“The key to this business is personal relationships” -- Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) quoting famous (but fictional) sports agent Dicky Fox

“The key to this business is personal relationships” — Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) quoting famous (but fictional) sports agent Dicky Fox

We live and work in a relationship-driven business. The key drivers are not merely transactional. What we know about our customers and partners is vital to build strong relationships and repeatable success. More importantly, when your team members move on to new territories, or worse – new jobs, those relationships often go out the window. Continuing with the sports theme for a second, I often give the example of knowing your customers’ favorite teams. It is horribly awkward to walk into an outlet and attempt to build rapport by bragging about a team your customer despises.

GreatVines certainly did not invent the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). We have, however, taken over 50 years of combined expertise in the “adult beverages” industry, and partnerships with leading technology providers, to develop a solution which captures all the critical steps of the selling process. While basic individual attributes like spouse, children and sports teams ARE important, GreatVines takes this further by capturing tastes and preferences, results of promotional events and trainings, verbal commitments to order, plus much more, all summarized at the Account level. We see this information as actionable data that should be used to drive the relationship forward and accomplish strategic goals and objectives. As we like to say: “Using Technology to Sell More Cases”.

Tom Cruise, in the film “Jerry Maguire”, titles his sports agency mission statement “The Things We Think And Do Not Say”. Putting this in the context of a sales professional, I think of it more like “The Things We Do And Do Not Write Down”. Sales representatives as well as managers, should record every interaction. What was discussed? Was there interest expressed in new products? Is the target demographic of this Account changing? Today these insights might be “phoned in” or sent by email. When was the last time you ran a summary report based on emails you received?

Most sales professionals in our industry manage over one hundred Accounts, each with multiple decision makers and influencers. As a sales manager, you might call randomly on hundreds of Accounts with over a thousand individuals associated. If you are incentivizing your sales team based on their sales execution and not only case volumes, the metrics which drive those incentive payouts should be based solely on what was recorded in the system. Your business deserves more than paying for anecdotal information about your customers.

Jim Thompson is Co-Founder and CTO of GreatVines, as well as an avid home brewer, private pilot, musician, and evangelist for disruptive technologies. Although generally not a sports fan, he has watched “Jerry Maguire” a thousand times, and is often reminded that “dogs and bees can smell fear.”