by Paul Rudo on 16/09/12 at 4:16 pm
Haven’t you ever answered any of those questions the sales rep asks you in a local department store, grocery store, pharmacy, online or even in the airport? You know the ones asking about a certain product, the way a display looks, or whether you would ever consider using a certain service? What do you think happens to that data? Does it just go into some obscure file on the business server? The real purpose in asking these questions is to help the company sales team make more effective sales.
Let’s analyze a typical situation. A certain department within the company knows that a potential client enjoys using a particular brand or service the company specializes in. This information was obtained through the company’s social media platform, at a physical store or given to an online customer service rep. However, the information went no further than this. The sales department having no inkling of this information sends out the new sales rep to cold call this potential customer. He is sent out there blinded, with no qualifying information, or with information that is outdated, then he is expected to quickly close the all-important deal. Sounds like a real recipe for disaster, if you ask me.
Businesses both small and large have a serious problem when it comes to making sense of customer data, needs and wants. It’s not that the information isn’t available, but now the issue lies in finding the “man-power” hours and in the collaborating between the different departments to analyze it and implement procedures, allowing for better service, profits and sales. That’s where collaborative software can help.
The ideal solution would be to sit down with the different department heads every morning, enjoy a cup of coffee and share information, then do the same in the early afternoon and evening. Problem is, you would never get any work done, and no sales would be generated. Instead, the solution is to use software that gives you tools which can access the different interdepartmental information, analyze it, find those qualified leads and complete the sale. Collaborative software does just this, and the best part is, you don’t have to hold endless in-person meetings to get the information you need – it can all be done through the software tools which include:
Internet forums – offering discussion platform between the different departments, or between potential clients and the sales department.
Online chat – a virtual discussion platform that facilitates on-going conversations between collaborators no matter where their geographic location is.
VoIP telephony – Allowing different departments, business and customers to interact in cost effective communications including video conferencing.
Data Conferencing – Shared online whiteboard or conference meeting room applications allow for collaboration between different departments, company associates or even customer and sales department interaction.
Electronic meeting system – Originally meeting rooms with video projectors interlinked to various office PCs. Now this is virtual and web-based allowing for any time meetings from any location.
How Can Collaborative Software Help Prospect Customers?
Businesses find it a constant uphill battle to sell to qualified customers. This is a key element to the success of any business. Collaborative software can help a sales team analyze the data for existing sales to identify the common attributes of customers that are the most responsive to your product. This allows you to market and tailor products to them specifically. For example, if you know a customer comes in three times a month to purchase a substantial amount of office supplies, (information obtained from the physical store) you certainly don’t want to up-sell this customer with baby products (but probably will, if you don’t have access to that store’s sales data). This customer probably won’t be interested in knowing you have a spectacular deal on baby strollers, but would probably be interested in learning of the upcoming office furniture 20% off sale (something you would know if you collaborated with the store’s sales information). Knowing the type of product a customer is interested in can help you offer him other products you know he could use. And this information only comes through the full collaboration between different company departments by using the right software program.
Offer Consistent Customer Lead Organization
Customers contact your services in a variety of ways; over the phone, through the store, online, through email and more. By using the right software your sales and customer service departments can share information, ensuring that all service related information is up to date and delivered in a timely manner. Now more than ever, customers want to know that a company offers a quick response to their needs.
Contact the Right Sales Leads
Collaborative software helps your sales team get in touch with the warmest of leads. These are the prospects that are ready to buy even before you make that first contact. The information from such leads can come from the social media management team, customer service, an in store inquiry, email and more. It is by using the right collaboration software and tools that this information can quickly be handed to the sales department and a sale closed.
Cast a Wider Sales Net
By implementing proven online marketing methods such as Social Media marketing or branding, while using collaborative software, a business can cast a wider sales-net to many different communities. Using the information garnered by the Web 2.0 technologies, you can build brands over a much wider marketing area, but in a less aggressive way, then when potential leads show a real interest in the product, the information can be forwarded on to the sales team to finalize the deal.
This type of software can help the sales department work more efficiently and quickly, it also can boost the sales team moral and self confidence by helping them close sales more efficiently. It allows the sales team to access relevant information from other business departments and use it to convert a prospect into a customer.
In this day and age, the most successful businesses are those who share knowledge and information between colleagues, and the easiest and fastest way of doing this is by using the tools included in reliable and complete collaborative software.
Besides, it is much easier to hold a conference, meeting or chat online while sitting behind a desk than it is to conduct a face to face meeting. As fast as business situations change, by the time you schedule that meeting, potential prospects will already have found another provider offering the services they need as quickly as possible.
This type of software application helps you organize all the data that needs to be shared between the different departments, allowing for more sales in a quicker time frame, thereby increasing organizational efficiency and overall company revenue.
Author Bio: Kelvin Stilley contributed this guest post for Advantage Business Systems. Kelvin is a freelance writer with extensive experience as a software consultant. His articles appear on various business blogs.