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What You Must Capture in Your Sales Force Automation



This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.


Your sales force automation and customer relationship manager software isn’t really designed for your sales manager. It only feels like that because sales managers need access to information about your opportunities and your pipeline.

The real value of your software accrues to you, the salesperson. But only if you use it effectively. It’s likely your management has given you some direction about what they need, and it’s less likely they have given you guidance on what’s in it for you.

Here is what you want to capture and why you want it.

Anything That Creates Insight

You don’t need to record every call or every phone call.

What you need to capture is any information that you collect from phone calls, from emails, and from face-to-face sales calls that helps you to understand your dream client’s needs. Information that helps you to understand the company’s needs, as well as the stakeholder’s individual needs, is critical information. It deserves to be kept someplace where it can be retrieved, not scratched out on a legal pad in the trunk of your car.

The information that you gather about needs, about preferences, and about goals gives you insight into how you can create value for your client. This insight is critical to understanding how you are supposed to compete and win their business.

If it gives you insight or understanding, it needs to be captured.

Anything You Would Want to Know Later

We don’t always win. And we don’t always win when we want to win. Deals get stuck, they stall, and we work to bring them back to life as quickly and effectively as we can. That said, information becomes useful later, after time has past.

You don’t want to have to go over the same ground you already covered with your dream client as you worked through your sales process. More still, they don’t want to train you. You should collect and capture any information that will be helpful to you in the future. If it is important now, it will be important later.

Anything That Would Help Others Help You Win

If your sales manager or your team is going to be involved in your opportunity, you need to collect the information that will allow them to be helpfully engaged.

If you were in their position, what information would you find useful? What would you want to know before you made a sales call? What would you want your team to know if you weren’t going to be there when your prospective client called one of your team members?

If it would be helpful to your team, it is important enough to capture in your sales force automation or customer relationships management software.

Anything That Will Allow Your Team to Execute

And now we come to the area where most of us in sales could do much better work for our team. You won your dream client because they were dissatisfied. You collected a lot if information about how they came to be dissatisfied and what needs to change. But did you capture it in a way that allows you to share it with your team and prevent them from making the same mistakes your predecessor made? For many of us, the answer is often in the negative.

Your team needs to know and understand what was wrong. They need to know your clients preferences for having that dissatisfaction resolved. This is how they create value. You capture and share this information because it helps you and your teams to create value for your client once you obtain their business.

This information needs to be part of your handoff. The last thing you need is for your team to fumble the ball when a little information would have prevented them from doing so.

Questions

What makes your sales force automation valuable for you?

What information is it critical that you capture?

How do you capture and share the insights you have gathered during your sales interactions?

What information do you capture that later helps you compete and win?

What information is it critical that you capture for your team?


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