In order to succeed—let alone survive—the field of account management must be dynamic. This is now more than ever a fact, considering that the internet has become part and parcel of everyday life and business. Following right along, this modus operandi must also apply to contact management and contact management software.
Constant State of Flux
It was the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus who said,
Nothing is permanent except change – Heraclitus
Despite this wisdom having been around for so long, many still do not heed its implications. In a way similar to others in all walks of life, some companies and sales departments have kind of brushed aside this fact and held onto “tried and true” sales pitches, approaches, sales processes and CRM software solutions.
Today, however, the internet has made such a way of life completely obsolete. You now have customers that can fully research the solutions they are seeking, bypassing the learning curve that 10 years ago you would have brought to them and they would have looked to you for. They can readily obtain the information they need and form their own conclusions, and in the end may only contact you for a price quote. This takes your sales pitch right out of the equation, and puts you and your sales team at somewhat of an effect.
Becoming a Cause
The first lesson a sales force operating in today’s environment must learn is: fully understand your prospect or customer. While that certainly means doing some online research about your target and their industry, savvy salespeople know it goes far beyond that. It means actually getting in and talking to the people or types of people you will be selling to. It means buying some lunches or meeting for drinks. It means touring facilities. It means really looking and listening.
The result of such tasks well-accomplished means that you have allied yourself with your prospect or customer and are actually helping them. You have truly learned their needs and can fulfill them. Such measures will not be taken lightly by those you are selling to.
The second lesson is that, just as the needs, operations and organization of your target customer or prospect can change, so must your sales process—the exact series of steps your salespeople must take from prospect to close. In fact it was found in a recent study by CSO Insights that the companies with the highest success rates operated with a dynamic sales process. In other words, it changed smoothly along with market and customer requirements.
Combining the two of these—understanding your customer and having a dynamic sales process—means having your finger on the pulse of your market. You can anticipate changes and quickly adapt your methodologies to accommodate them, staying well ahead of the curve—and the competition.
Contacts and Account Management
None of this will be fully possible, however, if your CRM and account management solution doesn’t follow along and dovetail with your processes. It must be able to change along with your sales processes and understanding of your clients. If it doesn’t, your salespeople will be trying to “fit a square peg in a round hole.” They’ll be attempting to adapt your new, workable sales processes into a CRM that is still running the old way, or fit a new picture of your customer or market into the old portrait resident in your automation. The only result that can come of that is confusion and wasted time.
A CRM and account management solution must, from the getgo, be flexible enough allow you to work with your particular sales process or processes. It must then allow you to make needed changes on the fly. Most importantly, such a solution must be intuitive so that salespeople and system administrators don’t lose valuable time that should be spent attaining company goals.
Today, it’s a dynamic world. Learn to flow with its changes and win.