Track your clients
Although "sales automation" has become known by CRM, it is a wrong statement. You can get a complete and really complicated meaning here: wikipedia
Let's get it simple!
CRM can be many things. To keep it simple, the main word here is "relationship". Fifteen years ago CRM introduced a method to keep a relationship alive: keep track of all contacts or conversations you have in a relationship.
In sales, the relationship is key for getting a deal. But let's say
you meet 5 clients a day and in some time on Monday you've met Joe and he told you about some concerns that were getting him from deciding on the deal, and you will be meeting him again on Wednesday morning next week, well, you've met 5 clients in a day times 7 working days, you just have 35 conversations to remember uh, what was Joe's concern?
CRM works for that: take short notes on every conversation, so that you can remember. Simple as that. Can you do that on paper? Sure. Do you need to pay hundreds of dollars per month on a system? No.
So why do companies buy CRM?
To control the sales agent, in part, but mostly to be able to share contacts and manage the sales pipeline, well, "manage" in this context means pushing the sales agent to work harder and systematically whip on his back. Needless to say that most sales people hate corporate CRM systems.
Sales pipeline or sales funnel, is putting all your potential deals in a line, so that you can systematically go after each deal without forgetting. In CRM terms we call this "opportunities". A list of opportunities is a sales pipeline.
Different meanings you will find for "leads", that are many times confused with opportunities. Think of leads being the smoke and opportunity being the fire. A lead is the smell that you may have an opportunity. You can get leads from contact forms, from mailing lists, from talking to friends, from cold calling... leads are any contact you have with a person by name. After that person responds to you and say I like it, then you have an opportunity (a chance, a probability, you name it).
Take notes on every contact you push to a person, that is a lead. When a conversation starts you have an opportunity. When you get an agreement, it's a deal. Put all them in a line, it is the sales funnel or pipeline. Whip yourself to make more contacts and conversations: now you have a productive sales person.
We'll talk later about tagging your notes and measuring your sales effectiveness. Ask me on that, send me your story. R U a lead or do we have a conversation?