CRM on Time

By Heather Baldwin

Quick – how much of your sales reps’ time is spent talking on the phone with customers? How about visiting customers in person? Filling out administrative reports? If you don’t know, how can you be sure they’re making the most efficient use of their days? The reality is that although most CRM and SFA applications include personal user calendars to track sales activities, they don’t do the kind of detailed time-usage analysis that can tell sales managers where time sinks are happening, what percentage of time is being spent with top-tier customers, how much time is spent in each stage of the sales process, and so on.

That’s where SalesTime Maker comes in. The Alexander Group, based in Scottsdale, AZ, just released Version 4.0 of the hosted management decision system, and software services director Mike Rose says it can help sales managers determine where the opportunities are to increase customer selling time and ensure the right sales resources are focused on the right customer segments. It works by alerting sales reps via email that they will be required to track their activities on a certain day, then enter information on those activities in the evening. Reps enter not only how much time they spent doing each activity, but might such questions as Was a call proactive or reactive? Was its intent to convert a prospect or retain an existing customer? What method was used to contact the customer? The information is collected anonymously (reps can admit they took a two-hour lunch) and on a random basis.

Users have access to a set of standard reports to analyze the results of the different time categories and can produce custom reports by filtering the results though the demographic categories such as job title, sales channel, territory and other key demographics. Users can access the SalesTime Maker over the Internet using Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0+ or Netscape 4.7+. There’s no software to install. Improvements in version 4.0 include the ability to ask follow-on questions based on a rep’s answer to an initial question, a more effective reporting system that enables users to drill down into the data, and the ability to compare sets of data side by side.

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