2024 Outlook: Tackling Key Challenges for Office Technology Dealers

Framing Your Approach

As the office tech space begins to hit its stride in 2024, we at SalesChain want to take a look ahead at the year to come and address three of the most pressing pain points facing office technology dealers. It’s no secret that Supply Chain and Inventory Issues, Digital Transformation, and Market Diversification have presented unique challenges for dealers. How can these challenges be addressed and leveraged into opportunities in 2024? In this week’s edition of The Link, we dive into these issues, offering comprehensive strategies to not only address the challenges but leverage them for growth and innovation.

1. Supply Chain and Inventory Management:

The fluctuating supply chain continues to be a hurdle. Dealers are grappling with limited machine availability and the complexities of maintaining a balanced inventory. Strategies to combat these challenges include:

  • Enhanced Supplier Relations:Building stronger relationships with manufacturers, such as the proactive communication efforts seen recently with Sharp, can offer dealers more transparency and assistance in navigating supply issues.
  • Advanced Catalog and Inventory Management:Implementing robust catalog and inventory management systems can help dealers predict demand more accurately and manage stock levels effectively, avoiding both shortages and overstocking.
  • Flexible Product Offerings:Expanding the product range to include alternative or complementary products can mitigate the risks of specific equipment shortages. Moreover, offering and tracking used equipment inventories can expand alternate product offerings and help alleviate inventory issues.

2. Digital Transformation and Technology Integration:

Digital transformation extends beyond the buzzwords we hear all the time. It embodies a shift in how office technology dealers operate and deliver value to customers. To do so, they must evaluate their unique business needs, find digital tools that fit, and make sure staff are comfortable implementing new processes.

  • Business Process Automation and Workflow Optimization:Utilizing tools for automating administrative tasks and customer management processes is vital. Systems like Docuware and eAutomate can streamline operations and improve efficiency but beware of the pitfalls of basing your workflow on disparate systems.
  • Diversifying Digital Solutions:Offering diversified and bundled solutions can be extremely daunting if your digital platforms are not suited to complex offerings. However, if implemented properly, digital and technological integration can make or break your ability to close complex and lucrative deals.
  • Educating and Training Staff:Continuously educating your workforce on digital trends and new technologies ensures that teams are well-equipped to support and sell these advanced solutions. It is critical to ensure your team always has ready access to the information, training, and resources they need to leverage the full capacity of these digital systems.

3. Market Diversification and Customer-Centric Approaches:

Adapting to market changes is essential for long-term success. Dealers need to adopt a more diversified and customer-focused approach.

  • Expanding Market Reach: Entering new markets, such as IT management, water, budget-friendly used equipment, and more can blow open new customer segments.
  • Bundled Solution Selling: Creating comprehensive packages that combine hardware, software, and services simplifies the buying process and enhances value for customers. Simply put, this means: Less paperwork, less haste, and more deals closed.
  • Enhanced Customer Engagement: Prioritizing customer needs and feedback, coupled with exceptional after-sales support, fosters loyalty and encourages repeat business. When you explore how to develop more connected relationships and feedback loops with your customers, you express with action your business’s commitment to meeting customer needs.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about our offering in 2024!

Key Takeaways

In Review: The office technology sector in 2024 is marked by rapid change and heightened competition. By effectively addressing supply chain and inventory issues, embracing digital transformation, diversifying market strategies, and staying attuned to emerging trends, office technology dealers can not only navigate these challenges but also harness them for business growth and innovation.

You Need a System That Does It All:

In the face of 2024’s challenges for office technology dealers, SalesChain emerges as a comprehensive solution that addresses each of these pain points directly.

  • Addressing Supply Chain and Inventory Management:With SalesChain’s advanced CRM and business intelligence tools, dealers can manage their inventory more efficiently, forecast demand accurately, and maintain optimal stock levels. This reduces the risks associated with supply chain disruptions and ensures that the right products are available when needed.
  • Facilitating Digital Transformation:SalesChain is at the forefront of embracing digital transformation. Its unified platform integrates CRM, CPQ, ERP, and more, simplifying and streamlining your operations. This integration enhances your ability to offer digital solutions, keeping you competitive in a rapidly evolving market.
  • Enabling Market Diversification:SalesChain’s bundled solution selling approach, which combines hardware, software, and services, allows dealers to diversify their product offerings. This not only taps into new customer segments but also adds value to existing client relationships.

SalesChain is not just a tool; we are a partner in your growth and adaptation to the dynamic office technology landscape. By choosing SalesChain, you’re equipping your business with a robust system that addresses today’s challenges while paving the way for tomorrow’s opportunities.

Ready to Learn More? –> https://meetings.hubspot.com/kimberly-young

The Power of Quality Data

Prepping Your Automation System for Success

In an era where digital innovation reigns supreme, office technology dealerships are consistently turning to digital automation platforms to streamline their operations. Competitive dealerships of today are harnessing the power of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) platforms. Yet, while the tools themselves are critical, there’s an underlying asset that can make or break their effectiveness: data quality.

The First Pillar of CRM/CPQ Success: Data Quality

When it comes to CRM and CPQ platforms, data is at the heart of every transaction, forecast, and customer interaction. However, not all data is created equal. Accurate, consistent, and up-to-date information empowers teams to make informed decisions, while poor-quality data can lead to missed opportunities and flawed strategies.

  • Enhanced Decision Making: Clean, high-quality data provides a clearer picture of your customers’ behaviors, needs, and patterns. This empowers sales teams to tailor their strategies, fostering stronger relationships and enhancing conversion rates.
  • Improved Operational Efficiency: Incorrect or obsolete data can lead to errors, which require time and resources to correct. By ensuring data accuracy from the get-go, office technology dealerships can streamline operations and reduce overhead costs.
  • Greater Trust in Analytics: With a solid data foundation, analytics and insights derived from CRM/CPQ platforms are more trustworthy. Teams can rely on this data to project future trends, adjust pricing strategies, and anticipate market shifts.

 

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Poor Data Quality

The risks associated with low-quality data can’t be overstated. Misleading data can result in misjudged market approaches, ineffective campaigns, and a potential loss of customer trust. For office technology dealerships, where margins can be tight and competition is fierce, these pitfalls can be disastrous.

It’s crucial for dealerships to adopt a proactive stance. Regular data audits, employee training on data entry, and integration of reliable data sources can help maintain the quality and integrity of data within CRM/CPQ platforms.

 

The Second Pillar of CRM/CPQ Success: Comprehensive Data Input

While CRM/CPQ systems are incredibly powerful, they can only be as powerful as the data fed into them. While data quality remains critical, the quantity – or rather, comprehensiveness – of data input plays an equally vital role. A common oversight in many dealerships is not the inclusion of incorrect data, but the omission of pertinent information.

Every Interaction Counts:

Every customer interaction, no matter how seemingly insignificant, offers invaluable insights into purchasing behaviors, preferences, and potential future needs. By not documenting every client interaction and proposal detail into your CRM/CPQ platform, dealerships inadvertently create gaps in their data sets.

  • Incomplete Analytics: Sparse data translates to incomplete analytics. If only 70% of client interactions are recorded, then the analytics derived represent just a fraction of the actual picture, potentially leading to misinformed strategies.
  • Reduced Predictive Accuracy: CRM/CPQ systems regularly use historical data to generate reports and illustrate trends. Missing data points can skew these projections, leading to potential missed opportunities or misinformed strategies.
  • Decision-Making in the Dark: For decision-makers, incomplete data is like trying to make your way through a room in the dark. Leaders, managers, and owners might have a vague idea of the layout, but with incomplete data, there will always be risk of missing or misjudging critical information.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is heading in 2023!

Embrace Holistic Data:

What is the solution to struggles with incomplete or unclean data? A shift in culture and training. Employees should be trained to view every client interaction as a valuable data point, understanding that each data entry enhances the system, and in turn, the sales process. More data = more accuracy = more potential for success. By ensuring that each detail is logged, office technology dealers can maximize the capabilities of their CRM/CPQ platform.

Positioning for the Future

As office technology continues to evolve, the importance of CRM/CPQ platforms and the quality of data within them will only grow. By prioritizing data quality now, dealerships not only safeguard their current operations but position themselves as industry leaders ready to tackle future challenges.

The SalesChain Difference

At SalesChain, we recognize the unparalleled value of reliable data. Our business workflow automation platform is designed not only to facilitate your CRM and CPQ needs but to ensure that the data driving them is of the highest quality. With over 20 years of experience catering to the specific needs of office technology dealerships, we understand the nuances and intricacies of your industry. Our platform is more than just a tool; it’s a partnership. Let SalesChain guide you in harnessing the true power of your data, positioning your dealership for lasting success in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Incorporating this holistic approach, SalesChain emphasizes both the depth and breadth of data. Our platform is designed to encourage comprehensive data input, ensuring that analytics are both accurate and representative. With every client interaction logged, you’ll witness the transformative power of complete data sets in action.

Click here to learn more about how SalesChain can support your journey.

Key Takeaways

Office technology dealers must effectively utilize a CRM system to compete in the industry today. With so many options available on the market, it can be hard to distinguish what might set one CRM apart from another. Remember, the effectiveness of any CRM system is determined by how well your team can use the platform.  

Effective onboarding practices from CRM providers can make or break the success of the platform within your business. By selecting a CRM provider that offers these features and practices, office technology dealers can increase the user adoption rate, improve productivity, and enhance customer satisfaction. 

SalesChain Releases Version 8.6, Featuring an upgraded Financial Breakdown Tool, Recurring Revenue Tracking, and a Full Leaf Commercial Capital Integration

Significant Upgrades >> Financial Services Screen  

  • We have a new financial breakdown to upgrade interaction with finance companies. 
  • We significantly enhanced lease upgrade and buyout capabilities to allow users to individually select assets from one or more finance companies to segregate and detail buyout processes.  
  • Linked to new service takeover tool, analysis tool, and TCO tool.  

Significant Update >> Recurring Revenue Tracking 

  • We have added the ability to define “Recurring Revenue” catalog items. 
  • We added a breakout column on the pricing grid to allow for the mixing of revenue and recurring revenue-based products. 
  • Dedicated pricing/proposal generation tool for water and other advanced product

 

New>> Leaf Commercial Capital Integration 

  • SalesChain has implemented a major integration with Leaf Commercial Capital, featuring: 
    • Portfolio synchronization 
    • Credit application submittal 
    • Automated credit decision retrieval and notification 

Evolved Office Integration  

  • This is a major integration that includes campaign creation, workflow notifications, and more. 

 

Other Enhancements in this Update

New>> Canon Configurator Shortcut 

  • We added a shortcut under the “Sales” menu to Canon’s Configurator Portal

 

BETA>> Canon Financial Services  

  • We have developed an automated API to manage the lease portfolio. 

 

Great America Leasing Integration 

  • We added a variable setting to enforce the finance company requirements of specific data before allowing the users to submit credit applications via the SalesChain API leasing portal.  
  • In this case, GAL requested that a phone number and internal contact be provided to speed up processing times. 

 

Service Takeover (FM Audit Import) 

  •  We have added the ability for sales reps to import FMAudit sourced DCA (Data Collection Agent) reports within the service takeover utility saving the time and effort of manual entry. 

Make Public Views  

  • We added the ability to create “Public” views so that with our popular views feature, manager and admin users can create useful views and share them with others in the company. 

Expanded Order Fulfillment Workflow  

  • This notifications feature will include dynamic HTML based email templates with expanded data merge capabilities.  
  • Communicate order status changes to sales and operations more clearly and with more detailed information. 
  • Added flexibility for better operational workflow by allowing tailored messaging to the right people involved in fulfilling orders. 
  • More informed employees make more informed customers, which makes happier customers. 

Order Status Change History  

  • We added a table to the OBD general table that shows the history of the order status changes. We also added a new popup note entry field so that when a user changes the status of an order, they can enter an optional note to describe what/why the change is being made. [@workflow, @communication] 

Tiered/Scaled Commission Rates  

  • We enhanced our tiered commission scaling to allow for “Cap” and “Floor” settings which provide limits and consequences based on performance and commission level. Dealers can offer a “Skinny Deal” commission schedule with a floor of X that below pays zero or high level that pays zero to force the sales rep to switch to the next level plan. 

Scaled Commissions  

  • We added a scaling mechanism to the percentage-based commission role to allow for dollar-based tiers for computing commissions. For example, if you wish to pay a referral fee based on deal size, you may create tiered ranges of 0 – 10k, 10k – 20k, etc…. and pay more for larger deals. [@commissions] 

Link Price Level with Commission Level 

  • We added a feature to optionally set the commission level on an order based on the selected price level. This allows the dealer to publish special pricing levels with specific commission plans. It also eliminates the need for the sales rep to select the right plan for a special deal.  

Service Chargeback  

  • This will be limited to a certain number of months based on the contract term. 

Lease Desk  

  • We expanded the filtering to include the Sales Rep Category so that dealers that are selling multiple products (like IT and Water and Mail) can view the lease portfolio from their perspective. Water sales reps want to see water leases. [@bundled, @water, @forecasting] 
  • Sales reps can access data specific to their needs and not have to sort through other data, thus saving time. 

Credit Desk  

  • We add the save preferences “Cog” feature to further allow users to customize their use of SalesChain by saving preferences. 

Pickup & Movement Dispositions  

  • We added an admin user maintenance option so that Dealers can customize the disposition types. Prior to this, the values were hard coded by SalesChain. 

Block Of Time & E-Automate Sales Order Create  

  • We added the block of time schedule to the sales order within e-Automate, further integrating the two systems. We also expanded the data merge properties available for seamless document creation. [@blockoftime, @eautomate, @documentation, @integrations] 

Order Desk  

  • We added Credit Status filtering criteria to the Order Desk providing more flexibility in searching orders by their credit status. A credit status indicator was added for each order to clearly present information as to the credit status of orders. [@creditprocessing, @workflow, @informationsharing] 

E-Sign  

  • We removed the CC and BCC properties from the email template when sending a request for signature. These fields were previously locked, making it unnecessary to view them. 

User Activity Reporting  

  • We added the ability to create User Activity Groups, which sum the combined value of actions. This allows managers to add columns to the activity summary report that shows “Touches” as the sum of Phone Calls, In Person Prospecting, and Customer Care Calls.  

Prospect Classification  

  • We added logic to the proposal and order pricing tool to allow users to manipulate the prospect classification properties from within the General tab of the OBD. This way reps can update properties to better manage their forecasting and sales metrics without having to go into other forms. 

E-Automate Configurations  

  • We added a feature to allow dealers to utilize the e-Automate Configurations within the IT Products catalog lookup utility to accommodate dealers that have configured technology catalogs such as Point of Sales Production within the DQM project module.  

Recurring Revenue  

  • We have added the ability to define “Recurring Revenue” catalog items and have added a breakout column on the pricing grid to allow for the mixing of revenue and recurring revenue-based products. 

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Company Activity History – We fixed an issue where appointments that were synchronized from Microsoft Exchange were showing as unrecognizable “plain text HTML” instead of a properly translated message.  
  • Customer & Customer Target Viewer – We added the “Does Not Contain” criteria to the grid filters. 
  • Service Pricing Bundles – We fixed an issue where when only color meters were bundled the documents did not show the black/white meters correctly. 
  • OBD IT Products Grid – we fixed an issue that was not allowing users to enter decimal values. 
  • Ingram Micro Quote Import – we fixed an issue where duplicate IT catalog items were being created. 

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

SalesChain Version 8.4 Featuring New Evolved Office Integration, ConnectWise Integration Enhancements, Microsoft Word Enhancements

New>> Evolved Office Integration  

This capable and easy-to-use integration, developed with the design guidance of Evolved Office CEO Marc Spring, allows dealers to maximize the power and potential of effective marketing, communication, and lead generation.  

This integration allows end users to:  

  • Create campaigns. 
  • View activity. 
  • Seamlessly open and view Evolved Office from within SalesChain. 
  • Search to target interested prospects. 

 

Significant Updates>> ConnectWise Integration 

As we’ve rolled out our IT integrations and pricing tools with larger IT dealers, we have been able to add a great deal of sophistication and broader features to our ConnectWise Manage integration, enhancing the details available to our dealers.  

We added a feature to allow documents such as sales orders, agreements, and others that are generated (and possibly e-signed) to be pushed into ConnectWise Manage.   This is as much a workflow utility as it is a document tool. The ability to have a single secure location for document storage will be of great assistance to dealers.  

  • Documents are converted into PDFs and pushed into ConnectWise.  
  • Attachments can be carried over to ConnectWise in their native formats such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. 

  • We expanded the integration to ConnectWise Manage (CW) to allow opportunity product types.  For example, if an IT request is submitted for managed services, it can be placed on a different board than VOIP or telephony. 
  • We added the ability to select or create contacts on the fly while pushing an order to CW. 
  • We added security privileges to the CW push buttons on the customer and order forms to limit access to this functionality.  The CW numbers for the relative records will always be displayed if they exist. 

 

NEW>> Edit Documents in Microsoft Word 

  • Our document generation and editing tools have received major upgrades, starting with the ability to allow select document templates, such as proposals, to be exported from SalesChain in .docx format for editing in MS Word. 
  • This change applies to non-legal documents only. SalesChain will not allow legal documents to be exported in editable formats to ensure the security and viability of legal terms and conditions.   

NOTE: If Word-enabled and non-Word-enabled documents are combined into a single package, the entire package will be locked and export to Word will not be enabled for the package. 

  • To make this distinction clear, we’ve added a “W” indicator next to document templates that are MS Word enabled. 

Other Enhancements in this Update

NEW>> SalesChain Learn 

  • SalesChain is announcing the release of a new online learning format titled “SalesChain Learn.” This online platform contains a series of courses that allow busy sales representatives, managers, and administrative staff, who require an efficient and effective way to get up to speed quickly, to engage in self-directed training. 
  • The platform’s courses cover many aspects of the SalesChain system – including basic navigation, CRM, and CPQ, as well as management functions. More courses are on the way as we continue to expand the project. 

New>> Tiered Commissions Schedule

  • We expanded our commission utility to include a new feature that allows dealers to define a “Tiered Schedule” for commission rates. Managers can now create a stepped structure for commission. For example, if the sales rep order generates a given range of achievement (in GP or Revenue for example), they may earn a given value or percentage of that base.

Customer Profile Targeting Viewer

  • We’ve added columns to the Customer Profile Target Viewer for each of our 6 priority contacts. Each of these columns displays the priority contact’s name, email, and title. The priority contact type is displayed in the column header.
  • The industry column, which contains the SIC code description, was renamed to SIC Description to avoid confusion. An Industry Groups column (Which represents filtering for multiple SIC codes) was also added to correspond to the drop-down search on the left for Industry Groups.

Task Viewer User Interface

  • We created a new version of the Task Viewer form as part of the continuation of our interface redevelopment project.

IT Products Catalog Lookup

  • We modified the drop-down selection lists for MFG, Vendor, and Model to only show values that have existing catalog items for the criteria selected.

Managed Services Product Lookup

  • We expanded the search options within the grid to include “Contains”, “Equals”, “Not Equal”, and “Begins With”.

ZoomInfo Integration

  • We’ve expanded the amount of data that can be returned from ZoomInfo. Many dealers are utilizing ZoomInfo to cleanse and augment their customer and prospecting data.  This upgrade includes added social media links to the Customer Profile form for Linked In, Zoom Info, and Twitter.

Forecast 30-60-90

  • We modified this report to provide the option to view by month or by dates out from today.

Forecast by Status

  • We updated this report as part of the user interface upgrade project.

Sales Rep Activity Detail Report

  • We added the ability to include Private Groups criteria in this report. Administrative users may view and use private groups of users within their hierarchy.

Customer Profile

  • We modified the form to enforce the rule of the e-Auto locked field. Previously, users would be allowed to edit name, address, county, etc. but when saved, the database would not actually be updated.  After saving, the view form was not updated to show the user that the fields were not actually updated, causing a false presentation of the data.

Bulk Import Utilities

  • As more dealers join the SalesChain family, more data from varying sources is being imported into our system. Over the past year, we’ve greatly expanded our data import utilities to expedite this data migration.  Here are just a few of the recent enhancements:
    • Importation of company, contact, and contract documentation from ConnectWise Manage
    • Complete CRM conversions for Microsoft Dynamics, and SalesForce.com

Document Generation

  • We have added several new data merge fields that include:
  • Subtotal and subtotal rollup data merge properties for bundled solutions.
  • Added CM merge fields to delivery job documentation.
  • We added rollover document logic for document management and scanning service templates.
  • We added an icon to the OBD Documents form that allows users to generate an e-Sign History report for document packages marked for e-Sign.

Fixes and Tweaks

  • We modified the prospect/opportunity save process to update the probability of close percent based on the associated value of the prospect status. 
  • We fixed the e-Auto serial number pull within the OBD Delivery Job form. 
  • We fixed an issue with Tasks that was causing the incorrect time to display.  
  • We improved the messaging that is returned by Microsoft Azure Single Sign-On when credentials are not able to be validated. 
  • We fixed an issue with the Managed Services Product Lookup form that was causing the total count to not refresh when searching criteria is entered.  We also fixed an issue with the quantity and sell price search fields. 
  • We fixed an issue with the naming convention of the Hawaiian Standard Time zone that was causing times to display incorrectly. 
  • We added a safety mechanism to our DLL Integration to trap connectivity errors when synchronizing the nightly lease portfolios. 

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

Details Matter: 5 CRM Details to Help You Build Better Relationships

The Customer Is the Main Character in Your Story

Every business enterprise is unique and each one has its own story.  However, they all have a story based on striving to succeed by reaching, retaining, and continuously providing quality service to their customer base.  To be successful, a company must focus on the client’s experience – they are the main character in the story!

If you want to engage people, you need to find ways to show you understand them and are willing to remember the small details of your relationship with them over long periods of time.  Maintaining these relationships requires the tools to build meaningful interactions.  This is the key to providing ongoing and exceptional customer service.   Clients need to know that your business connections with them are important and meaningful to you and that your company is willing to cultivate and nurture these interactions.  The more you do this, the more engaged your clients will be, ensuring long-term beneficial relationships.

The most effective tool to help in this process is Customer Relationship Management software or CRM.  For the past twenty years, SalesChain has helped business automation industry customers remember the little things about their clients, through our exceptional CRM tools.  They provide a platform for tracking interactions and maintaining and improving customer relationships.  Details like remembering to wish their clients a happy birthday or remembering their daughter’s name help the top 1% of salespeople build the most powerful relationships in their database.  It is easy for different departments within a company to contribute to that database in a digital world.  Rather than having to keep written notes on customer data, all employees can access and use electronic records to better understand their targeted group of customers.   Sharing the same data helps departments work seamlessly together to improve product development, marketing campaigns, and order fulfillment.

Here are five small things that you can do for your customers that will show them how much you care.

1) Remember the Details of the Deal

Your customers should not have to repeat information, because you do not have it at your fingertips!  A CRM system offers easy access to key data, such as name, position in the company, email address, phone numbers, birthday, postal address, website, and social media accounts.  An exceptional CRM system goes way beyond these basic facts, highlighting details of every interaction with a customer in any format (phone call, business meeting, email, or voice mail message, targeted marketing, invoices, orders, customer service requests, etc.).  One of the best ways to show a customer how much their business means to you is by remembering the fine-print details of every interaction with them.

With the SalesChain system, diligent salespeople and managers can enter notes on deals, leads, and numerous other aspects of client accounts, that identify their needs for office technology.  This facilitates more personalized communication with a contact.  Rather than merely entering the details of a sales proposal, noting the intrinsic reasons why someone might want a particular piece of technology can help personalize and humanize a sales pitch.  Being able to reference their existing equipment and know the challenges they face shows that you care.   SalesChain software incorporates a direct integration to e-Automate, placing this data automatically under the “Book of Business” tab in every customer account.  As you progress through the steps of a sale, referencing changes in pricing, credits, and accessories, as well as recommending the newest technology can build your client’s confidence in your industry knowledge while assuring them that their best interests are top of mind.

2) Check in On Important Dates

Any important date can be an opportunity to spark a conversation.  High-performing salespeople realize this and are consistent in using special occasions to check in on their clients.  Whether it is an anniversary, birthday, holiday, a personal achievement, or an upcoming life event (for example, a new baby or a child going off to college) recognizing special occasions helps build a connection between you and your client and shows them you care.  After all, these important dates hold meaning in the lives of clients.  Acknowledging them opens the lines of communication to gain better insight into client’s lives and potential business needs.  Clients are more likely to do business with someone they are comfortable with and feel understood by.

What is a practical way to use CRM to manage these dates?  Try adding recurring tasks in SalesChain’s task management system.  This will remind you to contact key clients on their birthdays or other important dates.  This is one easy way to strengthen these relationships and provide opportunities to further potential business deals.  When you know who you are addressing, you can consciously tailor your conversation, checking in on customer service needs or even initiating a new sales pitch.   Since these are still client relations contacts, you can log a few bonus activities in the system just by building on your client relationships!

 

“If you place the emphasis on getting the little things right, and address the everyday problems that come up, you can encourage a culture of attention to detail.”

– Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin

3) Leverage Networking Connections and References

A quality CRM tool makes it easy to build a database that includes mutual connections between your clients and potential clients.  A great way to build immediate rapport with a new customer is to mention existing mutual business associates.  There are many sources for building this contact list, including the individual that put you in contact with the new prospect, LinkedIn or other social media connections, or a mutual friend (whether inside or outside of the industry to which your company belongs).  If your client realizes that a mutual contact holds you in respect, they are more likely to trust your business acumen and pursue an order or other business deal with your company.

SalesChain helps you to leverage the power of these connections.  Using groups and demographic information intelligently in SalesChain can help find the common ground between existing customers and potential new ones.  Taking the time to build a comprehensive database in our system gives salespeople an easy reference point when they make sales calls.

4) Ask Questions About Kids, Pets, Hobbies, Etc.

Good salespeople are good conversationalists.  Like a great friend, they remember details about their client’s personal life, and ask questions to encourage communication.  Over the course of a business deal, numerous direct client interactions take place.  These should always be pleasant and personal.  All customers respond better to friendly banter than to hard-sell tactics!  A salesperson will accrue a large amount of information about a client over the lifetime of a sale.  Taking the time to learn and document this information (both personal and business-related) pays off by strengthening a hopefully long-term business association.

High-achieving salespeople also seek out opportunities to engage in mutual hobbies.  There is a reason that taking a client golfing or out to a baseball game has become a cliché.  Since everyone enjoys the company of people who share their interests, it is wise to take time to get to know your clients as people and look for authentically shared pastimes, such as sports, music, or television programs.  SalesChain software has embedded note-taking tools that can facilitate relationship development.  Add notes to a client file that reference personal information, so that you can be informed and demonstrate genuine and detailed interest.

5) Remember Their Job Title, Employer, and Career Goals

All employees like to be recognized for their status and importance to their companies.  In today’s business environment, a valued employee is also looking to advance their portfolios and their careers.  Expressing an interest in the career trajectory of a potential client builds a deeper level of personal connection to that person.  LinkedIn makes it easy to keep up with clients’ professional lives and SalesChain makes it easy to see company hierarchies.  These tools can therefore help you remember why someone is in the role that they are in, as well as where they hope to be in the future.  Once again, this provides the savvy salesperson with friendly talking points.  If a client changes careers, or simply changes their job, you should be able to reach out to them to offer encouragement or congratulations.  Therefore, it is important to document electronic notes on both personal information and on the company that a client represents.

It’s All About Building A Connection

When you take the time to build more personal connections with your clients, they will most likely think of your product or service first when they need it, and this will ultimately win you more sales.  More information helps you target clients more specifically.  It is easier to sell to a customer when you have been tracking their buying habits.  SalesChain’s CRM system gives you complete customer interaction history, allowing salespeople to anticipate customer requirements.  Being proactive allows you to offer the right products and services exactly when they are needed.  Remember, they are the main characters in your business story. It is never about you, or your next deal, rather it is always about them and what is happening in their lives.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.