Allow me to provide a simple definition: the nurturing of a business relationship, so that it bears fruit in the ways of additional revenue and potential opportunities outside of the relationship.
I recommend using a Sales CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) to assist you with managing your business relationships (prospects and current customers) alike. A CRM is a powerful tool that organizes, automates and synchronizes the sales, marketing, customer service and technical support departments of your company.
CRM’s are extremely effective and require some training to utilize them correctly. One of the most popular CRM’s on the market is Sales Force www.salesforce.com and can be used for as little as $60 per user per month up to $235 per. As a small business, the price can be overbearing and maybe even a little hard to justify. As a small business owner, I looked at paying a developer to build my own CRM and the cost was astronomical. I was able to justify the price of Sales Force once I took advantage of their 30-day free demo and was able to forecast all of my opportunities and read them, the revenue, in black and white. If you still cannot justify the use of a CRM, use your trusty ole’ Excel spreadsheet. But mind you, get there as fast as you can! You are losing empirical data & critical functionality to follow up and close new business effectively.