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Small traders can track sales and customer trends

Wednesday August 7 2013

A customer selects shoes at Kenyatta Lane in Nakuru. High cost of used footwear is snatching business from sellers. File

A customer selects shoes at Kenyatta Lane in Nakuru. Small traders can track sales and customer trends File 

By DORCUS MUTHONI

THE PRINCIPAL salesman of any enterprise is the business owner. This is simply the hard lesson that many small and micro enterprise (SME) owners learn over time. If you are not closing the sales, then you will not meet the sales targets through the efforts of your sales team only.

The cost of acquiring a customer is always high. It is estimated that the cost of acquiring a new customer is six to seven times more than keeping an existing client. Some examples of the costs associated with acquiring a new customer include promotions, advertising, personal selling, building trust, time and money spent explaining the business or product to new customers, price sensitivity, and setting up a new account.

For an existing customer, you essentially get repeat business. Existing customers are also less sensitive to price than new customers and therefore are more likely to be a source of future referrals. If there was ever a strong case for investing in and financing customer service, then this is it.

However, the challenge today, for most SMEs is that they have their prospects and customer data in the business owner’s personal phone books or those of their sales team. Other contacts may be distributed across your emails or a set of spreadsheets in the organisation.

But the tragedy occurs when a salesperson leaves the business as they tend to be armed with the entire contact database that you paid them every month to build as they worked in the sales department.

Which begs the question, how can business owners get on top of their sales tracking process and customer database? The answer to this question is investing in a business tool that helps with sales force automation as well customer account management. Such tools are mainly referred to as CRMs (customer relations management).

With such a tool, you can build a database of those people that you know, perhaps from your phone book, sales reports, anyone who hands you their business card, or even contacts from a business directory.

For each of these contacts, you can then classify those already doing business with you and then qualify those that are not. Selling is about relationships. Begin calling those you already know.

The beauty of having a good CRM tool is that for anyone qualified to buy a specific product, you can immediately send a quote from the same system. Such tools also help in keeping an updated product list or asset list for those involved in leasing or hiring. Your entire sales pipeline as build by the business owner and the entire sales team is visible at the click of a button.

No need for numerous calls requesting sales reports. All the data is readily available to the business owner to see. You can easily tell good and poor performers across products and sales people.

If you want to know your most loyal or high revenue customers, all this information will be there for you. And with this, you will know to whom to send the Christmas gift packs later in the year.

Be smart. This is the reason the large supermarkets introduced smart cards and can now tell much more about the many walk-in customers.

Author is: CEO/Founder, OPENWORLD LTD Email:[email protected]

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