Managing the status of your customer inquiry in an efficient way doesn't require big investment
In the age of technology boom, there are many good tools out there to help you manage your customer's inquiry in the CRM cycle. Today I would like to share free tool that I have introduced to the company that I am currently working for. This tool is called "Trello". There is an paid version for advance users, for us we are finding the free version working quite well for now.
The problem that our sales team was facing was the fact that customer's inquiry was not tracked properly on a centralized system. Each individual sales kept track of their own inquiry with their own way, on their own comfortable system. This could tracking could either be on their on email inbox, their excel spreadsheet, on their own notebook...As result, there was no way for the management to keep track of the team status. For instance the management weren't able answer some of the critical questions below.
1. How many customer inquiries were received each month
2. Which channels were the inquiries coming from (website/exhibition/social media/ magazine / agents / customer referrals...etc)
3. Which regions were the inquiries coming from (Asia, North America, Africa, Europe...)
4. The distribution of product being asked for
5. Whats the workload of each sales person each month
6. Which are the problematic inquiries
7. Are there inquires that has been on hold for too long in the sales cycle
8. Understand the status of each inquiry (At which stage each of the inquiry is at)
"Trello" is a software that has helped us organize the information; helping us answer and keep track of the questions mentioned above in a very visually effective way.
Trello's interface is broken down into three main sections. 1. Board 2. List 3. Cards
Below is a sample inquiry tracking board that was created at our company, organized by the stage(List) of the customer inquiry below
1. New inquiry
2. Specification verification
3. Quotation (work in progess)
4. Quotation completed
5. 1st follow up
6. 2nd follow up
7. Reaching a deal
8. Unsuccessful case
9. unresponsive case
* Note that due to confidentiality, this is not the actual company board
If there was successful deal for a case, then this case gets send to the next board called "order followup", organized as below with the following List
1. Making order
2. Confirm order specification (customer end)
3. Confirm order specification (company end)
4. Press trial run
5. Trial run completed
6. Ready for shipment
7. Shipment completed
Each of the cards that was created had 6 basic information attached to it.
1. Name of the company
2. Product request
3. Where did the request came from (region)
4. Date that the request came in
5. Responsible sales person
6. Which channel did it came through
Through the data recorded on Trello, the company management is now able to effectively over see the entire on going inquiries at the company. To better manage each sales persons's work load and to spot an issue case quickly. From a marketing perspective, I was able to identify and analyze which are the more effective channels, where most of our inquires are coming from in terms of the region, is there a seasonality trend for the incoming inquiries, which product models are being asked the most. In turn, with these data, I was able to formulate effective sales and marketing strategies for the company. Economics 101, we always find ourselves with limited resource and unlimited wants. Therefore, it is very important to allocate the resource effectively. To allocate the company resource to the most effective channels and regions, and to forfeit the ones that weren't that effective. At the same time to spot that if there are any missing opportunities at the company.
Below are a few charts from the Trello data
* Note that due to confidentiality, this is not the actual company figure
Some simple analysis above should give you valuable insights on how to allocate your sales and marketing resources.