Organized for Success or for Failure?

You can not be successful if you are not organized. Being organized does not mean having a spotless sanitized desk with a pen in every color to match your color coded file system. Nope. Being organized means having one place, one contact management system that you use everyday to manage all client files, your complete calendar, every task, and all information you need to prepare for each sales call.

There are a variety of systems you can use. Chose one that meets your business needs. I will not tell you what to buy. I will tell you that spreadsheets, databases and email systems are worthless systems to manage your sales opportunities. They do not allow you to manage key aspects of your business such as, scheduled follow up calls, your calendar, multiple account contacts, and your sales opportunity funnel, in one place.

I recommend a true sales force automation system such as, (for example) Infusion Act! Landslide,, SugarCRM, Maximiser, Pivotal, Saleslogix, Goldmine or Oncontact, because they become your sales dashboard. A well used contact management system, organizes your day and your calls, while allowing you a complete view on all tasks required to close a sale. Please note that I am not endorsing any of these systems above. They were the only ones that I could think of off the top of my head….

A well implemented CRM is NOT an administration tool, it is a sales tool. If used properly it will help you sell more, in less time, and with less stress! Your objective is to get into the habit of using it everyday, for everything. The best sales people I know use their contact management systems to track, at a minimum:

1) Customer contact details for multiple account contacts

2) Personal and professional milestone dates such as birthdays and company anniversaries

3) Sales funnel opportunities such as how much a prospect will buy and when

4) Status of the prospect in the sales cycles, probability of close, and by when

5) Scheduled meetings, calls, and follow up tasks

6) Notes of past calls and actions

7) Links of emails sent

In short, every correspondence to or from a customer goes into the contact manager. Using it this way allows a top performer to empty their mind of data clutter, and forever eliminates the “…I have a funny feeling I have to do something today but I can’t remember what…” problem we inevitable get when we are busy, and disorganized.

With their mind freed up from “customer information clutter” the top 10% can focus their attention completely on the task they are working on at the moment, usually prospecting, presenting and closing without fear of missing another important task..

Here is an interesting story that shows how ineffective a sales call can be when you are not organized:

A few months ago I had a voice mail left from the office of a very prominent author and consultant. You would all know his name if I told you, so I won’t. The sales rep’s message was that Mr. Big Wig wanted to invite me to an event. I was intrigued and flattered so I called back, got the rep on the phone and said, “This is Colleen Francis, you called yesterday about a meeting with Mr. Big Wig?” He said…

“Oh…. I did?…. When did you say I called?”

“Yesterday.” Was my patient reply”

“Oh”…… (long pause)….”Hmm… “What did you say your name was again?”

“Colleen Francis” was my not so patient reply

“Hmm? I’m not sure what this was regarding; did you say you met X at an event?”

I went on to explain to the situation to the rep. He interrupted and said “Oh yeah!” and followed up with a sales pitch to a seminar.

Do you think I bought?

Now, to be fair, I am NOT saying that this selling atrocity would not have occurred had the rep been using a contact management system. Nothing can take the place of a bit of common sense or a human brain. What I am saying, is that had this sales rep been using a proper contact management system, he could have looked up my name while we were talking (even put me on hold for a minute while he did this), scanned his notes from yesterday to see why he called me and recovered the call quickly and effectively.

You can’t be expected to commit every sales activity to memory. This is a sure recipe for failure and the reason why sales reps forget calls, are late sending proposals or routinely repeat the same questions to clients in successive meetings.

Get and start using a contact management system today. If you have one in place, make sure you are using it to its full capability. This is the only action I am recommending you take this week. You will be glad you did.

Dedicated to increasing your sales,



8 responses to “Organized for Success or for Failure?

  1. Great post Colleen. Covey’s for quadrants and GTD are also useful systems for achieving results and layer on top of the systems you mention in this post!

  2. Hello Colleen,

    I noticed that you gave a list of various CRM systems in the article. I’d like to mention my own personal CRM system, KarmaCRM ( Karma is a web-based CRM that just got out of beta this month. It is more streamlined for small businesses who might not need all the complex features of Salesforce, but it includes all the necessary tools to make your sales force more efficient. I believe your article hits all the best points for why a good CRM system is necessary for success in sales.

  3. HI Colleen
    I am a Music for Young Children teacher and find this topic very relevant
    we are often collecting contact information over months and years and it is easy to
    lose information and identity of potential customers
    I have a Macbook and wonder where to look for good applications

  4. Using proper CRM software to manage calls can definitely boost productivity over say a paper based system or a spreadsheet.

    I won’t spam a link but BrightPearl is another online CRM system which is aimed at smaller businesses.

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