Francis Bacon (1561–1626) said that “knowledge is power”. Nowhere is this more true than in sales, whether you are professional sales person or small business owner. To sell your product or services you first need to find a prospect, which means targeting a market, finding the right companies and then digging out the right contacts within those companies. Having found your prospects you need to talk to them, do your “sales magic” and get some business from them. If you want to do business with them on an ongoing basis (and who wouldn’t) you need to record meetings and phone calls with them, follow up in a timely fashion and keep up-to-date with them and their company.
There are a bunch of tools that can help you do this, but Evernote has justifiably built a reputation as being your “external brain” allowing you to easily save, find and use information wherever and whenever you want. To track sales and contacts many people use a CRM (customer relationship management) system which may be software running on their computer, or more recently a web-based solution. These can be great for seeing all of your sales opportunities at a glance, but often turn the user into a data-entry clerk, tediously entering information about prospects, customers and opportunities.
This results in users entering core information such as contact name, company url, phone numbers, etc but not having the time or inclination to capture the rich information available that lets you really understand a customer and their business. This is where Evernote can give you a real competitive advantage. The ability to clip information as you find it, then search and organise it across all of your devices is indispensable. For instance when researching prospects you can clip financial information from the company report, key officers of the company from the About section of their website and press releases on new product developments and reorganisations. After meetings you can use the camera on your mobile phone to capture the business cards of your contacts directly into Evernote. Evernote’s optical character recognition (OCR) capability means their details will be searchable without you having to tediously transcribe information into your CRM system
Over the next few weeks I’ll be developing the theme of how to use Evernote to increase your sales, but in the meantime as a general introduction to Evernote I would recommend Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Getting Things Done.