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Sales Negotiation - Introduction, Styles and Common Mistakes

What is Sales Negotiation?

Sales negotiation is a strategic discussion between the Buyer and Seller before finalizing the terms and conditions of the deal. 

The Objective of any Sales Negotiation process is to arrive at an agreement on the terms and conditions of the deal.

The best practice for a long-term relationship between Buyer and Seller is to try to cut the deal with a Win-Win for both parties. Sometimes, it may also require the parties to lead to a little bit of compromise on certain terms but ultimately helps close the deal.


Identify your Negotiation Style:

Before you move further with Sales Negotiation 101, you must know that you would have played the role of a Negotiator sometime in the past either way. So this is not Rocket Science that you cannot learn. You just need to understand where you stand and where do you need to upskill in order to make a mark in Sales Negotiation discussions.

In order to assess your current know-how, you need to know your own negotiation style. Refer to the below image. This graph represents a view on how do you put your own needs and wants versus your customer’s needs and wants. 

 

[Image Credits - Negotiations.com ]

Pause and think about a few Sales Deals you have handled in the recent past and assess where do you stand.

The 5 types of Negotiation styles are:

  1. Compete - I Win – You Lose
  2. Avoid – I Lose – You Lose
  3. Accommodate – You Win – I Lose
  4. Compromise – I win/lose some you win/lose some.
  5. Collaborate – I Win – You Win.

Assess yourself against your negotiation style and contrast it with the long-term goals you have for your Client. Assess if your current negotiation style is correct or would need any course correction in order to build the type of relationship you would like to build with the Customer.


Common Mistakes in Sales Negotiation


1. Lack of Preparation

Often, due to lack of time, Sales teams tend to avoid engaging in the right amount of preparation before the Sales Negotiation meeting. Lack of preparation may lead you to either compromise on the deal or on in the worst case, you also stand chance to lose the deal. Hence, ensure to always prepare before the meeting. You may not have all the time in the world to do an in-depth preparation if you are handling loads of parallel deals, however, ensure to prepare on the fundamentals such as basic research about the customer, the stakeholders, the value proposition of the products or services which you are selling, the terms and conditions of your sales deal or contract, pricing, alternate competitor pricing for the same value proposition, Non-monetary benefits comprising your value proposition, etc. 

2. Not Listening or Understanding Customer pain points

Customers love the Sales professionals who take time to listen to their problems patiently and try to understand their pain points rather than those who try to push sell things without even properly listening to them. This shall take you nowhere in negotiation. If you are unaware of the pain points of the customer, you will never be able to arrive at a common agreement in the negotiation unless you solve the pain point or at least alleviate it.


3. Rigid Behavior, Ego, Putting yourself first

Some Salespeople tend to have rigid behavior and a tendency to keep their needs first. They tend to think of themselves as superior to the customer’s problems and try to force their terms and conditions onto the customer. Sometimes overachievers tend to take it as a war and tend to think that they have always won the war and should never allow others to win. This tendency pushes them to oversell and try to push hard to win the deal without a healthy negotiation. 


4. Not planning how much to concede

In Sales, Conceding things are important so that it leaves you with the appropriate capacity to provide concession during sales negotiation discussion. However, during the discussions, Beginners tend to make 2 kinds of mistakes. The first is conceding too much information, too early in the discussion. The second is conceding nothing, i.e. giving away all the concessions too early during the discussions. Both the cases are detrimental to sales success. You should have a fine balance between both in order to succeed. Understand how much to concede in the beginning and gradually start giving concession over the course of discussion.


5. Lowering Expectations for the overall negotiation

Some sales professionals, tend to have a preconceived notion of associating Negotiation with Compromise. This misconception leads them to lower their expectations even before the actual negotiation takes place. This tends to automatically affect the confidence and ultimately their performance and engagement during the discussion.


6. Getting Intimidated or Confused

Beginner sales professionals sometimes tend to get intimidated by the other Client Stakeholders during the meeting and in this state of confusion, sometimes tend to sign a bad deal by compromising on many terms. Avoid getting intimidated, since sometimes buyers may also be aware of such tactics such as Bad Cop/Good cop and may use it from their perspective as well as part of their procurement negotiation.


7. Underestimating their Power

Being a Sales professional, you must never underestimate your Power. Since you have been selling your products and services, you are far more knowledgeable about your own products and services compared to the buyer. You may be well aware of your value in the market in order to confidently stand defending your deal. Have a backup in place such as the alternatives you will try out if you lose the deal. This shall help you gain more confidence.


Hope this primer helped you get an introduction to Sales Negotiation. There is a lot more to learn on Sales Negotiation to propel your sales career to the next level. Want to read some more on this topic? Comment below your thoughts and let me know.


A Good Sales CRM can help propel your Sales team by enabling them with the data they need for effective Sales Negotiation. Have you tried ToolsOnCloud CRM yet? Try for FREE!


 5 Key Benefits of using a CRM Software

In the current fast paced business environment, a good CRM software plays a critical role in the growth story of an organization poised for hyper growth. In this post, Let us learn about 5 Key Benefits of using a CRM Software for your business.


1. Better Customer Segmentation and Personalization:

CRM Software helps you centralize your data by bringing all the contact information into one single platform. With all the data in a single place, you are now more equipped to segment your contacts effectively. 

With better segmentation, your communication with your contacts are now more personalized. This ultimately helps the organization improve conversion rate thus helping reduce sales cycle duration and increase revenue.


2. Improved Customer Satisfaction and Retention:

Overtime, the CRM Software becomes a repository of your interaction with your customers from multiple sources such as past Email communication, Chat conversations, past Incident history, Interests, past Purchase history, etc. This data helps your Sales, Marketing and Service teams better serve the contact so that they can provide them more contextual solution to their problems. This helps improve customer satisfaction ultimately helping increase customer retention. 

More satisfied and happy the customers are, more are the chances of them referring your products and services within their networks, which ultimately increases your business prospects. Remember that a prospect is 20x more likely to buy a product or service from you if it is recommended by one of their friends. Your satisfied customers become your product evangelist and become your free sales army advertising about your products and services with free word of mouth marketing.


3. Automation of key Business Processes:

There are many business processes performed by Sales, Marketing and Services teams. Some of the commonly expected business processes are listed below.

  • Sales: Lead Management, Account Management, Cross Selling, Up selling, Quote Management, Sales Activity Management, Invoicing, Report & Sales Analytics, etc.
  • Marketing: Customer Segmentation, Campaign Management, Activity based workflow Management, Reports and Marketing Analytics, etc.
  • Service: Request Tracking, Ticket Assignment, Knowledge base Management, Chat bot, Performance Reports, etc.

A Good CRM Software is equipped to automate all of the common business processes. This can significantly bring down the time taken to do the same tasks manually. Now, the team can achieve more in lesser amount of time.


4. Productivity Improvement of Sales, Marketing and Service Teams.

With the help of a CRM Software, your team members in Sales, Marketing and Service teams would now spend lesser time on data entry and operational tasks. This would help them focus on more important tasks. 

  • Sales team can spend more time interacting with customers and closing deals rather than spending time scrambling through multiple mail chains and their rolodex. 
  • Marketing team can focus on increasing customer engagement with more personalization instead of working on low ROI marketing techniques which is usually the case in absence of any organized data about contacts. 
  • Service team can now focus on solving more complex customer issues rather than spending time on smaller repetitive queries whose resolution response can be automated.


5. Real Time Reports and Analytics

One of the primary reason why businesses fail is because they fail to take right corrective action at the right time. This usually happens when the leaders do not get timely insights on the whereabouts of their business and the KPIs which decides the fate of their business. 

In conventional organizations, they still tend to rely on periodic (Quarterly, Monthly or Weekly) reports prepared manually by an Analyst in their team. Rarely do they realize that by the time they would uncover certain issue in the numbers, the data would be stale by that time. 

Modern businesses need fast paced solutions to keep tab on their numbers in real time. Modern Cloud based CRM Software helps them achieve that by providing real time reports and analytics so that they can keep track of the status of their business on real time and take strategic action instantly to meet their business objectives.


I hope you liked reading this post. Feel free to share the post if you found it useful. 


Introduction to Social CRM, Facts, Benefits, Advances

What is Social CRM?

Social CRM refers to approach of managing customer relationship by using Social media as the channel to listen and engage with Customers.

In CRM Software context, when a traditional CRM is integrated with your social media channels to help you manage your customer relationships from social media channels, it is termed as Social CRM.


Need for Social CRM:

Marketers tends to make mistake of thinking Social Media platforms as the place to only broadcast their social media posts and drive traffic. 

But there is more to it. Social Media should be used for more for listening to the customers or prospects and engaging with them. 

Social CRM Landscape


Some associated facts:

As per a 2017, Techwire Asia article 
  • 95% of customer complaints on social media don’t reach companies.
  • 1/3rd of all customer complaints on social media are ignored.
  • 80% of surveyed companies said they deliver exceptional customer service on social media but only 8% of their customers agreed on the same.
  • 63% customers expect companies to offer customer service on Social media channels.
  • 90% of social media users used social media to engage/communicate with a brand.
  • When people get responses on social media, they are 30% more likely to recommend a brand to others.
  • Implementing a good Social CRM could help improve annual revenue by 81% through referrals as well as reduce customer churn by helping you improve customer retention up to 92%.

Benefits of social crm for sales teams:

  • Increase in Lead Inflow: Sales teams get to generate more leads from Social Media.
  • Hot Leads: The Leads from social media are mostly comes from referrals via viral posts or comments from their friends thus they are far more likely to convert.
  • Reduced Sales Cycle: The leads from Social Media are informed prospects, hence the sales cycle duration reduces thus helping in faster sales conversion.
  • Multichannel Selling: Modern Social Media platforms are also equipped with sales store front. Thus Social CRM helps track the sales or leads getting generated from multiple social media channels and bring it together inside one single CRM, thus enabling the organization towards multi-channel sales.

Benefits of social crm for Marketing team:

  • Better Customer Segmentation: Social CRM contains a lot of customer demographic information from social media. It helps the Marketers in better customer segmentation and enables them to create more contextual and personalized marketing campaigns.
  • Instant Feedback & Sentiment Analysis: Customers find it easier to interact on social media comments and messengers compared to usual email or ticket based communication on website. Social CRM is helping the Marketers get more up-to date real-time customer sentiments and feedback about their products and services from social media. This helps them improve their product and service offerings. Also it helps them optimize & improve their marketing communications.

Benefits of social crm for service teams:

  • Customer Issue Resolution: Sometimes Customers use social media channel as an escalation mechanism if they are not happy with the resolution provided by your usual service help desk. This shall help Service teams take the issue on priority and shall help them transfer the ticket to a more experienced customer service rep to take it to satisfactory closure. 
  • Process Improvement and Knowledge base Development: With social media sentiments on the issues, you get to understand certain frequently occurring issues which are painful for your customers. This data helps you do deep dive towards improving your customer resolution process better and improves you’re the knowledge base documentations for your service teams to serve future similar issues better.
  • Ease of Connect: Whenever customers are unable to get certain help with your product and services from available public sources, they find it easier to interact with their brands via social media or on your social media community to find answers to their queries.

Things to look for in a social crm:

  • Integration: Features such as Integration with top social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Telegram, WhatsApp, etc.
  • Analytics & Insights: The platform should be equipped to extract data from your social media channels to give you reports, analytics and actionable real-time insights on what is working out versus what is not working.
  • Social Media Management: It should let you manage your multiple social media accounts from one single platform such as post scheduling, comment and message notifications. Primarily it should equip you with Listening, Publishing and Engagement on your social channel.
  • Team Collaboration: It should offer a collaborative way of working so that you can add your team members in the application and work together.

Advances in Social CRM:

  • Automated Chat bots for answering to user messages, product enquiries, frequently asked questions sent on Social Media messengers.
  • Follower tracking features which lets you track lost followers in addition to new followers. Source of followers such as organic vs paid.
  • RoI Insights such on Organic Impressions vs Paid Impressions.
  • Budget based alerts and controls on Paid Social Media campaigns.
  • Integration with Video meeting platforms such as Skype, Zoom, Slack , etc, to take up instant product demo, calls or meetings with prospect.
  • Integration with document storage platforms to automatically sync and store artifacts related to key client conversations.
  • Social media sales workflow for automating many repeatable sales processes associated with new lead capture and nurturing via social media channels.
  • Ability to pull contact and other information from Prospect’s social media public profiles such as LinkedIn, Public databases, etc.

If you liked reading this post, Do comment below and let me know your thoughts. 

Do not forget to share the post. Also subscribe to our free newsletter to get updates on similar posts in future.

Looking for a Sales CRM? Try ToolsOnCloud CRM for free


Complete Guide to Lead Management

Who is a Lead?

Lead is a person who you think might be interested in buying your products or would be interested in what you offer such as information related to the products or services you sell. It is also alternatively called Business Enquiries in some organizations.


What is Lead Management?

Lead management refers to the process of capturing sales leads, qualifying them and nurturing them in order to make them sales ready to handover to sales executives to take it forward for deal opportunity closure.

Steps in Lead Management process:

  1. Identify your Lead profile/persona.
  2. Get the list of leads as per your expected lead profile (Marketing Qualified Leads)
  3. Establish Lead assignment rules.
  4. Assign Leads to Sales reps based on assignment rules.
  5. Prioritize Lead follow-up and activities based on Lead scores.
  6. Nurture your leads based on their engagement status as Cold, Warm or Hot.
  7. Update the engagement status periodically based on lead nurturing and follow up discussions.
  8. Track and Analyze sales progress, incorporate feedbacks and iteratively improve process.

Challenges faced by Sales reps while managing Leads


  • With increase in the number of leads, manual or spreadsheet based tracking often leads to missed follow-ups and delayed sales activities leading to lost opportunities.
  • When the sources of capturing leads increases, manual tracking leads to missed lead capture leading to lead leakage and missed opportunity.
  • Many important data points get missed in manual tracking such as contact information or any specific point discussed with the lead around his requirement.
  • Without using a streamlined Lead Management system, sales reps find it difficult to decide which lead to prioritize for improving lead qualification.

What is a Lead Management System?


A Lead Management system is a software application which helps you manage your end to end Lead Management process. It helps you capture leads from multiple sources into the CRM, view and update their stage in your lead funnel, nurture leads with contextual campaigns, educate them to make them sales ready. Once a lead successfully traverses through a lead lifecycle, the next step is to create a deal or opportunity out of the lead, which is taken forward by the Sales Executives.


Benefits of using a Lead Management System in CRM:

  • Consolidated 360 degree view of a Lead to help the reps for better Lead Nurturing.
  • Lead Scoring to help Sales reps to decide the lead priority.
  • Clean and Validated data points in the CRM to avoid unnecessary clutter to help focus better.
  • Sales workflow automation of multiple operational tasks such as scheduling a meeting, follow-up reminders and alerts on planned activities, lead assignment, etc.
  • Complete history of past interaction of Sales rep and the Lead on multiple mediums such as Email, Messages, Chat, Phone calls, Social Media, Digital Document interactions, etc.
  • Consolidated data points in a single CRM platform helps you get meaningful insights on your Lead management data and provides you with recommendations for improvement.
  • Increase in Lead Conversion rate and sales revenue. 
  • Reduction in sales cycle duration.
  • Increased ROI on Marketing investment for capturing leads



Ways to perform Lead Management:

1. Ways to Capture Leads in CRM

  • Manual Entry: If the Lead addition frequency is less, then you can add the Lead’s record manually in the CRM 
  • Import from External List: If there are lot of leads to be added from an external list, Import it into the CRM via Bulk Import function.
  • Lead Capture Forms on Website: If you have a landing page from your digital marketing advertisements or website contact forms, then you can embed the Lead Capture form from the CRM into the Website which will automatically capture your leads into the CRM.
  • Lead Capture Integration with Social Media: If you get leads from Social Media, then there are lot of social media plugins or integrations available in CRM systems to help automatically capture the leads into your CRM.

2. Ways to Manage Leads in CRM

  • Data Validation: Use field Validation rules to capture data uniformly to keep database clean
  • Lead Scoring: Define the criteria for lead scoring in the CRM to automatically give Lead scores in order to prioritize leads.
  • Lead Assignment: Assign the active leads to respective sales reps either manually or through assignment rules.
  • Labelling: Label or categorize the leads correctly based on their engagement level such as Cold, Warm or Hot.


3. Ways to Nurture Leads

  • Personalized Email Marketing: Run contextual and personalized email marketing campaigns for the leads. You may want to run different type of campaigns for leads in different stage of the funnel say Cold, Warm or Hot leads.
  • Free Educational Content: Periodically, try sending free educational contents to the leads without asking them for any favors. Based on the interaction to view or download the content, you may gauge their updated stage in the lead funnel. If you are helping the lead in educating them in their buying journey, surely they may show some interest in your products at a later stage.
  • Webinars: Invite them for online webinars and conferences on some topic of generic interest. This shall help you improve your brand imagery in the minds of the leads. The leads would be more interested in associating themselves with brands which try newer ways of marketing compared to conventional ways. This shows that the Organization is serious about their business and leads.
  • Social Media Groups and Updates: Create a group of interested leads in social media. Regularly answer their day to queries by commenting on their posts. This is one of most effective way get more visibility since social media comments are viral in nature. Keep posting regular updates on your social media fan pages so that your fans know that you are alive.

If you liked reading this post, Do share it with your friends. 

Are you looking for a Lead Management System? Try ToolsOnCloud Sales CRM for free!
Guide to getting Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) deals

 Heya, Hope you liked reading my previous post on Sales Suspecting. In this article, we shall discuss a detailed guide to understand the Business Process Outsourcing business and how to win BPO deals from the organizations willing to outsource.

Let us get started...

What are BPO deals?

BPO stands for Business Process Outsourcing. It refers to the process of contracting some of the standard & repeatable business processes of the organization to a 3rd party vendor or so called BPO firms or consultant.

BPO deals are usually categorized in 2 major categories:
  1. VOICE PROCESS – This majorly deals with handling calls for the client which might be related to customer service, outbound sales calls, or any helpdesk based Call center process.
  2. NON-VOICE PROCESS – This business process deals with all types of backend paper work, documentations or analysis, related works. 


Industries which provides BPO Contracts:

Almost all major industries provides outsource their business processes. Some of the notable ones are:
  1. Manufacturing
  2. Education
  3. Healthcare
  4. Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI)
  5. Media & Entertainment
  6. Real Estate
  7. Retail and e-Commerce
  8. Telecom
  9. Energy & Utilities
  10. Automobile
  11. Transportation & Logistics

Major types of BPO contracts given:

Here are some of the types of Business Process work usually being outsourced to BPO firms:
  1. Call Center Services
  2. Data Entry Services
  3. Engineering Design Services
  4. Finance, Accounting & Taxation processes
  5. Healthcare BPO Services
  6. Insurance BPO Services
  7. Market Research & Analysis processes
  8. Mortgage BPO services
  9. Legal Process Outsourcing
  10. Photo & Video Editing services
  11. Transcription and Translation Services

What do companies look for while outsourcing BPO contracts?

Organizations which tend to award business process outsourcing contracts, tend to evaluate the BPO vendor firms on the following selection criteria (though this is not the only complete list, there can be few more parameters as well).

  1. Expertise: The Industry or domain expertise of the BPO firm
  2. Services Offered: The types of business process services the firm provides or has delivered in the past.
  3. Staff: The number of employees in the firm who can carry out their business process.
  4. Client base: The major clients for which the BPO firms cater to, It can provide a testament of the quality of the work the BPO firms deliver, but at times if you are catering to any competitor of the prospect organization without much data protection and privacy policies in place, then it shall backfire.
  5. Rates:  The price point at which you will deliver the process whether it is hourly rate or a fixed rate or transaction based rate based on number of tasks completed or processed.
  6. Financial Statements: This is assessed to find out the financial stability of the firm, since if the financials of the firm are weak then it presents a risk for an organization to hand over their critical process fearing what will happen if the BPO firm goes out of business suddenly.
  7. Data Security Frameworks: Since the BPO firm will have direct access to some of critical data of the Organization, they tend to evaluate the measures and policies the BPO firm has put in place to protect their data.

Why would an organization be interested in outsourcing BPO contracts?

  1. Cost Reduction: Hiring a big permanent workforce and office involves a huge Capital Expenditure. The organization can reduce that overhead cost by outsourcing the business processes.
  2. Quality of Deliverables: The work done by good professional BPO firms would be of better quality compared to it being delivered in-house. This is because the BPO firms are having relevant  experience working with multiple clients in the same domain with expert and experienced staff who can deliver more efficiently and accurately.
  3. To focus on core business: Outsourcing some of the non-core activities to a professional firm helps the organization to free up some of their resources so that they can focus on activities involving their core line of business.
  4. Scalability: When an organization want to scale up to new markets or businesses, situation will arrive where they need quick help of local experts who can help them scale faster. That’s where the BPO firms come as a savior.

How to get BPO deals from an organization?

  1. Go around prospecting from your lead list and reach out to the Organizations where you are comfortable with their processes.
  2. Request for their qualification criteria for providing BPO services.
  3. If you meet their criteria, talk to all key stakeholders or the owners of different business processes in multiple departments.
  4. Based on their Needs and your Strength mapping, try asking for a Pilot BPO project to one of the decision makers.
  5. Show some case study as a testament to your past project with another Client.
  6. Execute the task with high quality deliverables and go back to the Client stakeholder asking for more outsourcing assignments.
  7. Demonstrate the work done in Pilot project to key decision makers in other departments where you foresee opportunities for process outsourcing projects to win more deals.

What are the KPIs for BPO delivery?

BPO firms are evaluated on multiple Key Performance Indicators and metrics to assess their deliverables. The important ones are listed here. These are important for a BPO firm since the better are your KPIs, the better is your chance to keep winning newer opportunities from the existing Clients.
  1. Quality of Deliverables.
  2. Time Taken to deliver the project.
  3. Ability to accommodate project scope changes.


Hope you liked reading this post. Have you tried our Cloud based Sales CRM? Checkout now it's free!
6 Proven Ways for Sales Suspecting
You might have read multiple articles on Sales Prospective guide, but this post is about Sales Suspecting. 

Yes, you heard it right! In this post, we shall explore 6 Proven Ways for sales suspecting.

Sales Suspecting vs Sales Prospecting

  • Remember that Suspect is different from Prospect and both are not same.
  • SUSPECT: is anyone and everyone in your target Market. They are more interested in the information you provide than the product or services you are selling.
  • PROSPECT: is anyone who is interested in buying or trying out your product or services.
  • In Lead qualification process, your first job is to filter out and identify the actual Prospects from the huge list of Suspects.
  • But in order to do that, you need to first have a list of Suspects database to whom you can reach out to. How do you get that? Let’s explore that…


Here are the 6 proven ways to do Sales Suspecting:

1. Buying List

  • Personally I don’t buying list from a broker, however I usually refrain from brokers who tend to share list from unauthorized ways without complying on privacy norms of respective leads.
  • However there seem to be many platforms which provide you contact lists from publically available sources like company profile pages, publically visible social media data, etc.
  • You can also get the data from the public pages, however the amount of time and effort it will take for you to get all the data for thousands of suspect list would be way too much compared to what you can pay to the list supplier or the data platforms.

2. Get referred

  • Remember that in sales, an evangelist customers is more powerful than an army of sales person. A prospect is highly likely to get converted if he is referred by someone who has used your product or services.
  • Whenever you get to talk to your customers, ask them for a referral be it a friend, past colleague or a business supplier or their own customer, etc. The list can be endless. 
  • Just ask for an introduction and rest will be taken care on auto-pilot. Depending on the type of the business you are engaged in, even one or two referral suspects should also be good enough to convert.

3. Content marketing

  • Provide Free Contents relevant to your products on multiple media. It can be on your blog, website, newsletters, etc. Do not ask anything in return from them apart from their email id where you can deliver the contents regularly or keep them posted of the updates.
  • Overtime you will accumulate a list of subscribers are your suspects who might be very likely to try your products and services.
  • Periodically try offering some compulsive offers to them so that they can try out your offerings. The ones who shows some interest or hits your call to action button might be the ones you should get back and check out if they are serious prospects or just another suspect.

4. Social media

  • Join Social media groups related the line of business where you sell your products or the type of groups where your prospects might be present. 
  • If there are no such relevant groups available, you may create your own groups or community and try inviting few people.
  • Actively engage with the social media posts in groups where anyone might be asking for some help regarding the type of product you sell be it a usage instruction or some issue which they might be facing. Encourage more members to post their questions, which shall help you identify the usual members vs qualified suspects.
  • Make a list of those suspects and add it your CRM.

5. Conferences and trade shows

  • If your sales and marketing budget permits for travel, then buy a ticket to relevant trade shows and conferences in the line of business you are operating in.
  • For a sales person, Conferences and Trade shows are not meant just to go, checkout and come back. Instead, meet people around, talk to them, get their business cards or contacts and note it down in your CRM.

6. Conduct Webinars

  • If conference and trade show travel expenses are something which your company cannot afford to spend. Then Webinars are your next best option.
  • Subscribe to an Online Video Meeting tool like WebEx, Zoom or Microsoft Teams and get a subscription suitable to host an online meeting.
  • Run a campaign with the Topic of the Webinar, the person to be present as host or invitee and keep a registration form along with them so that people can enter their contact information to receive the invite containing Meeting link to watch it live.
  • Post the registration link in multiple social media links, message it to your contacts, your mailing list, etc and make it go viral and get the maximum number of prospect contacts.
  • I would personally avoid streaming it live on YouTube or Instagram in this case since we are looking to gather a list of suspects for our sales.
  • Do not forget to add all your suspects in your CRM tool.


Have you tried our cloud based Sales CRM? Try ToolsonCloud Sales CRM today! It's Free.


What is an Invoice and how to prepare one?

If you are a seller, you might often come across the term “Invoice”. If you are still unaware of it or have an iota of doubt on this topic, Read on to know more.

What is an Invoice?

An Invoice is a document which is given by the seller to the buyer, as a legal and formal way of requesting for payment in lieu of the products and/or services rendered to the Buyer. It primarily contains the list of items being sold along with the price of each item. This document acts as a formal and legally binding way of asking for payment and can hold good in case of any dispute on any payment dues or terms of service since it acts as a proof that the customer was notified on the request for payment. Having said that, the more important purpose of using Invoice is for tracking the payments made for the goods and services sold.


What should be present in an Invoice?

For a document to be qualified as a formal Invoice, It should contain the following basic details:

  • The Name “Invoice” on top of the document.
  • A Unique reference number which is also known as the Invoice Number. It should be unique so that you can track it properly in your CRM or ERP.
  • Date the invoice was generated or sent to the customer.
  • Date of sales or the time period in which the service was provided to the customer.
  • Name and Contact information of the Buyer
  • Name and Contact information of the Seller.
  • Line wise listing of product items or services sold to the customer.
  • Per unit cost of each line item being sold to the customer.
  • It should mention any applicable discount on each line item or can be present at the end.
  • It should mention the applicable Tax on the sales of goods or services as per the applicable local laws governing the business.
  • And finally, it should mention that Total Amount to be paid by the Buyer.
  • Additionally you may want to include your company logo on it (the Seller Company’s logo) to make it look more appealing, it helps in your branding as well.

Checkout the sample Invoice document:



What is the difference between Sales Invoice and Purchase Invoice?

Sales Invoice: From the Perspective of the Seller, the invoice listing the products and/or services being sold is called Sales Invoice.

Purchase Invoice: From the Perspective of the Buyer, the invoice listing the products and/or services which he purchased is called Purchase Invoice from his reference.


How can you send invoice to your Customers?

If you are a Seller, you might be required to send the Invoice to your customers. If the number of invoices you send usually is less and can be managed manually, then you can manually type it in Word document in a pre-defined template and send it to your customer.

However if you are in growth stage and want to scale up, you should definitely use a CRM, ERP or Accounting software which can help you with an auto-generated invoice for you, so that it would be easier for you to organize the loads of invoices, track the payments better and reduce any manual errors.


Are you looking for a good CRM? Try out ToolsonCloud Sales CRM, It's Free,
Partner Program - How to earn by referring CRM software

With the successful launch of Toolsoncloud Sales CRM platform, we are introducing our Partner and Referral program. Here are the key highlights of our Partner program. 

If you an individual or a self employed CRM consultant or a IT consulting service provider whose customer is looking for a Sales CRM software, you may refer them to Toolsoncloud CRM. On successful sign-up, when the customer purchases the software licenses/seats, you shall get a fixed percentage commission on the purchase value.


ToolsonCloud CRM Partners program!

How you can you join our partner program and refer customers:
  1. Everyone is eligible to become our Partner irrespective of whether they are our customer or not. 
  2. Contact us to join our Partner program.
  3. We shall reach out to you with more information on the program and for further discussion to understand you better in order to align our common goals.
  4. You shall receive the required sales & marketing collaterals to help enable you with required sales information about Toolsoncloud Sales CRM offering. The collaterals are updated regularly based on Partner & Customer feedbacks.
  5. On every successful customer referral, when the customer registers and makes a payment of subscription fees, you shall get a decent industry standard referral commission as a percentage of the purchase.

How can you find the opportunity for referral:
  1. If you are a CRM Consultant or an IT consulting firm, you may encounter businesses who are looking to solve their sales and marketing problems, where you may find Toolsoncloud CRM having the capability to add value. 
  2. Many a times, Businesses whose core business is not related to IT may sometime find it difficult to understand terms around Cloud, CRM, etc, and they might need your expertise to help them assess the best offerings in the market and weave around a solution which solves their problem effectively. If Toolsoncloud CRM can solve their problem, please feel free to refer our platform.
  3. Many a times, CRM consultants go for training the sales staff on CRM strategy or benefits and get queries from the trainees to suggest them a CRM for some handson learning. In that case, please feel free to refer the trainees to Toolsoncloud CRM which is free for single users. Sometimes, the users also pays for the full subscription when they are satisfied by the software and would like to induct it for their whole sales team. In that case, you may earn decent share of your referral commission.

If you have any questions related to our partner program, Please feel free to reach out to us.
ToolsonCloud CRM - New feature updates for Mar 2021

Dear Customers,

Ever since we launched ToolsOnCloud CRM, our team is committed to enhance the product features and functionalities in order to give you best possible customer experience. We are continuously working on a solid product development roadmap for 2021 and would like to introduce you some of the features released in March 2021 upgrade. 

Our team has thoughtfully planned the product roadmap in order to help solve your challenging Business Problems. Our CRM roadmap shall be focused on:

  1. Enhancing your CRM experience to drive smoother CRM adoption within your organization.
  2. Organize your sales processes in order to free up your Sales reps to do the real sales work.
  3. AI and Data driven insights to help your Sales leaders take right decisions at right time.
Here are the features being released as part of our March 2021 production release.
 

  • Lead Management System:
You tend to get multiple sales leads who are unqualified and you receive them in huge quantity day after day. You cannot add it to your usual deal tracker because deal tracker's primary purpose is to help your Sales Executives to focus on qualified leads or prospects who are interested in buying and are having the required budget to buy from you. Introducing Lead Management System module within Toolsoncloud CRM which shall help you add and track all your leads in a separate dashboard so that you can track them as they move through the lead qualification stages such as Cold Leads, Warm Leads, Hot Leads, Qualified, Disqualified or Un-subscribed leads. In this dashboard, you can add comments from your lead background study and conversation history notes so that the Sales Executive can take a look at all of them from a single dashboard. Once your sales development representatives qualify the leads, you may add them to Deal Tracker pipeline so that your sales executive can take it forward.

  • Activity and Task Management system 
For every lead or deal, sales reps and executives would be having multiple planned activities and tasks like having a meeting, having a follow up call, lunch with the prospect, a site visit, etc. You would tend to forget those if you keep maintaining them in your emails or in your mind. You should free up your mind to focus on your upcoming deal meeting instead of trying to memorize or recall a list of tasks you need to do. If you keep trying to use brain for noting down tasks, then you would end up being exhausted. Now you can use Toolsoncloud CRM's Activity & Task Management module to create your tasks. You can view all the upcoming and overdue tasks within a single dashboard without the need to juggle between mails, your diary, your instant messenger history, etc.  


These features shall be available for general use starting 1st March 2021.

Hope the feature releases shall help support your business challenges in a more effective way so that you can now focus more on sales than on sales documentations and operational tracking.

If you are not yet a Toolsoncloud CRM user, Sign up for a free account here. 
Checkout complete CRM buying guide.

5 Step process for Consultative Selling

 In my previous post, I wrote about Consultative Selling fundamentals. In this post, let us discuss more on this topic and try to understand the steps behind Consultative selling so that any beginner can practice the art of consultative selling in an organized way.

Here are the 5 steps you need to follow in order to practice Consultative Selling:



1. Understand your Customer Background:

  • Regularly try to connect with your customer. Regular meeting ensures you get to learn more about your customer, the way they work, their work environment, the processes within their organizations, etc.
  • This shall help you provide more contextual solution later.


2. Listen:

  • Listening is one of the critical sales skills. Instead of speaking more about your products, you need to patiently listen to your customer. 
  • Patiently listen to your customer's pain points, the problems which he is trying to solve.
  • Listen to them in detail.


3. Ask Questions:
 

  • In order to know more, you need to ask more questions, probe the customer with different sales probing questions.
  • This shall help you know more about the various purchase processes within their organization, the probable budget of the customer for the requirement, the timeline which your customer is looking forward to close the purchase, the urgency of the requirement, the stakeholders and decision makers involved with the purchase.


4. Provide Free Solutions:
  • An important component of Consultative selling is providing free solutions. Keep providing your expertise and expert advices for free. Keep giving solutions to your client for their problems. Along with your solutions, you may be able to weave around your sales offerings where your products and services can add best value to Client.
  • Sometimes, you may realize the best solution to the client's problem may not require your products. In those cases, do not hesitate to provide the same solution. A working solution suggested with honesty builds Client trust on you. This trust is something which helps you win deals over salesy presentations in the long run.


5. Regular Follow-up:
  • In sales, regular follow-up helps you boost your deal win rates drastically. Many deals were lost, because the sales person didn't follow up with the Client to know if they needed any additional information or action to close the deal. Most of those deals were won by competitor vendors whose sales reps did a timely follow up.
  • Always follow up on time to know if there is any additional action pending. Try to understand what is stopping them for confirming the deal. Many a times, this follow up helps you clear out some easy obstacles to pluck the low hanging fruity deals. 
I hope you liked reading this post. Do let me know your thoughts. 

Looking for a Sales CRM to track your B2B Sales Deals? Try Toolsoncloud CRM Today. 

What is Consultative Selling?

In B2B Sales, One of the often heard approach of sales is Consultative selling or Solutions selling. In this post, let us discover what exactly is Consultative selling.

What is Consultative Selling:

Consultative selling or also known as solution selling is an approach where Salespersons engage their Prospects in a different way compared to conventional transaction based sales. In this approach, sales reps try to engage with customers more often like a Sales Advisor or like Solutioning consultant. 

In this approach, instead of trying to push sell the products which sales rep is selling, the representative tries to listen to the problems of customers in detail and try to weave around a solution to his problem in a more consultative way. In this process, he may identify where his products and services can add value in the solution stream and try to offer them to clients. In short, the representative tries to patiently listen to customer problems, understand their context in detail and try to offer them a solution for free. They try to meet the customers regularly to understand their context and situation in detail and try to offer a best fit solution.



This is a long term sales strategy. It may not give you results instantly, but slowly over a period of time you build trust by providing real value-add to your client. In this approach, you reap the benefits in long term with consistent sales later. In addition, customers slowly become your advocates and also help increase your sales by recommending you within their networks.

Consultative way of sales is not something very new in this world. Many front end sales staffs practice this approach unconsciously without being provided any explicit training on the same. 

Consider a situation, a customer visits an electronic shop to buy an oven. Customer had done some initial research about the products. Though he had decided the product at a particular price point, but he was not sure if it would meet his needs. Once he reached the store, he is greeted by the sales staff. On getting to know that customer is looking for an oven, the store representative asked, "May I know, what would you be using it for?". Customer replied by saying "He wants to use it for this family comprising of 6 members and is interested in baking cakes and cookies". Based on this context, the store representative suggested one product which suits customer needs better and was in fact lower priced than the one which the customer was planning to buy.

With this example you can understand that reps need to wear the shoes of customer and suggest a best solution to his problem which he is trying to solve. This may sometime mean that you may not get to sell high priced products. This is absolutely fine since you need to build trust with the customer and see them as a long term asset instead of trying to strike a single sales transaction. Push selling is not good for long run and customer never realizes the true value of those offerings since there was fundamental mismatch against his needs.

Suggested Reading: 5 Step process for Consultative Selling.

I hope you liked reading this post, do check out our other posts. 

Looking for a Sales CRM to organize your Sales Lead and Deal tracking? Try ToolsonCloud CRM, Its Free.