Sales Force Automation: Time to Leave the Black Book in the Office

October 26th, 2009 by

By Pat Hinds

I was in a discussion with some fellow sales people this week; some of the sales people were young and in their first year of sales and some of the sales people were older with a decade plus of sales experience. We were discussing the value of a sales person carrying a notebook to a sales meeting; the color of the sales notebook is typically black and as a result it is often referred to as the “black book”.  My recommendation to the young sales people was not to carry a black book to a sales meeting and rely on your CRM to provide the tools they need while on a sales call. The more experienced sales people in the room did not agree; they felt the black book brought value to a sales process as it represents a central repository for customer information.

If sales people are to evolve and prosper in the new selling environment brought on by the changes in the economy they need to stop collecting customer data in black books and business card rolodexes. Sales people need to leverage technology to collect business intelligence and customer intelligence on targeted accounts within a CRM allowing the sales person to be more efficient and leading to a productivity gain. When I go out on a sales call I am able to print a summary of all the information I have on the account; I call this an account record which I use as tool to help me with my questioning process with the customer. Listed below is the information I have included in the “account record”:

Account Information – This information is what I consider the “business intelligence” on the account. It includes information like company name, subsidiary companies, revenue, employees and industry description.

Lines of Business – This is a summary of description of the target company and the lines of business the company operates. This is the transition point from “business intelligence” to “customer intelligence”.

Company Information – This is information about the company that pertains to how your line of business will assist the customer in achieving their business objectives. This is a summary of “customer intelligence”.

Tactic Information – Included in the account profile is open activities, activity history, opportunities and contacts.

Topics: CRM