Having the right information about your customers can help to seal a deal. Whether you use CRM (customer relationship management) software or simply keep good paper records, there are four key types of information that can help you make a sale. Rachel Miller reports
Previous customer interactions
Selling is about relationships. Being able to recall previous customer dealings and conversations is really useful, even when the last contact may have been weeks or even months before. With the right background information, you can provide a more targeted and personal service and you'll significantly boost your chances of making a sale. A CRM system can help here - it captures information every time there is communication with a customer, logging everything from phone calls to emails. So a sales person can bring up details of all these interactions at the touch of a button.
Previous buying behaviour
Analysis of buying trends can be very revealing. Looking back over past sales can reveal trends and buying cycles. By spotting patterns, you can target the right sales message to the right person at the right time. It can also help you identify key characteristics about your customers allowing you to identify more potential customers matching that profile.
A CRM system holds up to date information and, at any time, it can provide an accurate snapshot of your customers and your business. That real-time analysis enables you to spot trends and then shift focus and resources where they are most needed.
If you are a business-to-business firm, you need to do your homework about prospective clients before you start pitching to them. Information about companies can be gleaned from websites, external directories and reports. These can give you valuable data and information on company revenues, new developments and future plans. They will also tell you who the top executives are and give useful background on them.
Previous sales methods
Looking at past sales can be very instructive. What was the approach that helped to win that piece of business? By learning from previous successful sales you can improve your sales rates and raise your game. This is another area where a CRM system can help and some will enable you to search your records for similar deals to the one you are working on (by sector, client type or product, for example) and offer insight into how those deals were successfully concluded. With these recommendations, sales people are likely to increase their conversion rates dramatically.