If there is one common thing among Zimbabwean businesses, it is the fact that most of the company’s Salespeople fall short on their promises early in the sales process. Think about it, how many times have you contacted an organization desperately needing a product or service that they offer, get promised that someone will revert with a Quotation only for the Quotation not to come through?
It is often frustrating considering that you will be on the buying side of the transaction and often ready to fork out your hard-earned money in exchange for the services on offer.
On diagnosing this challenge, most people tend to blame salespeople or company culture but that is not usually the case. In big companies, for example, a single salesperson will talk to at least 15 new prospects a day. If there is no proper tracking system, chances are, the salesperson will easily forget to send quotations since there wouldn’t be any system of accountability.
Further to that, the number of business owners I’ve spoken to who cry foul after a Salesperson defects to a competitors’ company with the company’s clientele is surprising. This is something I will delve deeper into on another article but for now, we want to look at the first challenge and how we can improve it particularly in the Zimbabwean Business Context.
The challenge I highlighted first is not a challenge that is unique to Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean Business alone. It’s a challenge that is as old as time itself. Back then, to rectify this challenge, people created Diaries so that they can record delicate information and store reminders.
Diaries are good but their problem is that they don’t give you reminders, which means if your people get in their office in the morning but choose to not open their diaries, they will not remember to contact those clients who wanted to be contacted in the morning.
In modern times, when business people realized this challenge, they came up with the concept of Customer Relationship Management which is defined as the process of managing interactions with existing as well as past and potential customers.
The practice of CRM is usually managed through systems that are called Customer Relationship Management Systems. I’m sure you’ve heard the word Salesforce before which is one of the largest CRM providers in the world.
A Business that doesn’t practice Customer Relationship Management will fail in Zimbabwe and here is why;
1. Time Management
70% of Salespeople say their biggest challenge is how to prioritize and manage their time. CRM(Customer Relationship Management) puts time management into perspective as it will give your Salespeople an overview of their tasks daily including helping prioritize who they will be interacting with and how they will be managing those interactions. In short, having a CRM System is like having a Personalized Diary – Personal Assist who is always ready to assist with handling your appointments and remind your people of what they should do.
2. Easy Monitoring
Sometimes, the reason your salespeople feel the courage to ignore important clients is because there isn’t strict monitoring. Imagine if you had a system in place where you could just log in, go to the activity dashboard of any client you want and being able to see the outcome of the calls that were made to that client, the emails that were sent, meetings done, that would be a gamechanger right? This is one thing Customer Relationship Management will also help you solve.
On average, a Salesperson spends one hour a day compiling a Sales Report. In a 24 hour day, one hour seems insignificant but if you add that up over a year, you will notice that your salespeople are wasting a total of 365 hours or 15 Calendar Days or half a month compiling reports. This is a very big challenge considering that more productive things could be achieved using that time.
A CRM System will automatically compile reports as the salesperson goes about their day. You can choose to get your reports hourly if you choose to. What this means is that your people can focus on selling whilst the system does the monotonous work for them.
4. Streamline the Sales Process and Sales Cycle
What is a Sales Process? Most business owners I’ve interacted with don’t understand this and the importance it holds for any business. For your people to close more sales, they need to have a thorough understanding of the steps it takes to close sales, the journey a customer will have to take from the first step of the Sales Process to the last. With CRM, you can design a Sales Process that is unique to your business so that your Salespeople can guide your customers through every step of that process until such a time when a deal has been closed and the customer has paid.
Customer Relationship Management is everything for your business and has the potential to transform your business. You must have the system in place but furthermore, you should understand it in concept and apply it in practice.