Posts Tagged ‘Linkedin’


What is CRM Customer Relationship Management Database and Why You Need One

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

What is a CRM Customer Relationship Management?

A CRM is a model for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service and technical support.

Wikipedia
 
There are so many names for the same thing! Sometimes it’s confusing!
 
You may also hear a CRM Customer Relationship Management referred to as a database. Lead generation, list building, prospecting and new business development are all different names for the process of looking for new prospects and generating the opportunities that become sales.

CRM Rolodex Lead Generation List building
 
 
Why is a CRM important for the growth of your company?
 
What’s the RISK of NOT having a CRM?


Many of the smaller independent business owners I work with haven’t bought CRM Customer Relationship Management software to organize their interactions with the current and future customers/prospects of their company. Even when their company is larger and they have CRM Customer Relationship Management software loaded onto their company’s computer server and they’ve been entering information into it, many times a large portion of the information hasn’t been kept up to date.

The question that comes up in my mind is – If they’re not using their CRM Customer Relationship Management to collect and store vital information about their relationship with prospects and customers, where are they storing this information?
 
Here are the top two places I discovered.
 
LinkedIn – Today with the growth of the internet and social business networking, many business professionals are using the online social media platform Linkedin to start the conversation with prospects and stay connected with customers.

A recent article in Fast Company magazine noted this statistic – Every second two new members join Linkedin the social network for professionals. This internet platform continues to grow with groups, blogs and job listings.

Linkedin has become a rich source of information and conversation online for business professionals who want to connect with others, stay on top of news in their industry, find new employees, research products and services and/or showcase their company’s products and services to generate sales opportunities.

eMail – I’m sure many business owners and their sales team can relate. We meet someone and the first two things we do is connect with them on Linkedin and send a ‘Nice to meet you’ email either within Linkedin or through Outlook.

With so much interaction happening on Linkedin and within Outlook emails I discovered these two have essentially become the new CRM Customer Relationship Management.

In essence we’ve witnessed the birth of – The ad hoc CRM Customer Relationship Management and by default the ad hoc prospecting and follow up process to generate sales opportunities.

Why do I say – ad hoc?

First both of these systems Linkedin and eMail are either completely outside of the company’s CRM Customer Relationship Management (LinkedIn) or a large portion is outside (email on mobile phones).

This means vital information about how the conversation started and how the relationship with prospects developed through follow up, is not being captured within the CRM Customer Relationship Management. As a result this vital information about new business development is slipping right through the company’s new business development net and is not being captured, researched and documented.

When this happens new business only shows up within the company’s internal systems once the relationship develops into a sale. At that point the only details captured are about the outcome of the prospecting/new business development process – the sale – as it moves into the company accounting and/or production software program as an order. The details about how the sale happened are not captured.
 
Why does this matter?

Why is a CRM Customer Relationship Management important for the growth of your business?

Remember at the beginning when Wikipedia defined a CRM Customer Relationship Management as managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers? A CRM does this by keeping all the information about prospect and customer interactions in one central place where all company departments can access the information and develop best practices from it.

As a result the CRM Customer Relationship Management software tracks all of the conversations and activities prior to the sale and provides the sales team with valuable insight about how the prospect conversation started and the steps that led to a sale or another outcome. This information can also be used to generate sales statistical reporting that helps sales management fine tune the prospecting/new business development process and weed out methods which are missing the mark and not producing sales opportunities.

Move To The Next Level – Automate

Once sales management has identified the optimal prospecting/new business process the next step is to use this information to develop best practices.

Developing best practices sets the stage to move to the next level – automating the prospecting and follow up process. This is where the best practices form the basis to create a series of connected conversations that can be loaded into the CRM Customer Relationship Management and become the foundation for your back office Follow Up Marketing ENGINE.

This supports the sales team efforts to be consistent about using those best practices to engage prospects in conversation and helps senior management to synchronize the efforts of other teams within the company. For example marketing, customer service and technical support to support those best practices and contribute to generating more sales opportunities.

When all the pieces of the CRM Customer Relationship Management are synchronized they accelerate the prospecting/new business development process. At the same time synchronization also positions your company as the expert while also nurturing relationships and building trust. All with less effort and producing measurable results.

THE BONUS – Setting this up also filters out the tire kickers to fill your pipeline with qualified prospects ready for you to turn into new clients.
 

Here’s the RISK of NOT having a CRM Customer Relationship Management.

If you don’t using a CRM Customer Relationship Management but rely on LinkedIn, Outlook, the accounting software or the production program, be aware that these tools do not have the capability to organize all the important details about the prospect relationship leading to the sale into one place. These are simply not a CRM.

Linkedin is an online social business networking platform, Outlook is an email and calendar software program and the accounting software tracks monetary transactions such as supplier invoices and client’s purchases and the production software tracks when the order will be delivered.

As I noted earlier, the online conversation contains the initial steps of the sales process, the prospecting and follow up stages where we started the conversation and developed the relationship.

If you don’t use a CRM Customer Relationship Management you’ll need an alternative methodology to develop best practices, put them in place and monitor their use so the internal teams don’t get off track putting into practice the proven best methods.

Additionally if you’re not using a CRM Customer Relationship Management to capture the details about how the relationship developed you’ll also need an alternative methodology and extra effort to create the sales statistical reporting.

Ultimately the risk is that important details about the development of the relationship during the prospecting process will become lost inside Outlook folders (often under an irrelevant subject line), locked within the confines of someone’s personal Linkedin profile or buried in the detail lines of an order.
 
Keeping Prospect Information Within Your CRM Customer Relationship Management is Still the Best Policy.
 
If you’re thinking of launching a CRM Customer Relationship Management within your company here are a few options

  • BUY your own software and load it onto your company’s computer server.
    This is a basically a one time purchase where you OWN your CRM. I often recommend ACT – Activities, Contacts and Time because it’s low in cost, very powerful, integrates well with Outlook and has a strong certified consultant technical support base.
  •  

  • RENT the software and access it online. This is called SAS (software as a service) and has a monthly fee attached to it. One online service to investigate is Solve360 which works well with Gmail and Constant Contact.

 
As with any product or service for your business, each has it’s benefits and challenges. The best practice is to investigate various options before deciding which is best for your company’s specific needs.
 
A Few Things to Consider

    Maintenance

  • When you BUY the software you have to maintain it with updates and technical support.
  • When you RENT the software the vendor does the maintenance and technical support.
  •  
    Users in single or multi locations?

  • How will you be using the CRM?
    From from a single location or do you need users to be able to access the CRM online?
  • One final note – If you’re considering an online service be aware that you’re entering your data into a CRM solution that doesn’t belong to you. Therefore you’re not in charge of how the service or pricing may change in the future. If you do decide to change vendors you’ll need to get your data off the current online system and into the new format.

 

Are you ready to discuss what would be best for your company’s business development needs and/or how the CRM system can form the foundation for creating best practices and preparing for automating your prospecting and follow up process?

Take your next step Contact Cheryl to start the conversation by booking your FREE Follow Up Audit of your current business development methods.

Have a great week turning leads into sales.
 



The Follow Up Specialist
Prospecting Mastery Mentor
 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Kickstart Your Company is a business development training, business growth strategies and business building mastermind company that helps you grow your business.

Our Business Growth Positioning System is an advanced in person and on line marketing formula that harnesses EVERY contact & increases sales opportunities. Through a series of progressive steps you’ll learn how to identify your expertise, the foundation of your unique personal brand and package it into a sales winning formula of connected conversations that Kickstart Your Company!

How You Can Become a TOP 1% of Linkedin Profiles To Grow Your Business

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

When I joined Linkedin, the online social networking website for business professionals, in March 2007 it wasn’t common business practice.

In fact, when I mentioned Linkedin during business networking events, I often heard the comment  “I get emails about joining Linkedin all the time! I just ignore them!”  followed by the question  “Why would I want to sign up for Linkedin? Isn’t it just like Facebook?

Over the 10 years since Linkedin launched, business professionals from every industry and at every level of the business organization have joined Linkedin to take their professional network online and gain access to the wealth of social business networking opportunities.

 

During that time LinkedIn has grown to 200 million members.

In  February 2013 I received an email letting me know my Linkedin Profile was one of the TOP 1% of
most viewed Linkedin profiles for  2012.

 

Along the way to the 200 million member mark, Linkedin has become the top ‘go to’ online destination to leverage more business referrals and opportunities. Human Resource professionals research potential new hires and job seekers access the hidden job market. Business owners and business professionals go there to gather marketplace intelligence and connect with potential prospects and clients to grow their business.

Linkedin is the largest business professional’s network on the internet and it can help you to be found and to find other business professionals you want to be introduced to. You can use Linkedin to market your company and services and uncover partnerships with which you can collaborate to accomplish your goals.

Chances are, you’ve joined Linkedin and started to grow your online business network. You’ve probably set up your Personal Linkedin Profile, connected with business professionals you know and used the search bar to find and connect with people you’ve met during business networking and trade show events.

Today smart business professionals know that Linkedin should be an important part of their online marketing and business growth strategies.

The Linkedin platform can help you

  • Develop new business connections and grow your list
  • Cultivate a community from which you can obtain advice to handle business challenges and
  • To which you can offer your expert knowledge to help others and develop the know, like trust you factor
  • Promote your company to more prospects and develop warm contacts to win more sales with less effort
  • Market your services in a way that is NOT salesy, doesn’t involve cold calling and develops new client opportunities
  • Form part of your sales winning follow up formula of connected conversations that GROW your business

Unfortunately, although many business professionals are on Linkedin, the majority don’t know how to leverage this online social networking platform to build their list of prospects, or market their company to drive traffic from Linkedin to grow their sales. In fact over 50% say they believe they have made NO money from the time they’ve invested into Linkedin.

If you are not sure how to optimize your use of Linkedin, I’d like to share with you 3 of the follow up marketing strategies I’ve developed to monetize the time I’ve invested into developing both my Linkedin Personal Profile and the Company Profile for my business Kickstart Your Company.

Use these 3 Follow Up Marketing Strategies to optimize your use of Linkedin, the social business network, to become one of the TOP 1% of Linkedin Profiles and grow your business.

 

Strategy #1 – Build Follow Up Messages

I’ve developed messages to use when I accept invitations to connect and to thank people for endorsing or recommending me on Linkedin. I call these messages Follow Up Connection Tools and they form the foundation of my Follow Up Marketing ENGINE.
(learn more about creating your ENGINE)

Following up in this way may sound pretty basic, but a recent recipient of one of my thank you messages, shared with me that of the more than 200 people he had endorsed, I was one of only two people who had thanked him!

Thanking people is not only a foundational principle of any social interaction it’s key to building the know, like trust you factor so critical to winning sales.  Additionally, peer recognition is an important component of letting your business community know you are an expert in your field. Make sure you let them know you appreciate their endorsement.

Strategy # 2 – Ask For Recommendations

When you have success with a client or help someone in you community, take a moment to ask them to put it in writing by recommending you on Linkedin. Recommendations provide potential clients and referral partners with social proof. You can tell your PAR (Problem Action Result) stories all day long but when the facts are documented by a 3rd party, it makes ALL the difference to whether you are credible or not.

The flip side to this strategy is to give recommendations. Thou shalt not only receive but also give.

Strategy #3 – Offer Your Connections The Next Step

One of the first things I learned in sales was to always offer prospects a next step. This not only lets people know what to do next but also invites them to move into a closer relationship with you. You want the business right? Remove the guesswork – let people know what to do next!

Here is an example of a next step. I developed a Business Growth Strategies Report called, You’ve Worked The Room – Now What? Please pick up your copy in the top right hand corner of this web page.

 

Use these 3 social networking strategies to power up your social selling using LinkedIn. You’ll maximize the time you’ve invested into building your Personal and Company Linkedin Profiles and move towards becoming one of the TOP 1% of Linkedin Profiles to grow your business.

I have a wealth of strategic resources ready to share with you. To gain access to advanced in person & on line marketing strategies proven to MAXIMIZE the sales potential buried in your prospect list, I invite you to take the next step.  Pick up your Business Growth Strategies Report on this website and connect with me through my Linkedin Profile. 

If you’re interested in developing Your LinkedIn Power Profile and learning how to push you LinkedIn Profile to become a top viewed profile, simply Contact Cheryl to start the conversation.

 
Have a great week turning leads into sales,



The Follow Up Specialist
Prospecting Mastery Mentor

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Kickstart Your Company is a business development training, business growth strategies and business building mastermind company that helps you grow your business.

Our Business Growth Positioning System is an advanced in person and on line marketing formula that harnesses EVERY contact & increases sales opportunities. Through a series of progressive steps you’ll learn how to identify your expertise, the foundation of your unique personal brand and package it into a sales winning formula of connected conversations that Kickstart Your Company!

 

About Cheryl Scoffield, The Follow Up Specialist

While Cheryl has established herself as The Follow Up Specialist, many of her clients think of her as the follow up marketing engine specialist, because of her expertise helping small to medium sized companies integrate the new online business building techniques into their traditional offline selling strategies. Cheryl’s business development training programs show her clients how to multiply the results of their marketing initiatives. She helps them create Follow Up Connection Tools and the back office delivery system, their Signature Follow Up Marketing ENGINE.

Your ENGINE almost runs itself to keep you in connected conversations that filter out tire kickers & fill your pipeline with a steady stream of sales ready pre qualified prospects you can turn into clients.