Outlook better than ACT! (sales lead management) -- yeah, for some...
For some reason it seems that every-other business owner I come across is asking me about ACT! or Goldmine or Microsoft CRM or Salesforce.com - or some other software solution that will solve the problems they've been having in their sales.
The problem ain't with your software!
Yes, yes...software can aid in the efficiency of sales tracking, reporting and even closing some deals -- but all too often, the folks I'm talking to, are looking for more than that out of their system...and the problem usually has more to do with the PEOPLE, PROCESSES and ACCOUNTABILITY (or lack thereof) inside their sales force.
How effective is your current sales process?
Do your best sales people NEED a sales system to be successful?
If your business is like mine, PEOPLE make all the difference in the world...and some of the best systems in the world don't change that.
A recent example of this thinking came from a colleague I've known for a couple years now. He came to me...practically begging me to recommend ACT! to him. I humored him...asked why his 1-person operation needed a $400 piece of software to keep track of his 10-20 active leads.
He actually responded with a pretty good list...things like:
1. Having a central repository of contact info
2. Having the ability to track the SOURCE of a lead
3. Having the ability to track/report the current STAGE of a sales opportunity
4. Having the ability to categorize leads (lines of business)
In the end, we solved this...NOT with ACT! mind you - that would have created FAR TOO MANY PROBLEMS (refer to the 80 /20 / 20 rule...previous posting) -- but by adding 2 user-defined fields to an application he was already familiar with...Microsoft Outlook.
Yeah, MS Outlook.