Geoffrey James

Geoffrey James is a contributing editor for who also blogs about sales technology exclusively for Base. In addition to authoring numerous books, he's the former CRM writer for Selling Power magazine and his writing has appeared in magazines such as Wired, ComputerWorld and Marketing Computers.

Articles by Geoffrey:

    9 Easy Ways to Hone Your Lead Scoring Today

    Hone your lead scoringEvery salesperson wants hot leads that are easy to develop and easy to close. Many companies develop lead scoring formulas to identify leads as “hot” or “not” using the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe) model.

    Potential customers accessing your corporate website may volunteer BANT information (like through a signup form), and reliable BANT typically emerges during conversations with the potential customer, after a salesperson has contacted them.

    Yet while BANT is useful for opportunities already in the pipeline, vendors must be able to identify hot sales leads based upon 1) publicly available data about the prospect and 2) how well that data matches up to the experience and capability of the sales team.

    With that in mind, nine criteria must be weighed when building a lead scoring formula:


    5 Ways To Reduce Cost of Sales

    How To Reduce Cost of Sales

    Of all the metrics in the sales and marketing world (and there are a lot of them) probably the most misunderstood is cost-of-sales.  Many sales managers view cost-of-sales as a labor cost; pay smaller commissions and your cost-of-sales goes down.

    That’s naive, though, because sales costs are only meaningful insofar as they affect profitability.  Cutting costs in a way that cuts into revenue (a more common situation than you’d think) is stupid.  Your goal is to make sales costs more efficient, not just smaller.

    More important, much of a company’s sales costs are hidden inside the budgets of other groups: specifically marketing, R&D and IT.  Because of this, creating the most efficient cost-of-sales requires a broad approach. Here are some suggestions:


    14 Easy Productivity Hacks For Salespeople

    Ask a sales trainer or a management consultant what’s needed to increase your sales productivity and you’ll get a pitch for a massive change in the way you do business.

    That’s fine (hey, they have to quota, too), but in most cases you can improve sales productivity by making minor tweaks in what you’re already doing. Here’s how:


    5 Lousy Sales Management Tactics (and What to Do Instead)

    5 Lousy Sales Management Tactics

    Over the past decade, I’ve listened to dozens of salespeople complain about their sales managers, many of whom apparently believe that sales success comes from manipulating rather than coaching. Here are the six most commonly-mentioned sales manager tactics, and why they always backfire:


    9 Ways To Write a Better Sales Email

    9 Ways To Write A Better Sales Email

    Sales emails are your “best foot forward” when first communicating with prospective customers. Unfortunately, based upon my experience reading such emails, most of those feet put forward, well…, stink.

    Here are some guidelines to keep your sales emails fresh. As examples, I’ve used some (lightly edited) real-life sales emails:


    Are Your Customers At The Heart Of Your CRM Strategy?

    CRM Strategy

    A lot of wisdom is packed into the term “Customer Relationship Management” (CRM).  In fact, the term itself provides a strategic roadmap for implementing a successful CRM system.

    Understand your customers

    Just as CRM starts with the word “customer”,  every discussion of CRM should begin with: how will this help us help our customers?

    This only makes sense. After all, if you don’t get new customers and can’t keep the ones you’ve got, there won’t be any relationships to manage, right?

    Unfortunately, many CRM systems are built upon sales processes that are about the vendor rather than the customer.  Here’s a typical example:


    How To Increase Your CRM Adoption Rate

    For decades, CRM implementations have had a higher failure rate than most other types of corporate software. Most analyst estimates are in the 50% range!  Ironically, CRM failures are not hardware or software failures, nor are they problems with integration or system performance.

    Quite the contrary, most CRM failures are the result of a single very human problem–a low adoption rate.  CRM is always installed with the highest of hopes and with the full knowledge (at least on the part of sales management) that CRM will improve revenue and reduce costs.

    However, if the salespeople aren’t fully on board, they’ll either refuse to use it (if they’ve got clout) or (if they don’t) passive-aggressively avoid it whenever possible.  Fortunately, it’s possible to achieve a high adoption rate by following these guidelines:


    12 Rules for a Successful CRM Implementation

    In the market for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software? Geoffrey James of Inc. com shares his fail-safe rules for a successful CRM implementation.

    12 Rules for a Successful CRM Implementation

    In the twenty years that I’ve been writing about sales technology, I’m often asked how companies can ensure their CRM implementations are successful.  Based upon my own observation and discussions with dozens of experts and analysts, I believe that CRM success requires adherence to the following 12 rules:

    Rule #1. Do your research.

    Companies sometimes buy a particular CRM system because they heard it was good or because the vendor had slick advertising. However, not every CRM system is right for every company and when the system isn’t right, an expensive failure is inevitable. Before you buy, confirm with thorough research that the system truly fits your needs.

    Rule #2. Rent don’t buy.

    There are still a few poor misguided souls out there who believe it’s more economical in the long run to set up servers, buy perpetual software licenses, host the system and hire IT consultants to customize it. That’s dumb because owning rather than renting means you’re stuck with what you’ve got even if it doesn’t do what you want.

    Rule #3. Keep it simple.

    A CRM implementation that’s chockablock with obscure features and functions can make the system seem cumbersome and user-unfriendly. The biggest challenge is usually to get the sales teams to embrace the new system, which is harder if there’s a steep learning curve.  Why pay more for features that make your system less useable?