10 Habits of Using a CRM System that Produces Results!

To many times I see a good CRM system being used as just a database list of names.  I hear how it really doesn’t do anything to help generate and follow-up on leads. 

If you make it a habit to use it every day it will help you generate and close new leads.  How? 

Here are 10 habits for using a CRM system.

  1. Use the calendar.  Start adding tasks to contacts you need to communicate with today this week, next week and later this month.  Schedule calls, tasks, meetings, etc…  Make sure you add reminders to your activities so it can help you be on top of what you need to do each day.
  2. Record your completed activities with notes so you can easily review your progress.  Once you complete an activity immediately schedule the next follow-up activity.  Doing this gives you an ongoing record of what you have done with the person and what you need to do next.
  3. Every morning log into your CRM to check your agenda for the day.  Don’t rely on your memory or finding that lose paper note on your desk to tell you. 
  4. Start sending emails to your contacts and leads from within the CRM system so they are attached to their record and easy to find when you need them.  It’s much easier and faster to go to the lead or contact and review your emails with that person than searching for emails in your inbox.
  5. Found a new lead? Enter your information as you get it so you don’t lose track of following up on the new lead.  When you have added the new lead add a follow-up activity so now you won’t forget to contact them.  Don’t push it off until later or tomorrow.  You’ll forget and then look around your desk to dig out the information to add later. 
  6. Group your contacts into category types (Leads, Prospects, Contacts, product or service interest, hot lead, etc..) so you can follow up easily with them and send out multiple emails at once about what they are interested in knowing more about.
  7. Call lists: When sending your emails have a call-to-action in it that they have to click to a web page or download a document.   Then in your CRM create a call list of the leads/contacts that showed an interest by clicking on your call-to-action and start calling for a sale.  Most CRM systems will automate that for you.
  8. Everyday review all your opportunities.  Track opportunities more easily and timely using the CRM opportunity system.  Know what stage of the sales process you are along for each opportunity.  Then call the ones you want to close right away.  
  9. Keep a record in your CRM of quotes, sales orders and invoices so you can see what the lead/contact has bought in the past and is interested in buying now.
  10. Use the mobile application from your CRM while away from your desk.  It can remind you to make calls and follow-up with people to close sales while out of the office.  While on site with a contact use it when asking them when to follow-up.  Scheduling it right there shows you stay on top of your customers and pay attention to their needs.  Also another advantage to a CRM mobile app is the ability to give you driving directions from the address of the lead or contact record in the CRM on your phone.  It will help you get there on time.

If a CRM system could generate leads and close sales automatically I would start it up every day and watch the money to come in.  Unfortunately that isn’t going to happen.

Starting new habits can be a challenge but if you start one new CRM habit each day or at least one per week you’ll see the reward of using a CRM quickly.  Your CRM system will work alongside of you and be part of your team every day.  You’ll increase your efficiency, close more opportunities and help you increase your sales and profits.  So start your CRM habit today!

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Sales CRM Delivery Fulfillment Management Marketing Production Selling

The CRM Sales Funnel is not just for the Sales Team

Recently I was called in to meet with the business owner of a manufacturing company interested in using a new CRM system.  He had been using a CRM software system but felt it didn’t give him enough information on what each sales person was doing daily and weekly. 

I asked what is your sales process/funnel?  I was not surprised when he told me it’s up to them to close the deals and we don’t feel a sales funnel matters. 

Working with other B2B companies that do not have a sales funnel I knew there was another common problem I found very often.  I asked if production had problems after a sales person closes a deal because they don’t have production time scheduled and parts/materials in stock to produce the product for delivery.  Sure enough production wasn’t aware in advance of new potential sales and deliveries were late on special orders. 

These are just couple of the key issues that a Sales Funnel can solve.  If we start with a basic sales funnel of 5 levels to winning or losing a sale then management has the knowledge to help close the sale and forecast ahead what is needed in the next 1-6 months for production.

Typical Sales Stage Funnel:

  1. Qualification – sales has spoken with the lead and determined that it can provide product they need.
  2. Product Demo and/or lead has submitted technical requirements for the product.
  3. Quote/Offer – Working with manufacturing and inside technical team a quote is prepared and sent.
  4. Follow-up and negotiation of quote. Prospect turns down offer go to Close Loss.
  5. Commitment – Prospect commits to take the offer.

Closed Won
Closed Loss


  • Fulfillment/Delivery
  • Follow-up of delivery and satisfaction
  • Repeat sale – ask for another order.

Here is where management should to be involved in a Sales Funnel.
At stage 3 management is involved in quoting by reviewing requirements for the sale.  At that time they should be looking at their manufacturing schedule and forecasting the time required to fulfill a possible new sale.  They should also take into consideration based on the quote what other assets are needed such as parts, finished goods and delivery scheduling.

Now sales can add to the quote a commitment that if the prospect agrees by a certain date a delivery can be completed on time. 

At stage 4 the sales team should be communicating with management on any questions, problems or possible delays by the prospect in accepting the quote.   Management should be involved to help sales with better pricing or added value to the offer to close the deal.  All along management and production are in communication planning, forecasting and rescheduling for the potential production job if necessary so they are ready.

At stage 5 if the prospect accepts the offer then management is prepared to start production and deliver on time. 

Sales, management and production are now working together as a team.  Everyone is aware of the deals in the sales funnel.  Management and production are always up to date on what sales is projecting and any challenges to closing a deal. 

A Sales Funnel with the right stages in the sales process to track winning more deals will grow your business.  This is a Win…Win for sales, management, production and most important the pocket of the owner!

In upcoming articles, we’ll help you understand more about a CRM, see if it’s right for you, and show you what to look for in one. You’ll also learn what to expect and plan for if you decide to implement a CRM.

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Joseph Norcott
Business Sales and Marketing Automation Strategist

ACT! CRM CRM Marketing Repeat Sales Sales Selling Upselling Zoho CRM

Why should my Marketing Team use our CRM?

That’s a question I hear many times.  Usually the owner thinks all they need to do is send emails out of Microsoft Outlook.  Marketing’s main purpose is to get the company’s message out to the targeted groups of potential leads.  It can involve monthly newsletter emails, sales promotions, posting to groups and other resources to encourage potential leads to fill in a landing pages.

When marketing is working outside the CRM system they may not respond quickly to new lead inquiries and worse lose new leads.  The sales team has no idea what they are doing to generate new leads and until someone tells them there is a new lead they are losing valuable time to follow up and engage the new lead and close a sale.

Envision if you will an example of how they can work with the sales team in a CRM together.

A business sells red, blue and green widgets.  The business owner asks marketing to put together a new promotion next month of 10% off green widgets for new customer only pricing.  They open up the CRM’s integrated email campaign and marketing module to create an email campaign along with web forms for a new landing page promoting the new customer offer.

A landing page is created and the web form from the CRM is inserted.  They promote the landing page through Google Ad and keywords.  When a lead that fills out the web form they are automatically created in the CRM and a sales person is automatically assigned a task to follow up.  The new lead also gets a follow up email thanking them for their interest and additional information about the green widget product and the new customer offer.

Existing leads in the CRM system are assigned to a weekly email campaign for the month with the 10% off offer for new customers.  If a leads clicks on a link (call to action) then a sales person is immediately assigned a tack to call and they follow up to closed the new customer sale.

Based on the response rate to the landing page and emails sent they can generate a report to review with the owner and the sales team the new lead response rate and the increase percentage of new deals form the promotion.

Since the sales team and marketing are interacting in the CRM they can coordinate the responsiveness to the new leads together.

The sales team is expecting new leads to take advantage of the offer and are immediately responsive to the CRM system notifying them of the new leads.

The results are a higher return obtaining new customers than compared to separate systems that ae now working together.  Marketing and sales will be less frustrated with each other because the new leads didn’t fall thru the cracks of depending on human involvement to notify sales.

If you would like to receive more articles about automating your business just sign up for our newsletter Bigger Slice of Business at:

In upcoming articles, we’ll help you understand more about a CRM, see if it’s right for you, and know what to look for in one. You’ll also learn what to expect and plan for if you decide to implement a CRM.

Customer Service CRM Marketing Sales Selling Zoho CRM

Why use a CRM for Customer Service?

How many times as a business owner have you been surprised not to hear about a customer that has a complaint or problem with your product or service until its too late?

Is someone handling it in your company?  You hope so!  If not you just lost a new customer or an existing customer.

How about new customers automatically getting a follow up request by email or phone from the Customer Service Representative (CSR)?  Reaching out to assist the customer or check on the customer satisfaction of your product or service can help you increase sales.

Customer service is a valuable tool in growing your business. 

They are the people that can make customers happy with you and buy more.   They are your number one resource for retaining customers.

That’s where a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool can make the difference.

After the sale you should have an automated workflow in your CRM that assigns a call or email to the new customer as a follow up to the sale.  Once the CSR connects with the new customer have a script in the system to ask how satisfied they were with delivery, installation or activation of the product.  The customer’s response is recorded in the customer record for management and sales to review.  If there is problem the sales representative can be notified to follow up right away.  Better yet the sales representative is notified to go back and ask for a repeat sale from a happy customer.

As for answering customer questions, include a knowledge base in the CRM to quickly answer common questions from a customer.  Provide a link in the CRM for the CSR to send the customer how to resolve the problem or answer the question with further instructions.  This will save time for the CSR from repeating instructions and the customer has a better experience with your product.

Management can review a report generated in the CRM about the common issues.

If it is product quality related then management can flag it and review how to improve the product.  If it’s a matter of updating the help instructions included with the product then the customer experience will be more positive when they start to use it.

The CSR can get the sales team involved only when needed.  However, they can see in the system the history of activity between the sales person and the customer leading up to closing a sale.  Based on that information they are quickly informed on the sale and expectations of the customer.

The sales team will have more time to do what they do best and sell more instead of handling customer service requests.  However, the sales team is always aware of customer issues because they are recorded in the customer’s record for all to see.

Just think wouldn’t it be great to have a sales person on a return visit to a customer not get their head chewed off because they didn’t know about a problem.  Instead they get a repeat sale because the happy customer is satisfied with the knowledge and fast response from the CSR team!

The other key to using a CRM is they can ask for a testimonial and record it on the contact’s record for marketing to use in promoting happy customers using your product or service!

A CRM used together by the sales and customer service teams can increase more sales and profits in your business.

If you would like to receive more articles about automating your business just sign up for our newsletter Bigger Slice of Business at:

In upcoming articles, we’ll help you understand more about a CRM, see if it’s right for you, and know what to look for in one. You’ll also learn what to expect and plan for if you decide to implement a CRM.

CRM ACT! CRM Marketing Sales Selling Zoho CRM

Why using a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) is important!

Desktop email and calendar products like Microsoft Outlook TM were originally created as a standalone product.  Many businesses need a product that is built for sales, marketing and customer support teams. This where a CRM product meets those requirements.

In a corporate environment, single user designed applications lack the ability for a sales team to know what is going on with a lead or client.  Management doesn’t know what the sales people are doing at any time.  They must rely on each sales representative to spend time generating weekly and monthly sales reports instead of spending that time generating sales.

The marketing team doesn’t communicate back and forth effectively with sales.  You also lack the communication between sales and customer service as well.

When management embraces a process that includes a CRM to expand their business they will find growth is quicker, easier to forecast and track.

A CRM system setup properly based on your marketing, sales and customer service processes can help generate increase sales conversions.  Along with training all involved in the processes to be used, you will see a return in investment quickly.

Here are some benefits of a CRM that can help build a better relationship with your existing customers and convert new prospects:

• Being able to review past history of sales conversions to timely track closing new opportunities.
• More efficient understanding of specific customer needs by identifying them quickly.
• Upselling and cross-selling of related products to customers which increases profits.
• Tracking the profitable customers and targeting more of those prospects.
• Identifying and reactivating lost customers you can sell to again.
• Coordinating with marketing to get referrals (warm leads) from your satisfied customers.
• Staying in-touch with your customers on a timely and consistent schedule to increase repeat sales.
• Following up with new customers to provide customer service and retain them.

A CRM used to follow existing customer behaviors will assist a company to identify and find new customers as well as discovering potential new markets.  Knowing more about your customers leads to increased sales, profits and a bigger customer base to expand your business.

To learn more about finding and how to use the right CRM system in your business join our newsletter Bigger Slice of Business.

Marketing Sales

Jump Starting Your Marketing for Greater Business Growth


How do you jump start your marketing?  Well, there is no 30 second shiny object that makes it happen.  It’s really all about the three most important strategies you need to get new customers now and retain them.

  • In person works every time:
    It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.
  • Yes, follow-up snail mail letters work better than an email:
    Always take a moment to send a follow up letter about what you talked about, new agreements or partnerships made and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with.
  • Personal phone calls:
    Use a telephone call to follow-up and talk again about the matters you discussed in your meeting and offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.

Of course you need a quality product or service to back you up!

Ok so now let’s go over the key steps for putting together your jump start marketing strategies:

  1. Research using the demographics of the customers who have purchased from you.  Also include potential customers, buyers, competitors and how they liked to be communicated too.  Example: If senior citizens are you your potential customer than a local newspaper advertisement and/or letter works.  If a 30 year old professional is your targeted customer then it’s social media, webinars and direct mail.Talk to your customers.
  2. Find out what pain points draw your customers to buy your product or service and use those pain points to reach new leads.
  3. Follow up with your 3-step process above.
  4. Develop a system that your potential customer will follow step by step and include quality control standards and customer service.
  5. After the sale have a post-sale follow-up system to keep in touch with your customers through open lines of communication by email, mail and phone.

You want to focus on building up your new or current relationship which will result in increasing future purchases.

Peter Drucker who wrote a number of business books said: “Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs”

Here’s one of my favorites:

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

I have outlined for you the strategies to put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used over and over again to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way.  If you need more assistance or have a question please contact us.

Joint Venture Marketing Sales Selling Uncategorized

Increase sales with a Joint Venture

I am going to discuss finding an alternative to the cold internet attraction/buy now street sign way of finding a target market of potential customers.  It’s difficult to find the less than 1% that will buy from you now.

However, if you know your target market and what else they like to buy then you may have a new source of finding interested customers easily.

So, the two key fundamental questions to ask yourself about your targeted “Who” for your product:

  • Why do my “Who” want to buy from me?
  • What are the “Who” buying that are related to my product?

Once you figure this out you will know “Who” is more likely to purchase your products.

Now you find another other business with different products/services that targets your “Who’ and approach them for a joint venture with an incentive and great arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at both of your businesses.

The basic joint venture fundamental is this:

Find existing businesses that have the match of your “Who” also known as the customer profile that you are looking for to market your product.

Then approach the business owner with a joint venture idea that is beneficial to both of you. The offer should be an incentive that the customer can benefit from by buying both of your products or services.

The result is you get the opportunity to be endorsed/exposed to a new customer base to market to and the JV partner generates an added value from their current base.

Ok so how do you do this? Like the old days of school there is a formula which Jay Abraham has followed with a lot of success.

LV = (P x F) x N – MC

Here’s what it all means:

  • LV is the life time value of a customer
  • P is the average profit margin from each sale
  • F is the number of times a customer buys each year
  • N is the number of years customers stay with you
  • MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)

Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers.

So, here’s the process to joint venture success:

  1. Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
  2. Negotiate a Joint Venture for them to share that customer base with you.
  3. Focus your marketing resources to this group of new customers.
  4. Finally…deliver the product and an experience that both the new customers love and the JV partner sees as valuable added value because he/she will want to do more joint business with you.

You in return get new customers at a reduced cost versus trying to find new customers the cold internet attraction/buy now street sign way.

Marketing Repeat Sales Sales Selling Upselling

Teach Your Customers and they will Buy Again

Most businesses focus solely on attracting new customers. The fault in that sales process is you are not spending time retaining current and former customers. Your existing customers/clients are people you already know are good sales potential because they’ve already bought from you!

Changing your marketing process to include the time to market and sell new products to your existing customers and less time selling to new customers will increase sales and decrease cost of selling.

My 4 elements to use in retaining your existing customers:

  1. Staying in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter or maybe in person if you have too!
  2. Prevent Buyer’s Remorse.  Following up with customers will make them feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, and just heard nothing but crickets? Just sending a simple Thank You note that includes how to contact you or customer service information can go a long way in retaining a great customer.
  3. Customer Special Deals & Guarantees: Always make your current customers feel special with the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  4. Build Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three fundamentals to a successful business:

  • Quality of your product/service.
  • Offering useful products/services which your customer wants/needs that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer.
  • Educate them by offering subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of teaching your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

It’s cheaper to sell again to an existing customer than a new customer. Don’t let your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every way possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them use to buying from you.”

That’s why an educated customer is a loyal and repeat buyer.


Lessons I Learned from Paris Hilton

Today we’ll talk about shameless self-promotion.  That’s right, I said it! Shameless!  After all, we are learning from Paris Hilton here.

It’s all about self-promotion!

Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Look at politicians! Talk about self-promotion and in some not so discreet ways, at that. But, seriously, consider some of the major superstars we all know. Madonna, Donald Trump, Howard Stern and Bill Clinton, just to name a few.

We all self promote. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion we are talking about. With dignity, class and the knowledge to back it up. If you self-promote only to prove you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose business.

Natural self-promoters are the former and I want to tell you about the three major traits they have and use to build themselves and their businesses.

  1. The first is position. You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to do this frequently. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.

Also consider:

Who can help me meet my goals?

Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?
Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.

2.  Now, let’s talk about Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit to bring in more business (though, let’s be honest-it wouldn’t hurt) J What this really means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you memorable with customers?

If you are meeting a lot of people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem! This means you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.

There are lots of little subtle changes you can make. Reassess your:

  • Business cards
  • Company message
  • Your picture
  • Your wording

Maybe even, your hairstyle (of course, now we’re back to the expensive suit, but it really works!)

You get the idea. There are lots of little ways you can work on making your image and business more successful. Also, consider how you sound on the phone and how you great people at meetings or other events. Think about your 30-sec elevator speech.

3.   The third trait of natural promoters is repetition. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need until they get a response. Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once, no! You see it over and over and eventually you head out to the store.

You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.