There’s two lessons to be learned from what I’m about to tell you:
1. SaaS – software as a service – is great, because when vendors update the software, you get the updates (most of the time) for free and with minimal to no hassle – you just sign on. Using traditional software you have to download patches and then install them – hoping they don’t mess up some other program.
2. The second lesson is that small improvements go a long way. For example, Entellium (CRM provider) recently released an update to it’s eSalesForce and eCustomerCenter products, this new update is entitled, “Simplicity Release 2008”.
The updates include a feature to check on duplicate sales leads. it’s a small improvement but so important.
This new feature sounds simple, but if you’re trying to selling a $5,000 lawn mower and your prospective customer tells you that your colleague in the next cubicle called last week and that your sales guy in Texas (who’s working remotely) called about 3 hours ago – it’s an unpleasant experience and you could lose the sale.
Being able to have no duplicates in your customer / prospect database is so important.
I use contact/task/calendar management tool Plaxo and it has a neat de-duplicator that I use and it works quite well.
Entellium has other updates, which are small changes, but can go far in enhancing the ease in which you use it’s product and the increased tools you have to close sales. Although I’ve used Entellium as an example here, all CRM vendors (be it NetSuite, NetBooks, Infusion CRM) periodically update their software.
Entellium’s updates include:
Real-Time Lead Alerts—Sales professionals can communicate in real time with hot leads, so they are far more likely to convert and close. Visitors who return to a Web site to download a new piece of collateral can be tracked and sales reps are notified immediately, enabling them to speak to prospects while they are uppermost in their mind.
Bulk Updater—Salespeople do not waste time updating numerous records one at a time, so there is less busywork and more time spent on sales. An unlimited number of records can be updated with a common value in one click.
Import Wizard, Re-Mastered—Makes it absolutely easy to import existing leads into eSalesForce, both during deployment and on an ongoing basis. All leads are consolidated in a central database and no leads fall through the cracks.
Activity Sets—Sales reps can easily schedule everyday activities and no longer have to think about next steps in the sales process. They can “set it and forget it.” Whenever a lead is created or modified, eSalesForce automatically schedules “best practices” emails, calls and tasks for the sales rep to complete.
Lead Routing—Routes leads automatically based on what is known about the lead, for example products of interest, lead source, or location, so leads go to the sales rep best suited to close the deal.
I think the activity sets and lead routing features are pretty neat and save time. If you have the same basic steps that go into a sales process with each new lead – having these steps automatically scheduled saves time and ensures all sales staff are following the right procedure.
The lead routing can be VERY beneficial. For example, let’s say the lead likes to snow board, if you have 2 or 3 guys in your company who snow board these snow boarders should call upon the prospect and possibly increase their chance of closing the sale due to the common bond they have.