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Encouraging sales reps to document the sales process

Liz Roche advises a SearchCRM.com reader about encouraging sales reps to document anecdotal customer information that they receive from customer service and tech support into the system.

How can I encourage sales reps to enter more info into the database? They currently take a lot of anecdotal info away from the tech support and customer service people. It works for making sales, but I want to be able to track the flow of information and document it, and it's hard to do when they don't enter the information into the system. Do you recommend regular meetings between these employee groups, or incentives, or can you suggest other tricks?
Well let me ask a (slightly tongue-in-cheek) question back to you: do you really want your sales reps spending their valuable time transcribing information they gleaned from other internal departments? Or would you rather have them in the field selling? I'll assume the latter (it's really self-evident, isn't it?).

I'm actually VERY glad that you recognize the importance of tracking customer information from all departments around your organization. I'm assuming that you have a good use for the information and that everyone knows its value to consume. This is important because I believe the only way to institutionalize this knowledge capture is to have the individual who handled the customer interaction input the information into the system.

Reassigning responsibility for capturing customer information at the point of interaction is of course not as easy as it sounds. It involves:

  • Demonstrating the value to the enterprise (not just sales) of having this departmental customer information readily available. Would customer service find it helpful to have a complete transaction history? How about tech support?
  • Extending usage of your sales system to other departments -- including process and technology training. In a perfect world of course there would be some IT integration magic to provide integrated operational and analytical systems so no one has to do any kind of double entry.

Of course, I always think more communication is better than less communication, so employee meetings among these groups is fine -- so long as it doesn't become "yet another" (from your employees' perspectives) administrative burden with questionable value.

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