Having established a great reputation and always working on my site, my speaking, my writing, my interviews, and my businesses… the number of responses and follow-ups I need to make often slips through the cracks. I have no doubt that I’ve lost great opportunities simply because I didn’t follow up with a prospect in a timely manner.
At issue, though, is that the ratio of touches I need to get through to find the quality business engagements is quite large. In fact, I’m fairly certain if I followed up with every request that I would never have the time to complete actual client work! However, building a solid pipeline is essential as you complete projects and move on from clients. You must be efficient with your time… periodically touching each prospect, qualifying them, and progressing them through your sales process.
Every great business has an effective sales pipeline where they recognize the stage their prospects are in, who is closest to closing, and the ability to predict their ability to close and grow business. This is daunting for me and I don’t believe my situation is unique. I believe most small businesses struggle with managing their sales pipeline and effectively qualifying and disqualifying leads. Especially when they’re not professionally trained and seasoned sales professionals.
This is where a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a necessity. With a CRM, you can flag your prospects, keep notes on them, identify the stage of the sales cycle they’re in, create follow-up tasks, and more effectively manage your business relationships. And… if your organization has multiple members, you can effectively handle hand-offs and reassignments between your staff.
Streak: Manage Your Sales Pipeline Inside Gmail
Configuring and managing yet another software package to do this is more work, not less. The vast majority of the activity happens through email, so having a CRM that integrates with your email platform is a must for simplicity and efficiency. If your business is operating on Google, Streak may be the perfect solution for you.
Streak integrates directly with your Gmail inbox, has browser plugins, and has a great mobile application. Streak’s features include:
- Gmail Integrated CRM – everything you need to get to “closed-won” is hiding in your email. Streak captures your deals and extends existing Gmail into a flexible, fully-featured CRM.
- Customize Your Sales Process – When your sales strategy changes, updating Streak is immediate and intuitive. Add a new column of any type, rearrange stages, or delete data at any time. Columns are specifically designed to accept numbers, free-form text, drop-down menus, checkboxes, and anything else you could possibly need.
- Sell Collaboratively – All collaborators on an opportunity can read full emails even if not included in the thread. You can also control data access across your team members with permission roles.
- Inbox Panel – Keep notes, assign tasks and follow-ups right from a panel nicely integrated via Streak’s browser plugins for Chrome or Safari.
- Email Snippets – Insert commonly repeated text with a key command. Quickly write thorough introductions, follow-ups, and reminders. Eliminate wasted time and repetitive drudgery.
- Email Tracking – Tracking notifies you when, where, and how often an email is viewed. Use Streak to call a lead in the exact moment they’re thinking about you.
- Mail Merge – Streak eliminates the complication of mass emails. Write your message, select a list of recipients, and send.
- Pipeline Reporting – Creating colorful charts and graphs is easy with Streak. See how money moves through your pipeline and which contributors are making the biggest impact.
Disclosure: I’m an affiliate for Streak and I’m using my affiliate link in this article.