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Prospect organization & maximizing leads

I'm looking for input on how everyone manages their prospects. What organizational method do you use to keep track of contact info. Not only how you manage the names and phone numbers, but after you've made initial contact and are given follow up instructions (ie: Decision maker only comes in on Wed mornings, follow up with new owner in 6 weeks, call back in 2 days, etc...). How do you maximize this information to make the most effective use of this contact information and follow through? - by RainMaker
Hey Jeffrey, when I click on this thread I don't see my post. Is this one still up? - by RainMaker
Hey Jeffrey, when I click on this thread I don't see my post. Is this one still up?
I don't understand the question. - by Jeff Blackwell
I apologize, but it must be something peculiar to my computer. When I click on the thread, it shows my name only, but no post, which is odd because I know I have been able to see my own posts previously. That, combined with the fact that no one responded made me wonder if it was viewable. I just logged onto my other computer and the post shows normally, so I don't know why I can't view the post, but it seems to be a peculiarity on my end. Sorry for the confusion. - by RainMaker
I apologize, but it must be something peculiar to my computer.
Have you done a adware/malware/virus check? - by Prospector
I began to realize that text was missing from other programs, as well. Several reboots seem to have cleared it up. It is time to run a check. Thanks for the good advice. - by RainMaker
No suggestions out there?? - by RainMaker
No suggestions out there??
I guess we must of lost a few members on the latest server crash. :eek:

Personally, we developed our own custom web application. ;) - by Jeff Blackwell
If you're asking about software we use an older version of ACT! - by SpeedRacer
Our contact management software has "follow-up" built in. Basically, once the client is entered into the system you are asked about follow-up dates.

Our software is custom too. - by WobblyBox
Thanks, Speedy, I think I will try give the free trial of ACT a try. I've got business cards with little notes scribbled on them scattered all over my desk! - by RainMaker
I've got business cards with little notes scribbled on them scattered all over my desk!
Old School. :p - by Houston
I'm looking for input on how everyone manages their prospects. What organizational method do you use to keep track of contact info?
I believe that the organizing principle of an effective prospect tracking system focuses on giving you the ability to identify your short term future or immediate sales. In other words, you should be able to predict your sales in a fairly reliable manner.

Because of that belief, I keep things rather simple for myself. For instance, when I see a prospect for the first time, I have only a yellow legal pad in my hand. Based on the results of that meeting, I will transfer follow-up action dates to my planner/calendar which I keep in my car. That in itself would reveal that the prospect is live. I use a card file system and I make a card out for each live prospect containing the minimum information I need for contact.

Back at the office, I will assign my cards to a board that contains five categories. They are:

O--Opportunities (leads, targets, or referrals, yet to be called.)

FA--First Appointments. Appointment set but I've not seen.

25%--Met at least once. Estimated 25% chance of finalizing in a month or two.

50%--50% chance of closing within a month or so.

90%--90% chance of closing within one or two weeks.

Nobody gets into my hard drive except for order entry.

Again, the ability to identify business and opportunities is the driving force of my orgaization system

I did not invent that prospect board system. I credit Stephan Schiffman in his book High Efficiency Selling for the ideas. - by Gary Boye
Thank you, Gary. It is now several months after my original post and I AM STILL not automated in my lead tracking. It is comforting to know that I am not the last person on earth who relies on paper. - by RainMaker
I use ACT, but also keep a spreadsheet of leads/prospects. There is duplicate effort there, but I can analyze and report easier using the spreadsheet than I can w/ ACT (which I'm still learning). Hundreds of leads w/ loads of details can be crammed onto a spreadsheet of only a few pages, easy to print out, take it w/ you on the road, etc - by briand05
Thank you, Brian. This is still a challenge for me. I understand the importance of organization (theoretically), but have signficant difficulty in implementing it. :( - by RainMaker
I, being a Mac addict, use FileMaker to keep track of my prospecting ventures. I created a contacts database where I can attach tasks to each lead I am working on. So after each conversation with a potential customer I attach notes about the conversation, mailings I might be sending them, as well as follow up dates to contact them again. Then I am able to check each day to see which people I am supposed to be following up with.

Kathy - by TheWildBonBon
I'm looking for input on how everyone manages their prospects. What organizational method do you use to keep track of contact info. Not only how you manage the names and phone numbers, but after you've made initial contact and are given follow up instructions (ie: Decision maker only comes in on Wed mornings, follow up with new owner in 6 weeks, call back in 2 days, etc...). How do you maximize this information to make the most effective use of this contact information and follow through?
The best way to manage your prospecting abilities is with a computerized Contact Management system. They are so much better than any paper based systems that it's a no brainer to use a contact manager.

The most popular contact managers are ACT!, Goldmine and Salesforce.com. It is important to use one of the leaders because they are more likely to stay in business longer. And, you may need to use their tech support in the future.

ACT! is probably the best one to start with if you have never used a contact manager before. It's one of the least expensive, and it's a lot easier to learn and to use than the other two.

Once you master ACT!, and use it for a year or more, you might want to consider upgrading to a better system. But, that's the subject of another conversation.

The kind of information you need to collect and how to utilze that info depends on the selling system that you practice. If you can't write down the steps of your selling system from memory on one-half of a page, then you probably don't have one. - by JacquesWerth
Once you master ACT!, and use it for a year or more, you might want to consider upgrading to a better system. But, that's the subject of another conversation.

The kind of information you need to collect and how to utilze that info depends on the selling system that you practice. If you can't write down the steps of your selling system from memory on one-half of a page, then you probably don't have one.
Jacques, thanks. From what I've heard ACT is the way to go for me. I am embarrassed to admit this...am STILL using paper. I am putting this on the top of my priority list. - by RainMaker
If you can't write down the steps of your selling system from memory on one-half of a page, then you probably don't have one.
Would you clarify what you mean by this? The reason for my asking is the first thought that comes to my mind is "Who wouldn't have their 'selling system' memorized?" which leads me to believe that I must not be following you exactly. - by RainMaker
Would you clarify what you mean by this? The reason for my asking is the first thought that comes to my mind is "Who wouldn't have their 'selling system' memorized?" which leads me to believe that I must not be following you exactly.
Perhaps this may clarify the issue.
We have trained thousands of salespeople. At the begining the first day of training, less than twenty percent of them were able to write down their selling system on one-half of a page. One day later, very few of them could write it the same way again. - by JacquesWerth
Is this a selling system? I target a prospect. I send them a mail piece. I call them for an appointment. I sell them my product. I ask for referrals. While I am in their neighborhood, I target all their neighbors. - by RainMaker
I use ACT, but also keep a spreadsheet of leads/prospects. There is duplicate effort there, but I can analyze and report easier using the spreadsheet than I can w/ ACT (which I'm still learning). Hundreds of leads w/ loads of details can be crammed onto a spreadsheet of only a few pages, easy to print out, take it w/ you on the road, etc
My problem with a spread sheet is I need to move stuff around too much. Call Wed. Move to Wed. etc. I don't want good leads falling through the cracks because I dropped them somewhere in my system.

As I am reviewing my ACT options, I'm getting confused by the various versions out there. Any helpful advice/recommendations, anyone? - by RainMaker
I use Time And Chaos software. You can download a fully functioning version to evaluate it from their website http://www.chaossoftware.com/ - by salespro929
I use Time And Chaos software. You can download a fully functioning version to evaluate it from their website http://www.chaossoftware.com/
Thanks, salespro929. That's the first I've heard of that one. How do you like it? Have you used ACT before? If yes, how do they compare? - by Rainmaker
I haven't used ACT but I have talked to people who have. What they are telling me is that TIME AND CHAOS provides everything that they need and you can download the full version and try it out. If you like it you can pay them for it. It does a great job for me. I think ACT is quite a bit more expensive. I hope this helps :-) - by salespro929
I haven't used ACT but I have talked to people who have. What they are telling me is that TIME AND CHAOS provides everything that they need and you can download the full version and try it out. If you like it you can pay them for it. It does a great job for me. I think ACT is quite a bit more expensive. I hope this helps :-)
Yes, Salespro, it helps quite a bit. Thanks! - by RainMaker
To Wobbly
What software you use and what are available online. Are there any good free stuff available ?? - by ahluwalia_deepak
To Wobbly
What software you use and what are available online. Are there any good free stuff available ??
We had our software built (custom). I'm not a big software person so I don't know what else is available. :sa - by WobblyBox
The most popular contact managers are ACT!, Goldmine and Salesforce.com. It is important to use one of the leaders because they are more likely to stay in business longer. And, you may need to use their tech support in the future.
I agree Jacques ACT!, Goldmine and Salesforce.com are the benchmark but can be expensive. Salesforce can charge $50-$100 per seat. Thats why we went to an open source CRM, Sugar. - by ginoayn
Thats why we went to an open source CRM, Sugar.
What is an "open source CRM?" - by RainMaker
I agree Jacques ACT!, Goldmine and Salesforce.com are the benchmark but can be expensive. Salesforce can charge $50-$100 per seat. Thats why we went to an open source CRM, Sugar.
I agree that it is a good idea to spend as little as possible when you are new to Contact Management and/or CRM systems.

When you use any sytem, be sure to back-up frequently to an Excel file. If you eventually decide to upgrade to a more expensive system, you will want to import the data from the open source system. That's because virtually any database system can import and export to Excel. - by JacquesWerth
I That's because virtually any database system can import and export to Excel.
Thanks for the tip, Jacques. Good advice. - by RainMaker
What is an "open source CRM?"

Hi RainMaker,

Heres a link to Sugars website.

http://www.sugarcrm.com/crm/ - by ginoayn
Thank you! - by RainMaker
Thank you!
Anytime RainMaker

Check out Downloads:Sugar Open Source

That version is free but... not 100% bug free.

(like everthing else...theres no free lunch) - by ginoayn
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