The Gauteng franchise of the worldwide Dale Carnegie organisation, which provides motivational, presentation, and performance-based sales training to organisations and individuals, is using ACT!, the customer relationship management (CRM) application from Softline Pastel to help it monitor, track, and manage its own sales successes.

“As masters of sales techniques ourselves, we operated very successfully for many years without a CRM solution,” says Dale Carnegie sales director, Neville De Lucia. “But now that we have ACT!, we can’t imagine being able to do without it.”
“We have a saying at Dale Carnegie that it’s the hard work you do up front that makes selling easier. ACT! makes it easier to do that upfront hard work by enabling us to track and monitor all customer contacts at the touch of a button.
“It also enables me to track the performance of our sales staff and take the right remedial steps to improve someone’s sales volumes. For instance, if I see that a sales person has made and attended five appointments but hasn’t closed a deal, I can work on his face-to-face selling skills.
“If, on the other hand, I see that for every twenty calls someone is making they’re only gaining one appointment, then I can help them improve their telephone selling skills.
Neville also uses the ACT! database to canvass repeat business from existing customers. “Because you can see what courses customers have been on as well as the nature of the relationship you have had with them, you can pitch new offers to them in the most relevant way.”
Having used and been impressed by ACT! in his previous job, Neville insisted on it being used at Dale Carnegie when he joined. “The business was using a customer enrolment system that was no good as a sales tool. I didn’t look at competitor products. I knew ACT! would do what I wanted.”
Softline Pastel national sales director, Bridget du Toit, says that the most important advantage ACT! gives businesses is the ability to go beyond accounting by converting prospects into customers. “Sure, ACT! makes it easy to set up a database and log interactions with your customers. You can also network the database so that every employee can stay up to date on what’s happening with customers. And you can attach web pages and other documents to each contact, so that you know what the customer knows about your business.
“But what matters most for a small business – even with sales specialists like Dale Carnegie – is the automation of effective sales processes. That ensures that the basics are taken care of, that nothing slips through the cracks. And that, in turn, frees up the sales person to focus the full force of his or her personality on building the relationship with the customer.”