Business Sustainability: Misplaced Sales

How is it possible to have something you are talking about one minute, and the next for it to vanish completely?

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salesLast night I found myself tearing through the living room, looking between every cushion and under every piece of furniture. I know I just had that card with that phone number in my hand, and now it had disappeared. How is it possible to have something you are talking about one minute, and the next for it to vanish completely?

I stumbled around the room, constantly flopping on the floor to get a better look under things. My wife sat on the couch, apparently unconcerned with my frantic nature. “It’s probably in your pocket,” she remarked. I looked at her incredulously, jumping up and riffling through my clothing, even going so far as to shake around thinking it would magically fall to the floor. Still no luck. I stared at her, questioning how she could be so calm when obviously I was frantic and annoyed. She sighed and stated, “Just retrace your steps and I’m sure you’ll find it.”

I sat for a moment, and suddenly realized I had previously gotten up and walked to the kitchen. As I retraced my steps, there was the card, sitting on the kitchen table where I had placed it only minutes before. Triumphantly I returned to the living room, card in hand. “See, I told you you’d find it,” she said, and went back to examining Facebook.

Why do I share this story with you? To show my obsessive insanity or demonstrate what my wife puts up with every day? No, it is to show you the importance of always retracing your steps, or in cases where the steps are multiple and the time extended, the importance of properly documenting and tracking your steps.

Over the course of the three plus years I have been at CRT we have accumulated hundreds, actually more like several thousands, of responses from potential customers that have heard about our products. Some of these inquiries are a result of advertisements, some press releases, some trade shows, websites, direct mail, or maybe just some guy told some other guy about a guy that used our stuff.

In the midst of all this, it would be impossible to keep up with individual conversations, much less then attribute this response or sale to a particular marketing piece. That is why it is so important to establish a program and properly track the steps being taken from initial conversation, through to close and beyond.

So now you are asking why should you care? Well I’m sure everyone can relate to misplacing something, be it a note, car keys, or maybe even your child (that’s another story). Likewise, every business can relate to losing or missing out on a sale. Well what if I told you that close to half of that time, you didn’t lose the sale, you just misplaced it.

Have I got your attention now? Misplaced sales could be killing your business, but it is simple to fix. Develop a program to properly track your steps. It’s that simple to hold people accountable, to track conversations, to figure out what prompts sales and what doesn’t, to track sales cycles, to track touch tallies, and to track marketing results. All you have to do is track your steps.

Now, after several years of papers and spreadsheets, we at CRT have started using Quickbase, made by the people that make Quickbooks, to organize our responses through an online database. Now I can see where we are whenever I need to, and reporting is done automatically, saving me time and man hours. I highly recommend their services.

Perhaps you have a tracking story you’d like to share, or a database suggestion you’ve used to success. If so, please share in the comments below.

jonJonathan Dunagin, Marketing Director of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc. located in Shelby, North Carolina. More information about the company, and its products, can be found at http://www.cleanac.com and by calling (800) 766-9057.

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