Customer Information is Key to Sales Effectiveness
How effective are you at collecting and managing customer information? Are you able to effectively organize this information after you collect it? Are you able to find and access this information easily when you need it during the sales cycle? The ability to be effective in these areas can have a direct impact on your sales effectiveness.
Knowledge is Power
In sales, as in life, knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have of your customer, the more power you will have in finding business, in driving opportunities, and in overall sales effectiveness.
Types of Information
Every day that you work on an account or try to sell to a prospect, you will be collecting a tremendous amount of information. Below are some of the different types of customer information
Company: Before any sales call is made to a company, some amount of research should be done to collect general company information. What do they do? How are they doing financially? Any recent news or events? Understanding your customer and their business is key to overall sales effectiveness.
Industry: What is the latest news in the industry that the company operates? Any recent events, trends, challenges, or opportunities?
Organization: As cold calls are made, you should be mapping out the organization and learning who does what, who has what responsibilities, and how everybody is tied together.
Interactions: Every email, cold call, and meeting can provide a tremendous amount of information. You should try to get as much out of every interaction as possible. This can be achieved by having questions prepared ahead of time, asking good questions, and taking good notes. And after the meeting, it is important to transfer the information collected to somewhere so that it can be accessed later. Even interactions that don’t take place such as voicemails left and calls made with no message hold a tremendous amount of information and should be tracked as well.
Opportunity: When you find a qualified opportunity, there is a tremendous amount of information to collect and keep track of. Be sure to get key details like funding, decision makers, process, timing, competitors, etc.
Where to Put the Information
Ideally, all of the information collected can be put in some sort of customer relationship management system. By putting it there, the information can easily accessed by you and the rest of the team when needed. Having a system like this and being diligent about putting customer information in it can be a key to sales effectiveness.
Although, most customer relationship management systems have some gaps in functionality or can sometimes be fairly cumbersome to use. If this is the case, tools such as Word or Excel may need to used to augment formal customer relationship management systems when it comes to effectively managing customer information.
What to Do With the Information
In order for true sales effectiveness, the information collected should be used in just about every step of the sales cycle. How you position the solution you have to offer should be tailored according to the information collected to ensure that you are solving a business problem. In addition, the messaging you use, the timing of your messaging, and who you interact with should all be driven by all of the information collected to date. Essentially, there should never be a step taken without considering everything that has been learned, discussed, and done up to that point.