Do I really need to use a CRM to schedule my follow-ups?Neil Connaughton
Yes, you do.
So often I come across companies who expect staff to build pipelines and generate meetings with prospects. But they fail to recognise the vital importance of having a system that captures conversations with customers or prospects who are not interested TODAY. (These are the appointments of tomorrow!)
But surely you ask, shouldn’t we should be chasing down the people who are in the market to buy today, right?!
What you really should be thinking is: “How can I put in place an effective follow-up strategy for the 95% who are not in the market today – for the remaining 364 days of the year?”
Let’s talk marketing basics. Not everyone you talk to today is ready to buy today. It’s a timing thing. And it certainly doesn’t mean your prospects are not interested just because they don’t want to meet, or buy right this minute. You see, marketing professional services is an ongoing process –not an event. So, by all means, ask smart questions, listen well, and record what people say. And be sure to schedule a date to call back. However, there’s a bit more to it than that!
We call it relationship development marketing
People buy from people who talk to them. People who take the time to understand their predicament – and rest assured they will eventually meet you if you can make a problem go away. But only when the time is right for them (they don’t care that you have cash flow problems and targets to hit!) Ask yourself a question. Are you willing to play the “long game.” Ok, that’s good to hear! But seriously, how are you going to stay on top of every opportunity in your sales pipeline (do you even have one?).
Following up when you say you will is vital. And if you fail to do so your next call might go something like this:
“Unfortunately, we signed an agreement with one of your competitors only last week”.
Arrghhh!! Has this ever happened to you? Sure it has, you wouldn’t be human if it hadn’t.
Don’t let leads slip through your fingers!
Be honest now. Is your sales pipeline a bunch or business cards, a neglected mail chimp account, MS excel, outlook calendar, with zero integration and shareability? You’re not alone. Here in the UK we’re lagging well behind our continental neighbours when it comes to the adoption of CRM business software. But don’t take my word for it.
So, why are SME businesses less likely to embrace business management software here in the UK?
Top 5 reasons cited in UK Government digital strategy Policy paper published 1st March 2017
- Low priority
- Lack of time
- Cost of engaging a consultant
- Lack of knowledge
- Training costs
Here what the RT Hon Karen Bradley MP in her ministerial forward in the Policy Document: UK Digital Strategy 2017 said:
And keep in mind that (GDPR or, general data protection regulations) will come into force sooner than you think (May 25th). Want to grow and stay on the right side of the law? Of course, you do. So, having a CRM system in place will help you tick both boxes. So, let us assume you have a lawful basis on which to process data for purposes of email marketing – The ICO calls this “legitimate interest.”
Do recognise that when someone says they could have a need in 12 months, this is a great opportunity (if you’ve identified needs and qualified them through questioning) to fit them into a sales pipeline. You can’t do that without an automated system!
Investing in a CRM that is right for your organisational needs is exactly that – a great long-term investment in your business.
PPS I don’t charge for a chat.