When Is The Right Time to Launch A New Corporate Initiative?

The article title is a common question asked in the business world.

Larger companies might not struggle as much with the answer because of their more extensive resources. But for small- to medium-sized companies, getting the answer right is of paramount importance because of the demand on more limited resources.

I advise my clients to start by doing a SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.

This valuable insight can help you initially prioritize among competing initiatives. You can undertake a SWOT analysis before building a detailed business case for an initiative. And it has the advantage of providing information that can later be used in the construction of the business case.

Here are example questions you can ask to build the SWOT analysis:

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Take ownership of your customer relationships

Who owns prospects and customers in your company?  Do you know?  Just as importantly, would folks in other departments give the same answer?

You need "yes" answers to all those questions or you'll mismanage your customer relationships.

To get to "yes," your customer-facing teams need good definitions of your company's Customer Life Cycle and Rules of (Customer) Engagement.

Let’s dish on strategies to propel your company's business success by spring boarding on well-defined customer relationships  – and then layer in the technology tools for managing the customer.

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Integrate community and CRM solutions & alleviate sales challenges

Over the last two articles in the Sales Challenges series (here and here), we’ve delved into the sales challenges revolving on messaging, prospecting and closing sales.  We also identified using online community and CRM solutions to resolve these challenges.

Today, I want to close the loop by discussing the benefits of integrating these solutions together to further mitigate sales challenges.

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Mitigate prospecting and sale-closing challenges – Use CRM and community solutions

Sales Challenges series, part 2

Yesterday, we opened the Sales Challenge series by looking at challenges around messaging and the solutions to mitigate them.  Today, we’re going to investigate challenges around prospecting and closing sales and the ways in which you can use CRM and community solutions to resolve them.

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Resolve messaging sales challenges with community solutions

In this economy, we all face sales challenges.  Topping the list are those related to messaging, prospecting, and closing the sale.

Each of these challenges can be mitigated through the effective use of CRM and community solutions in the Sales Challenge series will investigate each and provide solutions to mitigate them.  To start off, we’ll focus on the messaging.

However, these challenges interconnect so in our third and closing article in the Sales Challenge series, we’ll address integrating the solutions to achieve a holistic resolution.

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Salesforce.com leads vs contacts – mining social networks

One of my sales buddies made a professional commitment to use LinkedIn more actively as a tool to expand her network and generate leads.  She experimented with it the last few months to great success and wants to expand her community involvement.

She had been entering new LinkedIn connections as Contacts because of the diversity of connections she made, many of whom were not leads.  For example, she says her connections span prospective customers, prospective partners, competitors, referral sources, and other miscellaneous networking connections.

I counseled her to enter them all or most of them as Leads instead.  Here’s why...

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Secrets for actionable salesforce.com pipeline success

Just yesterday, I watched a webinar talking about the secrets of funnel management and what sales metrics will give you the best insight into your actual sales activity and potential.

Let’s talk about this because finding the best path for actionable success is always important and even more so in a tight economy.

Ken Rudin, founder and vp of market development of LucidEra, tells his clients that to increase sales and decrease the sales cycle, the secret is to focus on the deals your company (and its individual sales reps) are most likely to win based on historical data.  More specifically, what are the characteristics of the deals that your individual sales reps are best able to close (and it may vary across reps).

Let’s first look at some of the metrics that will help you determine the best actionable path and then at how Salesforce.com can help you get there...

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