What Did I Say Last Time?

Historical Notes Can Save The Day

OK – the phone rings, you pick it up and it’s a client you have been trying to close for months. They start talking to you about the last conversation you had, and you really wish you could remember what was said previously… In fact, if you don’t catch on to this really fast, you will lose them!

Taking advantage of opportunities often depends on how much data you have at your fingertips. You can look really stupid on the phone if you don’t know (or recall) what was said previously to an important client. Access vital data is extremely important where clients are concerned.

The basic principle here is to make sure your database has the ability to store multiple notes for each contact person you have. The requirements of this function are as follows:

  • Record and store information that is attached to specific contacts in the database.
  • Put a time tag on the information so that we will know in future when it was created. This also gives us the ability to put a future date on an item to act as a follow-up.
  • Designate whether the item stored is a simple note, or a printed document (letter, quotation, etc), or an email.
  • Record which employee set the note up, so that others will know who said what to whom.

With such a set-up you can also build a set of standard emails and documents that can be generated very rapidly. Most people are familiar with the idea of merging names and addresses with standard text to produce standard documents. Such “mail merge” functions are often complex (difficult to implement).

Well, with a good database it is possible to automate this sort of thing with great ease.

Suppose one of your sales people is calling leads to talk to them about your products or services. At the end of each call, there are three possible outcomes:

  • The lead is not interested at this time.
  • They are interested and would like more information.
  • They agree to meet with the sales person at a future date and time.

If the sales person is making those calls from the database (and why not – all the leads are there in the database with their contact details and history), it is possible to set up some standard actions. Imagine a drop-down list that has the above 3 choices. At the end of each call, the sales person simply selects the appropriate choice and something like the following would happen.

Not interested:

  • A new note to that effect is logged for the contact.
  • An email is sent to them thanking them for their time and giving some brief promotion or testimonial on the product or service.
  • A new follow-up note is logged with a date 30 days from now.

Interested – wants info:

  • A new note to that effect is logged for the contact.
  • An email is sent to them with the standard produce/service “Send Info” promotion.
  • A new follow-up note is logged with a date 7 days from now.

Agrees to a Sales Meeting:

  • A new note to that effect is logged for the contact.
  • An email is sent to them confirming the time, date and location for the meeting.
  • A new follow-up note is logged for the day of the meeting as a reminder.

Any number of scenarios can be set up along these lines. For instance, if your organisation is involved with providing ongoing service for clients, you could set up a special service campaign to boost the revenue in this area. Different notes, different emails and different follow-up criteria, but the same process.

The whole point is that a good database can give you control over what is sent out and how. Did you ever cringe when you read some of the emails that your people send to your clients? Well, you can standardise that whole area now. It can make the whole process extremely simple.

And the really cool thing is that, doing it this way via the database, you get to capture the activity involved, so you can monitor individual employees on how they are performing. You know – number of calls, number of interested prospects, number of sales meetings, etc. That’d be pretty valuable…

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