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In my last blog, “The Sales Rep’s Handbook: Opportunities and Sales Cycles”, I discussed using Opportunities and Sales Cycles as a roadmap to get you to the end of the deal. But the roadmap is just a guide; it doesn’t close the deal. Day 1 of every salesperson’s training covers the importance of documenting your touchpoints with your leads and clients. It’s an immutable rule: documenting your interactions improves your memory and your close rate, and fortunately documenting your interactions in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a no-brainer.
An old Chinese proverb says that “the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.” Each week your sales staff engages in hundreds of conversations with Customers and Prospects. Over time, these conversations blend together like tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and ice in a blender. What we think we said to one individual or heard from that individual may have been a conversation with a different person on an unrelated topic. Unless these discussions, (electronic and verbal) are documented in a timely manner they lose value, and more importantly, we lose traction on the closing the deal.
With Business Central, “Interactions” are powerful tools which can generate emails, or they can be noninteractive records used to document content of discussions and emails. When I worked as an Account Manager for NAV Partner, I was responsible for 70 accounts. Many of these accounts were not looking for additional software or services, but I contacted each of them on a regular basis. A few were contacted on a weekly basis, but most were contacted monthly or quarterly. I recorded my discussions and email exchanges with each of my contacts in the system as Interactions. To keep my follow-up conversions relevant and not sound like a sales call, I’d start each conversation with some personal information I had extracted from the previous call and recorded as an Interaction. My accounts were always more active than the accounts of my peers because the Interactions kept me in tune with my accounts.
The best part about using Interactions? They are very easy to use.
In the example below, we have just completed a phone call with one of our longtime customers. During the call, he indicated they will be relocating to a new building in a different part of the city and they are redesigning the new work areas. We set up the Opportunity (per the instructions in my previous blog) and then record the Interaction. The Interaction allows us to record with whom we were engaged, tag it to an Opportunity and / or a Campaign, evaluate the Interaction, and make additional comments that can be reviewed before our next dialog with the Contact.
Sales is all about building the relationship and having information available when you need it. You cannot remember everything each of your contacts tells you. You never know when this information will be needed. Let’s use the Comments page to record all the details: business and personal.
And here’s another convenient feature of Interactions: if you cannot complete the Interaction when you start it, at least you’ve got it started and you can return to complete it later! If you hit the Cancel button on the Interaction you can click the “Yes” option to finish the Interaction later.
But wait, there’s more! Interaction Templates allow you to take Interactions to that next level by structuring and/or automating your entry for each type of interaction. You don’t have to create an Interaction for every touch point with your Contacts, but why not?
Below is a partial list of the Interaction Templates you could set up to record each touch point with your contacts. For example, an Interaction could be automatically recorded every time you print a Sales Invoice or Sales Credit Memo for the Customer, or whenever you send an email or call your contact.
Once you’ve established the types of Interactions you want to record, you can set up default Interactions on the Interaction Template Setup page.
I’ve only shown the General and Sales Templates, but you can also set up Templates for your Vendors and your Service Customers.
If you are like me, you believe a great relationship with your Customers and your Contacts creates a reliable Sales pipeline. Interactions keep your past conversations fresh in your mind and help you close those deals, especially those deals that take a long time to reach fruition. I especially like Interactions because they are easy to use, and if I am traveling, I can access my Contacts from my cell phone and see my past Interactions before returning a call.
Be sure to check out my next blog in which I discuss Campaigns. Campaigns allow you to target a group of customers and then track Interactions and Opportunities in Business Central.