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Ride on technology to make your selling process efficient

Digital runs on analogue and thus technology can’t do the work for you. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH
Digital runs on analogue and thus technology can’t do the work for you. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH  

‘The first rule of technology used in a business,” says Bill Gates “is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” Let’s replace business with selling and see how this works.

A security system, like a social media page, is only as effective as the person manning it.

Equally, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is only as useful as the utilisation of data it generates.

The data is intended to drive more sales; either through selling more to existing customers based on their buying habits, or, improving the service processes based on the complaints generated.

The CRM system is a technology, a machine. Like any machine, say a wheelbarrow, it is intended to make your work easier, not do it for you.

You see, digital runs on analog, as an IT friend of mine told me. Before the CRM came into play, the company was most likely collecting data only not as efficiently.

For instance, most training firms after training, will in their evaluation forms ask: “What other courses would you like to attend?” Imagine 30 respondents (hot leads, ready buyers) telling you what they want? It’s a seller’s paradise.

These hot leads can spawn more referrals (further hot leads).

But that’s the ideal situation (Sigh!). In practice, what happens?

The forms are stashed away for record keeping; the sellers who most likely got the training don’t even look at them.

In the meantime, they lament that there are no prospects to see yet they are sitting on a goldmine. Automating this process via a CRM will make collecting the data efficient, but it will not miraculously transform the inefficiency of the seller to exploit it. That’s his job.

Then there is email. “I’ve have sent him several emails, but he never responds,” I hear sellers lamenting. When email was hot cake, marketers believed it was communication’s Kingdom come.

All they had to do was send an email blast and, voila!, limited only by the quantity in their database, they could reach one hundred, a thousand even 10,000 people’s inboxes.

Alas! It wasn’t to be-the name spam (unwanted mail) evolved. This was the digital version of being an analog irritant.
As for the salesperson email is good, but passive. If the buyer is not responding, call him or show up at 6.30am in his office because you befriended the secretary who told you, “that’s when he sees everyone.”

LinkedIn is intended to accelerate connections (networking). But when you connect with me and pitch me a few seconds later about this crazy offer on land or shoes or investment you have, I don’t think you are being efficient. You are merely magnifying your inefficiency at prospecting.

Repeat after me: The first rule of technology used in selling is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

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