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Customer/Sales/Lead/Opportunity/Visits system

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  • Customer/Sales/Lead/Opportunity/Visits system

    This is not what you think it is.

    I am not asking for software. But this thread belongs in the gagets section because people often come here to find a software that "does what Act does", or "does what Goldmine does", or "does what Covey does".

    So...without refering to actual software...what is the does that these softwares does?

    What is the does that would help me in my sales efforts even if software did not exist?

    I realize that if I just keep track of my calls in a log book, they are not attached to a customer or a project, so I have to sort through the call log to see who I talked to and what about. I realize that my quotes are on my computer in my "Quotes 2006" folder all together. I realize that my contacts work for a company where there are other contacts and other opportunites that I do not know about.

    What is a good book or website that discusses this. Not a book that talks about how to sell, meaning what to say and how to qualify the customer and the opportunity. I mean the day to day stuff that could help me stay organized.

    I realize that GTD is all about projects and next actions. But what about linking the calls, contacts, documents, and projects together?

    This is a process that can be defined outside of any actual system. We are not used to defining a process separate from a system because we like to jump to what we and see and touch, but a process defined by a flow diagram can outline a process without refering to file cabinets, folders, computers, or specific software.

    I was thinking about this when I was reading the typical post here that goes something like "How do I use a palm/PocketPC with outlook to keep track of my sales/contacts/ect." And I was realizing that I basically learn what the software that I have does and use it the way it was designed to be used, but other people have their heads that they want to forge a way for their tools to provide them the benefits of that way.

    A guy I used to work with had a Franklin Covey calender/binder where he would note on the calender day his call or visit to his customer, and then back in another section he would journal his calls and visits related to that customer. This was a fairly simple system for him because he had one contact per business that he dealt with and his opportunites where fairly linear.

    But I have several contacts at each of my customers, and several projects with those customers, and I may talk to different members of a team for that project. Hey, I guess that my "contact" or my "customer" could be a team instead of a person.

    Anyway. How do you keep track of your customers/opportunites/quotes/calls-visits in a system where they are cross indexed or linked together?


    I have been on my computer all day trying to get midi ringtones into my phone and I am about to go nuts.


  • #2
    Just so you know, I am a PocketPC guy.

    I have:

    Pocket Informant

    And I just got:

    MLO PocketPC

    And am in the mood to leverage these tools to keep better track of my contacts, quotes, calls, and visits.

    I am good at doing multiple projects at my desk/office.

    I am not good at keeping track of multiple opportunities accross the state I live in.
    Last edited by tim99; 07-15-2006, 06:51 PM.


    • #3
      Well, since you asked ...

      Hi Tim

      One thing that I do is set up an annual calling and contact program that highlights all required activities for each customer and their relevant segment. I actually call it ShoeBox CRM because, in the end, everything I do started off in a shoebox with a tickler file system much like David's.

      It is REAL low tech but it works and I can schedule eveything in my PDA then have everything ready to go when a customer calls or I need to call them.

      I can send you a template tnat I use that allows me to keep track (visually) of what I've done and plan to do with each client.

      Not sure if I've explained that too well but it 's working and it kind of 'forces" me to stay up to date and also know where I am in the grand scheme of things.

      Let me know if you want a copy of the template.



      • #4
        Originally posted by billjw
        One thing that I do is set up an annual calling and contact program that highlights all required activities for each customer and their relevant segment.
        That sounds more like planning and goal tracking. I have made goals that I have to acomplish also.

        But I am not talking about planning or goals or schedules.

        I am talking about once you are in the trenches and you have 12 opportunities with 6 customers and 20 contacts and you are creating quotes based on prices from 9 suppliers.

        It would be easy to have five shoeboxes:


        Or six shoe boxes:


        You know what I mean?

        I guess that most people either keep up with this in their heads, or don't keep up with it at all, or depend on Act! or Goldmine!.

        Since it is all about billing, it is all about closing opportunites.

        So...if each opportunity is a project, then you link all your other items to each project. Then somehow when you pull up a customer, you can see all the projects you worked on with that customer.

        My thinking on this is cloudy. And I am sure that just as with all things, there would be zealots for different kinds of systems.


        • #5
          It sounds like a multiple linked database problem, but instead of keeping track of small bits of information, each "entry" in the database is a bunch of pages of stuff. And you want to slice it every which way.

          But if I where to make it simple. I am concerned about journaling my visits to my customers and keeping track of my opportunites and quotes and closings.

          So I would need a project, linked to contacts, and linked to documents.

          And contacts linked to phone calls and visits.


          • #6
            Have you looked at Do-Organiser?

            I know you aren't talking about particular software but you may find some information that would help here The .Do-Organiser program enables you to have a contact with a link to any other information that relates to him/her/them. It has a calendar, tasks (next actions), notes (project support), journal, mindmapping (where each "box" can be linked to anything else), planners (as many as you want) and even an email function.

            Lets say you have a customer called Joe Bloggs. You need to call him about the mega deal you are hoping to close. You also have an appointment with him in 2 weeks time. Oh and you need to be able to access the agenda he emailed you 2 days ago. And you want to be able to see at a glance all the dates relating to him over the coming year. All these items can be linked to each other so that when you bring up Joe Bloggs in the contacts, anything else related to him shows up in a list below.

            I have recently bought this software but other than that have no affiliation with GemX. Just a happy customer!




            • #7
              Thanks. We use Outlook, but by looking at that software I did learn what CRM is, and did a search, and came up with:


              Which of course does not describe what it is as much as what its goals are.

              I think I am looking to learn more about the Sales Force Management part.

              But even under that heading would be some sort of "sales contact and document management".

              What would a plain vanilla paper system for this look like?

              Is there a website or book that describes this...without trying to sell me software?
              Last edited by tim99; 07-16-2006, 06:24 AM.


              • #8

       is trying to sell you their service, but they have some pretty good screen shots of their Sales Force Automation tool you can look at for free. They also have free demos to download and a 30 day free trial. I don't know about their pricing but you could get some ideas from their screen shots.


                • #9
                  I would think that if we sat around and thought about this back before when we had file cabinets and folders...we would have been limited in our ability to cross reference.

                  I would think that the system would have to have some sort of primary focus. Like all projects in project number order. OR all projects in alpha order. Like books in the Library are on the shelves in one specific order, but they are cross referenced in the card catalog by Author, Title, and Subject.

                  Then you would have a cross reference system. Like the library card catalog.


                  • #10
                    I am finally getting to realizing why people use Contacts in Outlook as projects. If I was using a specific software, I would research all of its linking possibilities, and then find a way to use those for linking all my stuff.

                    I do use outlook. I realize that there have been comments on this thread about other software. And even though I am staying away from talking about specific software, I would want something that works with Outlook, like maybe this:


                    Do any of you guys know about that software or any like it, that allows us to continue to use Outlook, because that is our company software, and our company does not use Act! or Goldmine? Ouch. Teamscope is $395. I wonder if what it does would continue to show as links on my PocketPC using Pocket Informant.


                    • #11
                      In my work I am usually in the position of a problem solver. And because I have experience with this, it is easy for me to see situations where problem solving is limited by the manner in which the discussion unfolds. Most meetings I go to start with discussing a solution. "We are here today to discuss ways to build a steel shrimp boat where the steel is encapulated in epoxy so that it does not rust." Stop. What is the problem. How many possible solutions can we come up with by brainstorming togeteher. How about we build it with concrete? Someone says that concrete does not float. Everybody laughs. I say that steel does not float. They rise up and push me out of the room.

                      Anyway. That is why I am interested in people's ideas on what this contact/appointment/document/journal cross reference system would look like, would do, and how I would use it.

                      People come here asking how to get Outlook to "do it", and I want to know, how do the best sales people, not sales managers, not business owners, but how do the best sales people who visit and quote, organize their materials?

                      What is the theology AND what is the tool. Not just what is the tool.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jpm
              [has] some pretty good screen shots of their Sales Force Automation tool you can look at for free.

                        Wow. I looked at the Interactive Screenshots link at the right. That looks amazing. Fantastic software and pretty good use of Flash.