Today’s CRM Technology for Business Blows My Mind!
This morning I was talking with a colleague about the resources we used to keep track of vital information on our clients and prospects in the 1980s and early 1990s. There was a Rolodex, notes scribbled on note pads and more notes written on the back of business cards. I actually created a three-ring binder and a page for each of my Top 100 clients. That page had a list of numerous facts about each client, such as birthday, anniversary, favorite sports and activities, college they attended, children’s names, favorite places to travel, etc. I also knew what their favorite mutual fund and annuity products were, how often they wanted me to contact them and what value-added programs they wanted me to teach their team. Some preferred a phone call while others wanted to meet in person. When I knew what they expected from me, it was up to me to do what they expected. I learned all of this by asking questions over the years and paying close attention to their answers. That info was very useful to me for two reasons. I knew what was important to them and it also helped me cross-sell other products that would fit into their product mix to help their clients. The only real problem with that data was that it was only visible by me. Some companies used CRM software such as ACT or Goldmine, but back then we didn’t have laptops, tablets or smart phones while we were on the road as sales reps and account executives. But, we did the best we could and still sold hundreds of millions of dollars in mutual funds. I always blasted beyond my quotas and sales goals because of the strong relationships I had in my territory. It was easy to me because I really liked my clients and they knew it. Twenty years later, I still have some of those business cards with my notes written on the back. Great salespeople continue focusing on relationships and providing an excellent experience for their customers and prospects. Now thanks to technology, this practice has become much easier to excel at.
Today, the technology that is available for CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is mind-blowing. As I look back at how I kept track of my clients and prospects, it seems like I was working in the dark ages. That information was only available to me, unless I photocopied all the info and sent it to the home office sales desk. Now there are spectacular programs with Salesforce, Oracle, Google and a host of other excellent companies that gather data from social media, their account executives, inside sales reps and a variety of other sources. What makes this information even more powerful is that it is available 24/7 for entire companies to see thanks to the Cloud. Armed with this information, companies can sell more effectively, market with intelligence, keep the customer happier and be more useful to their sales teams as well as their customers. This is one of the most exciting times in history to be in sales. The resources to help you excel seem endless. I DO hope you are using them to maximize your efforts.
In Chapter 4 of my book, The Best Practices of Successful Financial Advisors, I talk about the importance of strengthening relationships with your clients by learning about them, what’s important to them, personal information about their life and the challenges they face in business, just to name a few of the twenty-five things I knew about every one of my top 100 clients. Of the hundreds of successful salespeople I know, every one of them follows this practice. They want their clients to have such a fantastic experience, that they become raving fans who will share referrals and personal introductions without being asked. They are also embracing today’s technology and the CRM systems available. What are you doing to run a more efficient and successful business? Half the year has already flown by as I write this in June. Are you reaching your goals and going beyond your quotas? Have you changed a few habits that were holding you back from the level of success you passionately desire? Are you truly doing the best you can? Are you using one of the CRM systems yet? Sometimes changing our ways can seem difficult, until we step out of our comfort zone and try something new. What do you have to lose and what do you have to gain? Be the leader. A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t want to go, but ought to be!
Consider June to be the clean slate and the moment you make a few changes as to how you do business. Use the valuable resources available to maximize your results. Leave your comfort zone. Although a comfort zone may be an easy, calm and beautiful place to be, remember that nothing grows there.
~ Neil B. Wood