As we head towards the end of 2014, it is a great time to finish the year with a tidy desk and tidy IT systems and data. Many businesses will break up at the end of this week, so there will be less in the way of new opportunities and new sales especially in B2B organisations.
One really good discipline is to use the extra time in the office to purge and prune records in your CRM system.
Whether your CRM system is a spreadsheet or a fully-populated software application or cloud service, it’s good practice to purge the data and records within it.
Ideally, ask a colleague to sit with you, and explain to them the opportunity, the last activity, and how the potential sale matches your business and marketing objectives. Be really honest, and if you haven’t heard from the prospect at all in say six months, close the opportunity.
Instead of marking the records as ‘closed lost’ we use a ‘closed fizzled’ status. These are for opportunities that just fizzled out, perhaps the prospect found another way of solving the problem, or bought from someone else. Ideally it would be great to know what happened, but your efforts are better spent on more current opportunities. Frustrating though it may be, sometimes things just fade out.
Working through all the active opportunities, check your email, notebook and phone records. Add new notes and records in the CRM system to reflect these communications with the prospect. It shows to other users of the CRM system that the opportunity is still alive, and is to be developed further. If you posted a flyer or brochure, make sure that the prospect has received this – have you phoned them to check? If they have received it, then make a note of it in the CRM system too.
Purge your data, and end the year with a tidy desk, tidy systems, and a clear set of opportunities to develop in 2015.