Everyone has their process of doing things. The first attempt at developing any process is always the slowest. You find yourself doing things that are repetitive, realizing that they are not necessary. Gradually, you start to chip away at your process, restructuring and improving it to make it as efficient as possible. Let’s take being a sales person for example: A large part of any sales person’s job is follow up. Not only do you have to be persistent and creative in ways to follow up with a prospect, but half the battle is reminding yourself that follow up is needed at a very specific time. As your list of prospects grows, so does the list of reminders. You find yourself not trusting technology because each deal is so important. So you hand write a list of reminders and stick them on your desk, on your steering wheel, and on the door to your office. Then, you manually put reminders on your calendar, in Outlook, always checking it to make sure the sync went through so it is on the shared calendar on your phone. At that point you look around and realize that there is absolutely no possible way you are going to forget about anything that is on that list…at least you hope so…as long as the post-it glue sticks.
As you become more comfortable with your role and the process of reminders starts working, you start to scratch away at that process to make it even more efficient. Slowly but surely, the five-copy duplicate list that started out on your desk, your office door, your steering wheel, your outlook calendar, and your phone has been narrowed down to just calendar alerts in Outlook (and on your phone). You are now “satisfied”. You make yourself believe that it just can’t get any better. Your process is so simple now and if anyone tries to recommend making things easier, you tune them out…you are content, thus making new ideas or improvements irrelevant. You now are so comfortable that you believe your way is the only way. You are the master of your domain. Habits have roots and those roots protect change.
But it turns out, technology is an awesome thing. I never really understood how “cool” it was until I started working at Everest where I’m tasked with selling it. I share very similar characteristics with the sales person described above. I never truly trusted technology and therefore, I created hand written reminders of when to call my prospects. Eventually, I became brave enough to weed out the hand written reminders and just stick with Outlook and more importantly, my phone calendar. My phone has become almost an extension of me; I would be lost without it and would have no clue what to do next or who to call. Yes, it sounds scary and a bit weird but I am sure there is some truth in this for everyone. And I just got a good chuckle from that... but I admit that a phone has become an irreplaceable extension of me. It is a ridiculous truth!
So I thought that my technological, phone-enabled, follow up process with prospects was perfected to a point where it could not get any better. This was until my boss shared with me the deep capabilities that our CRM has to offer. In the past, I had been a loyal CRM user: I had all of my lead and contact information stored and regularly used the notes tab to record everything. Emails sent from Outlook were even stored with the contact or lead for future reference. But I admit, my reminders for meetings, tasks and follow-ups were only stored on my calendar.
So after my conversation with the boss, I converted: “CRM is way cooler than I could ever have imagined”. I was speechless. Every contact, touch, task, activity, appointment, and any other item around a sales person, customer or prospect is now being stored in one place; no more separate folders or hand written notes. I create a task or meeting in CRM and it syncs to my phone automatically. And someone ELSE can create them for me or I can reassign to another sales person. Bingo, the far off ding of the task arriving on their iPhone.
By the way, those hand written notes were only available where I left them. Now, I was able to access my portfolio of notes from anywhere at any time…at home, on the road, in the office. I had access via phone, iPad and laptop. The power of CRM was right in the palm of my hands and I finally realized it. I am convinced that my process was not the easiest or the best way, that there are more efficient ways of being a sales person and CRM was my solution.
In closing I want to share with you a quick Everest success story around our CRM. Our website offers a place where visitors can enter their contact information, express what they are interested in, and have us contact them. From there, we use a tool that takes that information and creates a lead in CRM. It then assigns the contact to the appropriate sales person, creating an activity and reminder for them to follow-up. It also records tracking information so we can measure which marketing tool generated the lead; we can then measure the ROI on the campaign. Technology takes care of everything and there is no useless re-keying of data that the sales person has to make in their CRM. Our sales person contacted the prospect and a meeting was scheduled thanks to CRM.
The days of cold calling are dwindling. It’s almost impossible to get past a gate keeper these days. Instead of trying to control what you can’t, it’s time to control what you can. We created a very simple, attractive, user friendly website. We customized our CRM and tailored it to what our sales people want and use. Digital marketing through CRM has made it possible to avoid the gate keeper and get in touch with those key decision makers by steering them toward our website. If there is a fit, a need is recognized, the website form is submitted, and contact is made!
Before coming on board with Everest all of this seemed so foreign to me. I never realized the power of technology and how cool it really was. Experiencing the power of CRM made me understand that technology is trustworthy, it makes life easier, streamlines the sales process (which leads to more opportunities) and eliminates hundreds of sticky notes all over my office and car. Habits are tough to break as I shared with you first hand. Don’t allow old habits to prevent change. Allow yourself to become tech savvy and experience the power of CRM.