Epic Sales Strategies Hiding in your CRM

Editor’s note: Today’s post is from Mike Kamo is the Director of Marketing for Stride. Stride produces great content, check out their blog for proof.

At Stride, we have a unique opportunity to see firsthand what the best salespeople do better.

We have close relationships with a few of our customers and spend a significant amount of time looking at their data. This is to help us in our software development efforts, and along the way we get an insider’s view into what makes a good sales rep.

Below are the top CRM hallmarks we tend to see from top salespeople. If you’re running a sales team, or even if you’re a sales team of one, take a look at the list below and then compare it to your data.

Regardless of which CRM tool you use, if you don’t have all the data points from the list below, you’re probably not selling as effectively as you could be.

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1. Evidence of Serious Research

It is always surprising to see just how much information a good sales rep can gather about a prospect before ever meeting him. Top sales reps appear to do this as a habit.

They know where the prospect lives, what his professional history is, what associations he’s involved in locally, and sometimes even where he went on vacation this year.

A lot of this information is freely available on the Internet thanks to people’s lax privacy settings on social networks. Facebook photos, in particular, can be a gold mine of information for prospects. Top reps know this and have notes about what they’ve found long before they make their initial sales approach.

2. Personal Details, Not Just Professional Notes

After establishing a relationship with a prospect or customer, top reps have a knack for learning about far more than just professional needs.

Their notes include food preferences; family details; details about hobbies, religion and political leanings; and lots of other details that give a much fuller picture of the person to whom they’ve been talking.

Average reps might have a little bit of this, but for the most part their notes are constrained to professional details: what the prospect is struggling with, support requests, or negotiation details. Just the facts.

Top reps record all sorts of random details, and the next point is the reason why…

3. Unusual Tactics

One sales rep I know has notes about the favorite candy bar of multiple employees at each of her accounts. Why?

Because when she calls on them, she brings candy. No wonder that when I talked to her area sales manager, he said, “her customers LOVE her.”

To be clear, the candy isn’t all she does. She’s way over the top for each of her customers, not because she’s out to make a quick buck, but because she genuinely enjoys helping them solve their business problems.

And it works, too. She’s consistently one of the top salespeople in her organization.

4. Entries at Strange Times

Part of the job of being a salesperson is dealing with customer requests at all times of the day or night.

Good sales reps actually will put some boundaries in place for these types of customers, insisting that they will only respond during customary business hours, for example, or refusing to return emails after a certain time every night.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not keeping track of it all in their CRM entries. When we see salespeople who are consistently entering data late at night, early in the morning, or on the weekends, it shows that they’re committed to using CRM to its maximum effectiveness.

Just because you may not want to respond to a customer after hours doesn’t mean you should wait until the next morning to make a CRM entry about it. Top salespeople know this and their CRM activity shows it.

5. Requests for Help

Finally, when we look at the accounts “owned” by top salespeople, we often see entries made by other employees at the salesperson’s organization. This could be anyone, from a support staffer to a fellow salesperson.

The point is, top salespeople know how to leverage the resources within their company. They have the relationships already in place to bring in an expert to close a deal the moment one is needed. And they’re not afraid to make that call, even if it means they end up splitting a part of their sales commission because of it.

Conclusion

Within your organization, you probably have a handful of sales all-stars. Take a few minutes today to look in your CRM and see what kind of notes and data these top reps have for their customers. Then compare that to the records of a few of your middle-of-the-pack salespeople.

My guess is that you’ll see quite a contrast.

If you could get your average reps to start doing the things your all-stars do, how much additional revenue might that mean for your business? After all, if you want to improve you sales effectiveness, there’s nothing better than studying what your best reps do well.

Who knows? It might be the ticket that takes your entire organization to the next level.

Stride, CRM, salesToday’s author: Mike Kamo, Director of Marketing for Stride, a sales CRM that helps small and medium businesses increase their revenue.

photo by Matt Jiggins