I See Dead People... In My Database

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I wasn't looking for dead people. I was searching for someone else and stumbled across a former client who had died. It's hard to let go when someone dies, even harder when they are still alive. We always hold out the hope that they just might respond to a re-connect email. At least I didn't wish them "Happy Birthday" on Facebook.

Established companies are lucky. Unlike start-ups, companies who have been in business for any length of time have existing customers and prospects. If they are really lucky, there are a bunch of folks who may have said "No" when they really meant, "Not yet". If your contact database appears to be dead-on-arrival, don't give up hope. With a bit of triage and intervention, you may be able to resuscitate your business development and breathe new life into your sales.

Salesforce.com and Forbes recently teamed up to take a close look at how businesses manage their contacts. When asked which tool they used, 39% used an email tool like Outlook, 24% used a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel, and only 9% used a cloud-based CRM platform. The study concluded that switching to a dedicated CRM platform increased sales by 29%. I use a cloud-based solution. I can access, edit and prospect from any device connected to the Internet.

If you are using brute force instead of finesse to manage your contacts, making a change now is an important first step to hitting your revenue target in 2017. There is no such thing as a "One-size-fits-most" platform for this most important business tool. Give me a call with your questions and I promise to point you in the right direction. 904-566-8325

Database Triage

If you find yourself in a situation of a having a whole bunch of contacts and very little insight about who to contact, start with triage. In a hospital setting with mass casualties, medical staff segment the patients into groups, then document their injuries. Start your effort to bring your database back to life by identifying who to keep and who to let go. Past clients can always be saved. Tag former clients to allow you to perform a search. Do the same for prospects. Tag friends and associates appropriately, not to include them, but to eliminate the temptation to contact them as a distraction during your prospecting time.

Eliminate Distractions

Here in the south, we use the term "Fixing to" as a way to get ready to get ready. The Internet, especially social media, is the biggest time-sink known to humanity. In his new book, High-Profit Prospecting, author Mark Hunter recommends just saying no to the endless research disguised as prospecting. Mark believes you only need three things to start prospecting:

  • Identify potential companies and people to prospect 
  • Identify specific contact information 
  • Identify a reason for the call

Work the Process

To increase your prospecting success, you’ve got to climb the 5 levels to CRM Nirvana:

  • Address Book – Contains nothing but contact demographic info.
  • History – Where you captured your discussions and decisions.
  • Social Listening – Real time information about where they hang out and what they and their peers are talking about.
  • Connections – Who do they know? Who do you know that they know?
  • Schedule – The result of asking the question “What’s Next?”

 What's Next

As soon as you leave a networking event, ask "What's next?" Use your digital tools to get prospects into your CRM quickly. The moment you end a phone conversation ask "What's next?" When a client or prospect request arrives via email, ask "What's next?". Get in the habit of either taking action immediately or scheduling the follow up ASAP.

I No Longer See Dead People

I ended up removing the former client from my database, but not before reflecting on the success we accomplished and what I learned from them. We only have the present, so I've returned to the here and now to see what I can do to help you learn. May today and every day of 2017 be, 
Just Another Day In Paradise!

Resources

Use the links below to extend your learning.