Customer Relationship Management. The Reason why most Zimbabwean Businesses Fail in Sales

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.

3. Reporting

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. 


The difference between management reports and financial reports

Financial and management reports are the fundamental to the success and going concern of a business. For large businesses, various departments have to contribute for these reports to give a true picture of the organizational operations. 

However, for small businesses one person might be able to handle the reporting of an organization. While some may think reporting is just about calculating numbers, management reports and financial reports contain a number of differences in content and the generation process. Before hiring a specialist, it is important to understand the differences in the two types of reporting.

Financial reporting refers to the process of providing financial information to company stakeholders in order to influence business goals. The process includes three important components which are the cash flow, the profitability and the value of assets (current and non-current). The finance person tasked with preparing these reports must have an understanding of the variety of statements and the accounting standards required.

The several different types of financial management and reporting are Statement of profit or loss and comprehensive income, Statement of financial position, Accounts that are to be paid (Creditors), Accounts from where funds are coming and Statement of transactions (Debtors). Financial reporting has to be done accurately by a sharp and diligent professional.

On the contrary, management reporting is key to assess a company’s operation and performance. Management accountants send monthly management reports to the CEO.

These inform stakeholders who in turn can better make decisions about the company’s profit points, performance, and tactical steps to benefit the company as a whole. The monthly reports that are sent to the management outline the company’s overall performance in the fiscal year. It is important that management reporting is done by a critical thinker to produce the best results.

Financial reporting includes external reports that require certain standards and guidelines to be followed. They demonstrate the company’s overall performance. Moreover, they facilitate easier comparison between successive financial years.

In contrast, management reporting includes internal reports, including information regarding banks, investors and CEOs. Flexible guidelines. Management reports demonstrate the company’s reports for segments. The way they help business forecasts the company’s future cannot go unmentioned.

In conclusion, it is important to note that management and financial reports are different. However, both are concerned with making a business viable. In order for a business to remain competitive sound financial and management reports are top priority.


Digital Marketing 101. Core things to know and why it matters in Zimbabwe

One thing about Marketing is that it is the most evolving field. This means if you aren’t into trends or can’t look around and monitor what’s happening around you, you will be left behind.

If we were in 1919, 100 years ago, a simple Newspaper advert would have been enough to keep your salespeople busy.

50 Years ago, in 1969, a simple television ad would help your business expand, helping you hire a dozen employees and get ahead of your industry.

10 years ago, in 2009, getting a website and spamming it with keywords related to what you are selling would have been more than enough to get you ahead and help you win.

There is one fact that still astounds me to date and it is the fact that marketing has changed more over the last 10 years than it did in the last 100 years combined.

Consider Africa, Zimbabwe to be specific. The internet research organization, places Zimbabwe’s Internet penetration rate as of December 2018 at 39.3 %. This means out of the total 17 million Zimbabwean’s existent today, about 7 million have access to the internet.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Social Media Market Share

What’s awesome is not the fact that the above people have access to the internet, it’s the fact that ZBC does not hit those kinds of numbers, prove me wrong!

If we are going to drill down on the above, there are some interesting stats that you will learn.

Hackernoon, one of the best Research organizations and sites says the average person spends 6 hours a day staring at their smartphone. This amounts to an average of 180 hours a month. What this effectively means is that the average person now spends most of his/her free time staring at their smartphone.

You are probably wondering what they will be doing? Well, Social Media, Mobile Gaming, Reading the Bible, YouTube Etc.

Now, this gets more interesting because if we drill down the numbers we’ll learn that a third of the time spend online by Zimbabweans and Africans, in General, is spent on Social Media and browsing Social Media Sites.

Internet Usage Times

Why are these numbers necessary?

I wanted you to get an appreciation of how much people are addicted to Digital Media, Social Media, and the internet in general.

The power of this is, you can show these people ads anytime whenever you want.

You can show them your ads as they browse the internet.

You can show them your ads as they watch videos on Youtube.

You can show them your ads as they play Games on their Phone.

You can show them your ads as they read the news online on websites like the One for the Herald and Newsday

You can show them your ads as they browse through their timeline on Facebook.

You can show them your ads as they Prepare to respond to a Facebook Message.

You can show them your ads on the lock screen of their phone.

You can show them your ads when they search on Google.

In short, you can show them your ads, anywhere, at any time as long as they are holding a mobile phone.

So what is Digital Marketing then? It’s the art of showcasing your products and services to people whilst they are relaxed and in the middle of doing what they love the most.

There is much to say when it comes to Digital Marketing and I’m going to make this a 3 month-long weekly series where we are going to cover the complete A-Z of Digital Marketing.

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