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Bill Farquharson

The Sales Challenge

By Bill Farquharson

About Bill

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."

 

I Hate CRM Systems, But They Work!

3
 
I am coaching a number of sales reps who are being forced to partake in their company’s CRM software. You’d think they were being tortured in some Iranian prison by the way they talk about how much they cannot stand recording every inane detail. They don't understand why they need to participate and see the systems only as "a way for management to keep track of me." In a former life I, too, was committed to similar indentured servitude and hated it every bit as much.

Until this happened...

Several years ago, one of my clients was a company in the MidWest named Wetzel Brothers. To me, they were just another client. I trained two or three of their reps and they were pleased with the results. So pleased, in fact, that the president of the company, Mike Draver, called me to suggest that I call on their parent company, Consolidated Graphics, out of Houston.

Never heard of them, I told Mike, but OK. So, given the name of Rachel Keonig, I began the pursuit of a bigger fish. It took a few calls to get through, but dropping the name of “Mike Draver” helped since he, apparently, had been singing my praises to Rachel as well. Eventually, we spoke.

I related the benefits of the coaching program—Get Sales NOW!—that Mike had been raving to her about. Along the way, she asked where I was from. Since no one knows where Duxbury, MA, is, I told her I was in the Boston area.

“Oh,” she said, “I went to high school in Needham.” Coincidentally, so did I. Apparently, we were two years apart and blah, blah, blah, we talked about school and Red Sox and Rachel told me she’d keep me in mind.

When I got off of the phone, I took the time to fill in all of the information related to the call in my CRM system, including the Needham High School connection. End of story. I moved on to the next item on my to do list.

Fast-forward a year. My phone rings and it’s a woman from Houston, TX, whose name rang a bell. She had heard some good things about my training programs and wanted to know more. As she talked, I searched. Up popped the name, “Rachel Koenig” and I quickly read the notes I had made, smiling as it all came back to me.

“Rachel,” I interrupted. “You don’t remember me? We went to high school together in Needham!” “We did?” she replied, completely stunned. I went on to relate every detail that I had written down as if it was just yesterday that we passed in the hallway.

The tone of the call changed immediately and before I know it we were talking like old friends. At the end of the call, I was invited to speak at their three presidents meetings, the first time they had ever invited in an outside speaker. I went on to do hundreds of thousands of dollars of business with CGX and continue to work with many of their 80-something locations.

I eventually ’afessed up to Rachel that my memory was not all that I led her to believe it was. Thanks to that stupid, can’t stand it, OMG what a waste of time CRM system that “I swear is only so that management can keep track of me,” I landed a big fish.

Still hate your CRM? Get over it.

You can receive Bill’s free video sales tips by signing up at www.AspireFor.com

Companies Mentioned:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Daniel Ferreira - Posted on July 15, 2010
This is a great example of why CRM is a critical tool today. Another good practical use of the information available is call logging. Have you ever had difficulty getting a busy person back on the telephone, even after he or she had clearly expressed interest? Take a look at their history. It turns out that just about everyone has routines and habits. You may discover that there is a pattern. This tactic is a concrete way to plan to initiate contact at a time that works for the customer. In the meantime, as the Manana Man might say, you could go sell something rather than listen to voicemail!
Noel Ward - Posted on July 12, 2010
It's a love-hate relationship. I know lots of sales guys at printers who hate these tools, but they grudgingly admit they really do work if used correctly. The sales guys who are real hunters seem to mind less, as the tools just make them do stuff they do anyway, just in a routinized manner. (They just don't like the routine, or someone telling them what to do.) The guys who really hate them seem to be the gatherers or herders--the order takers--who want to take the easy way out.
Kelly - Posted on July 09, 2010
Bill I could not agree with this more! I was "forced" to use Goldmine, then we switched to SalesForce.com, and at a new company I had to learn the Microsoft CRM System. Each time, I swore I would not be able to learn the new system, and each time, within one week, i was asking myself how I ever lived without it. Remembering back to my first days in sales when everything was on 3x5 cards and my account records were in binders alphabetically, I thank my lucky stars every day for CRM. I'll go you one better. Owners and managers have a right to know what you are up to every day, unless, of course, you are paid 100% by commission. If you take a base salary that is not tied into sales performance, you should expect that the ownership should at least want some inkling of how you spend your days. I'm sure that is a very unpopular opinion, but, tough.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Daniel Ferreira - Posted on July 15, 2010
This is a great example of why CRM is a critical tool today. Another good practical use of the information available is call logging. Have you ever had difficulty getting a busy person back on the telephone, even after he or she had clearly expressed interest? Take a look at their history. It turns out that just about everyone has routines and habits. You may discover that there is a pattern. This tactic is a concrete way to plan to initiate contact at a time that works for the customer. In the meantime, as the Manana Man might say, you could go sell something rather than listen to voicemail!
Noel Ward - Posted on July 12, 2010
It's a love-hate relationship. I know lots of sales guys at printers who hate these tools, but they grudgingly admit they really do work if used correctly. The sales guys who are real hunters seem to mind less, as the tools just make them do stuff they do anyway, just in a routinized manner. (They just don't like the routine, or someone telling them what to do.) The guys who really hate them seem to be the gatherers or herders--the order takers--who want to take the easy way out.
Kelly - Posted on July 09, 2010
Bill I could not agree with this more! I was "forced" to use Goldmine, then we switched to SalesForce.com, and at a new company I had to learn the Microsoft CRM System. Each time, I swore I would not be able to learn the new system, and each time, within one week, i was asking myself how I ever lived without it. Remembering back to my first days in sales when everything was on 3x5 cards and my account records were in binders alphabetically, I thank my lucky stars every day for CRM. I'll go you one better. Owners and managers have a right to know what you are up to every day, unless, of course, you are paid 100% by commission. If you take a base salary that is not tied into sales performance, you should expect that the ownership should at least want some inkling of how you spend your days. I'm sure that is a very unpopular opinion, but, tough.