CRMs, 3 common mistakes, Part 2

In part 1, I gave a brief background about CRMs (Customer Relationship Management). In this post, I will discuss the three common mistakes that you need to avoid when using a CRM.  These include taking no or little notes, falling behind on your callbacks and not maintaining good contact information.

1). Failing to take good notes: If you are dealing with a lot of customers and prospects, it’s difficult to remember each person, every conversation, and every order that you have entered. While you may think that taking good notes is a waste of time, believe me, in the long run it will save you a lot of time. Also, if you are absent one day, and one of your co-workers receives a call from your customer, you want him to have accurate information to draw from to help your client. Nothing sounds more unprofessional than a salesperson fumbling around trying to figure out what your customer needs.

Many sales departments have developed a “hit by the bus” philosophy when it comes to note-taking. What if you get hit by the bus tomorrow, will someone be able to understand the needs of your customer when he inherits your accounts?

Sometimes salespeople just don’t get the message. I heard of a sales rep who worked at one of my old employers who actually was fired for not entering notes into the database. He was warned repeatedly but refused to listen.

taking notes while on a sales callI generally take good notes. I’m not just entering basic information, like which order did the client place, or what products he may be interested in purchasing later. I try to take more personalized notes about the client’s family, favorite hobbies, recent or upcoming vacations, etc. I will also take note of the customer’s tone during my conversations with him. Is he angry, anxious or happy? You are not a telemarketer. You are salesperson. Your goal is to develop a long-term relationship with your customers. The best way to do that is to have personalized conversations based on good note-taking.

2). Falling behind on your callbacks: The second biggest mistake salespeople make is falling behind on their sales callbacks. I know of situations where sales people would have weeks – if not months – of callbacks entered in their calendar, because they don’t follow through on making their callbacks or have unrealistic expectations of their time. Don’t do this. Keep up. Depending on the CRM you are using, you may want to rank your call-backs from the highest to the lowest priority. Your highest priority call-backs are clients who are about ready to place an order, or finalize a contract, or trialing your service, as well as qualified inbound leads. Your lowest priority calls should be courtesy calls to see how your clients are doing, or prospects that are on the fence about your product.

3). Not entering good contact information: And finally, the third biggest mistake people make is not providing or updating good contact information. It may sound like common sense, but many don’t include the full names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, titles and other critical information that makes your job a lot easier.

A CRM is a tool. It is only as good as you use it. Use CRMs wisely, could save you money and time down the road.

In part 3 of this post, I will discuss the problems of CRM conversions.