Saturday, October 8, 2011

Create Opportunities and Generate More Leads with Sales Tracking Software


Being a salesperson is not easy—I did it for a summer in college, and let me tell you I’ve never worked harder. My hat’s off to sales rock stars, and even those who try their best but aren’t quite closing the deals. In this economy? Forget about it. These days, sales representatives sometimes have to chase almost 20 leads in order to make just one sale.

What would help is if the salesperson could do some of the legwork in advance—for example, being able to identify customers who are most likely to purchase the product. This would help reps avoid wasting precious resources, as well as cut down on time spent chasing fruitless opportunities. Sales force automation applications, as part of a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) strategy, allow companies to do just that: to identify the best opportunities and leads, and to approach them intelligently.

Gathering sales leads is simply not enough to close a deal. Studies show that 90 percent of the leads generated through marketing are never acted upon by the sales department. Salespeople must be diligent about analyzing the data to determine which leads offer enough potential to pursue. Sales tracking software allows companies to organize information gathered from a marketing campaign to determine which leads are worth pursuing. For instance, a company may launch a pay-per-click campaign or a Twitter campaign to generate traffic to the company’s website. The company collects the information about the customer and determines their level of interest and time frame for purchasing a product. The company can then determine how many, or which, resources to allocate to that customer in order to encourage a sale.

Many sales tracking software tools have data mining capabilities to generate leads for the customer; companies need to utilize these tools in order to find the best opportunities. These tools may also assist with sales forecasting and Return On Investment (ROI) measurement.

Collaboration tools allow sales people to share sales leads. Through collaboration, sales reps may be assigned to accounts in their area of expertise. By assigning sales people in this manner, key accounts or difficult accounts may close faster by an informed or seasoned sales person.

Sales lead management systems allow automated campaign execution. By executing an automated campaign, salespeople can expect their potential customers to receive emails, direct mail, phone calls, and other correspondence on a consistent basis. The system will automatically remind or execute the command on a specified date periodically. The sales team can simply follow up afterwards to determine if the customer received the correspondence.

Managers must make sales people accountable for the leads that they receive. By generating lead aging reports, viable lead reports, and campaign effectiveness reports, managers can determine which marketing campaigns generate the best leads. Additionally, managers can determine which sales people are more effective with managing leads, as well as the best place to invest marketing dollars.

Because most sales people are, by the very nature of the job, on the road a great deal of the time, they need mobile solutions. Cloud-based applications that cater to the sales team are a fantastic solution, because they can be accessed by the rep using only an iPhone, BlackBerry, laptop, or any device with an internet connection. Cutting down on in-office administrative work and travel time, too, can help the salespeople focus on what they do best—meeting up with their leads, and turning them into customers.