-updates on anything marked as closed, will not be displayed in the News Feed.

Comments

Included with the new News Feed is the ability to comment on any piece of news. In that way, you can discuss an idea back and forth, get clarification or provide suggestions.

Smells like Chatter?

Not only is the news feed similar to both Facebook and Twitter, but it has also become a simpler (and more cost effective) alternative to Saleforce’s new Chatter platform, which they released earlier this year.

With each new piece of functionality added to Simple Sales Tracking, we aim to keep ease of use and simplicity at the forefront. Include the most important features and reduce hardly-used ‘extras’, which serve mostly to complicate.

In the same way, what’s included in the news feed is what we’ve uncovered as most important, without a lot of extra bell’s and whistles.

As for cost? The news feed is available at no extra cost to Everyone who uses Simple Sales Tracking. And for that, there is no alternative.

Filed under: New Features, , , , , , , , , , ,

A Feature Bonanza, Part 1 of 2

Over the weekend we released a handful of new features and we think you’re going to like them.

We’ll give you the highlights in this newsletter and with one in particular, we’ll follow up in a (rare) second newsletter to follow shortly.

User Defined fields as Drop Down Lists

Until now, User Defined fields were available only as text boxes. That meant that you needed to type in each value manually for every record.

Sometimes values recur, so to speed things up, we’ve given you the option to change a text box to a drop down list.
To define the values for the drop down list, have a look on the Admin page.

Avatars

A while back we gave you the ability to upload your company logo. Now, you can upload an Avatar, or profile picture of yourself.

Latest News & Real-Time Chatter

Sound familiar? We’ll tell you all about it in a newsletter to follow a little later.

Sales in Tasks List now Linkable

For better reference, and by popular request, we’ve made the column of Sales in the Tasks list linkable back to the related Sale.

Changes to the Social Tab

A while ago we introduced the Social Tab, with its Twitter integration. It’s been a popular feature and we’d like to continue to add to it; however, by growing it, it will outgrow it’s fit within Simple Sales Tracking. As a marketing tool, we felt branching it off onto it’s own mini-product (still integrated with Simple Sales Tracking), would be the best approach.

We’re calling the new product Twitter Web Alerts. Have a look and let us know what you think.

And not to worry, if you’re currently using the capability, you’ll have the option to migrate accross at no charge with a long while of free usage as well.

Filed under: New Features, , , , , , , , , , ,

Scared to Close the Sale?

In my last ramblings we looked at overcoming the “no hurry/no desire to change from the current supplier or serviced provider” obstacle.

Today we will look at the key reasons salespeople don’t ask for the business.

In fact surveys conducted with the fortune 500 in the States showed that 62% of presentations finish without the salesperson actually asking for the business!

The number one reason people I train state for this is fear of rejection and embarrassment.  This fear comes as a result of lack of sales processes which would naturally lead to asking for the business.

The first part of the sales process then is getting a referral to the prospect by a trusted advisor and just as important is the way the advisor positions you with their client.
One of the tools we develop for our clients is a positioning statement.  This is a tool you give to your referrer so that they position you in the best possible way.

Having been positioned well the next step towards closing is doing your homework on the prospect.  Your referrer will often help here as they are working in the best interests of their clients in helping you.

We have been positioned well with the prospect, we are well prepared with background information including possible issues we may have solutions for, we have our appointment, –  the next step is to establish trust.

We hardly ever buy from people we don’t trust and of course if our prospect doesn’t trust us then they may not give us all the information we need to taylor the very best solution for their need or may in fact deny they have a need.

Some key ways to build trust are –
• Being early or on time
• Coming prepared
• Dressing appropriately
• Having the very best sales aids – pens, folders, business cards (not a good look when salespeople hand you their “dog-eared” business card!)
• Asking good questions  (nothing upsets buyers more than poorly prepared salespeople with self-serving questions)

Now we have established trust with our prospect the next step is to uncover the need and help the buyer to recognize whether the need justifies our solution.

It has been found that 64.3% of salespeople start presenting their solution before the buyer recognizes the desire for a solution.  This results in buyer objections which opens
a whole new minefield to manoeuvre through.

We will look into this further in my next article.

This Weeks Action Step –
Make a list of all the closing phrases you currently use in asking for the business.

Quote of the Week –
If you don’t close the sale you are working for the opposition
 
Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , , ,

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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