OneNote for Sales Management
Followers of our blog here will know we are big fans of the suite of work tools contained in Microsoft Office. As the marketing says they truly do bring Enterprise-Class tools to Mid Market and SME’s. We wanted to share some practical tips on how we and our clients use OneNote for Sales Management to save time and drive productivity.
In amongst Office 365 is Microsofts digital notebook OneNote which is undoubtedly one of our favourites. It did take some time to understand and learn how to use it and we’re pretty sure that we are still nowhere near using the product to it’s maximum.
Since becoming converts we’ve added the Onetastic Addin which gives us additional functionality and a huge range of Macros that simply supercharge OneNote for Sales Management.
With that said, if you can add any tips that will help us and other OneNote Users then please do so in the comments section at the bottom of this post. So here are the top 9 hacks
1. Note-taking for Sales Meetings
Everyone knows the importance of taking accurate notes during a Sales Meeting with prospects and customers, however, we always found it difficult to remember the questions and steps that we needed to follow in our Sales Process.
In addition to capturing the usual meeting details like attendee names and telephone numbers, we wanted to capture details like the Buyers Primary Sensory Dominance and their Personal DiSC style. All together it was just too much information for us to remember so we created a simple template in OneNote based on a Word Document we’d been using.
In addition to capturing those details we included a visual prompt to help us remember the most important questions and finally, the very last question captures any Next Steps that are agreed. We record these “next steps” using the Outlook Tasks integration inside OneNote which automatically adds this to Task in Outlook.
Most Salespeople may prefer to keep these types of notes inside their CRM and there’s a great article here on how to integrate OneNote with Microsoft Dynamics 365. For Salesforce users you can set up an integration with OneNote via Zapier Integrations here.
You can design your own page for Meeting or Project Notes and save it as a template for easy access every time you need it.
Lastly, it’s possible to use the audio recording function in OneNote to record meetings however we would not recommend this in a Sales Meeting.
Pros of OneNote for Sales Meetings
We prefer using OneNote because it allows us to take notes freehand and despite our poor attempts at handwriting we can always use the convert to text feature if needed to tidy things up.
In addition to being able to write freehand with the Microsoft pen we also try to use visual note-taking techniques that we know from our sales training is proven to aid memory retention and focus. Everyone is different but we prefer writing notes rather than typing them in a meeting.
The notes not only help us remember what was said and what next steps need to be taken they are great for referring back to when we send a “Thank you for meeting me email” with a summary of the notes and if we need to create a proposal or presentation later in the sales process.
Cons of One Note for Sales Meetings
We suspect the biggest negative will be that unless you are using Dynamics CRM or Salesforce then OneNote may not integrate with your own CRM. That said, I am sure you would be able to cut and paste the notes over into another CRM.
2. Sales Coaching Notes
Coaching Salespeople is arguably more powerful than sales training when it’s done well. One of the key foundations of Sales Coaching is keeping accurate notes for both the coach and the coachee to refer back to. As you would expect this should be cloud-based and is one of the easiest things you can set up.
- Create a Section in OneNote for each Sales Rep that you are coaching. You may be rightly concerned about privacy here as it’s not normal to have sales coaching notes which should be private available for other team members to view. This is easily solved by setting password protection on each section.
- Create a new page inside OneNote and then use a Template for your coaching process. We use the GROW sales coaching model however you can use any model you choose. In our situation where we mostly provide online Sales Coaching we part complete the notes during the coaching session and then finish them immediately at the end of the calls.
Immediately after each sales coaching session, we email a summary of any action points to the coachee so they know what commitments they have made before the next session.
As with the Sales Meeting Notes template, you can design your own page around your sales coaching process and save it as a template for easy access when the next coaching session is due.
3. Sales Performance Reviews
If you’re using OneNote for Sales Management it can easily help you review the individual performance of your Sales Team. Again OneNote Make this easy by using the sections function with password protection.
This can easily be included as an extra page inside the Sales Reps section next to their Sales Coaching notes or if the Coaching is being provided by someone other than the manager then you can either set up a different notebook or a different section within the same notebook.
We typically use Sales Scorecards as a way to measure individual sales performance and this can be recorded inside OneNote or in a separate application with only the actual meeting notes being recorded in OneNote.
Again the main benefits are the ease of use and access for both employees and managers in addition to the security and privacy that OneNote provides.
4. Sales Training with OneNote
Historically Sales Training was conducted via 1 or 2-day events with participants receiving a training manual. With the advent of more Online Sales Training OneNote is a great repository to Store your sales training content. It’s easy to set Sections as Learning Modules and Pages as the Individual lessons. Inside the Lessons or pages, you can add Video, Audio or text-based content with quizzes and questions for each student.
Unlike traditional Sales Training which forces all students to learn at the same pace, OneNote allows us to create Self-paced learning modules which delivers much better learning results. In order to check students are meeting or exceeding learning goals, we integrate surveys and questions using the Microsoft Forms application for each student.
It’s also possible to create individual sales training sessions where you can assign learning content for individual Sales Reps allowing you to provide a more targeted learning approach. OneNote allows you to track and measure learning, and provide feedback on an individual basis to students.
Once you have created your Sales Training Lessons as a page in OneNote simply save the page as a Template and you can then insert this into any Sales Reps personal training when required.
A secondary training application if you’re using OneNote for Sales Management is the ability to use the full functionality to create onboarding programmes for new Sales Team members. The main benefit of using OneNote in this case would be the ability to record and document so many different types of styles of content in one location for easy access.
Once you’ve created your Notebook you can easily share Notebooks with colleagues online.
5. Using OneNote as CRM
Whilst we wouldn’t recommend using OneNote as a CRM application it can be. You can download a Sales Template from Auscomp which is based on the Kanban or card-based system, and whilst it doesn’t have the full functionality of a regular CRM, it works well for those who want to keep everything inside OneNote.
What’s much more useful in our opinion is to use OneNote for what we would describe as “sales projects”. For us, these are typically large engagements that require some form of customisation and project management. These projects usually require multiple meetings with multiple decision-makers and additional support from contacts on our side.
In our case, we use OneNote inside a SharePoint site within the MS Teams environment that we create for client projects. Teams serves as a great comms platform and we use OneNote for the Note taking and sharing.
For Sales Opportunities that are not yet Customers but still require lots of notes and a degree of project planning, we use OneNote with sections added for Emails – Linked to Outlook Inbox. This allows us to forward emails relating to the opportunity from inside Outlook.
Contacts Linked to the Contacts in Outlook. This allows us to add contact details from Outlook that we need to share with our internal team working on the project.
Meetings linked to the Calendar function in Outlook. This allows us to insert future meetings from Outlook that may require some internal planning.
6. OneNote To-Do List Template
There are numerous free To Do templates inside OneNote which you can use or you can create your own which we have. We created a To-Do section with pages inside that are linked to the Tasks section in Outlook.
From Outlook we can send all Tasks to this page where we add them to a Prioritised To-Do Dashboard before assigning an owner, deadline and categorisation. This allows our whole team to have a single view of the current Workflow whilst still allowing users to work on the original Tasks that were sent from Outlook.
The four sections in the main dashboard with examples of Tasks we use are:
CRISIS: URGENT / IMPORTANT
PRODUCTIVITY: NOT URGENT / IMPORTANT
DISTRACTION: URGENT / NOT IMPORTANT
WASTE: NOT URGENT / NOT IMPORTANT
7. Journaling with OneNote.
Daily Journaling is a powerful tool that helps Salespeople become more productive, set goals, learn through reflection and serves as a great all round personal development tool.
Most importantly journaling helps with Cognitive Processing and improves overall mental well being. In fact many people say that journaling changes their life.
Although not always popular every personal development guru recommends keeping a daily journal. Journals come in many forms and what’s most important is choosing the format that works for you.
The best journal we’ve come across is by the Sales Journal company however we have developed our own shorter journal which takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete every morning which seems to work better for Salespeople.
8. Sales Team Meeting Agenda
Lastly the easiest and most common task for using OneNote for Sales Management is for note taking during a Weekly or Monthly Sales Team Meeting. As with every other task using OneNote for Sales Management we create a simple Agenda template which we can recreate every meeting with One click.
In addition to Note Taking we recommend recording every meeting in order that you obviously have a record of the meeting, but additionally, when members of the Sales Team are absent on holiday or sick there is a recording they can easily access to get ensure they don’t miss anything.
9. Sales Playbooks
We’ve definitely saved the best to last here because OneNote is just an amazing tool for creating, delivering and building Sales Playbooks. Whilst many playbooks are still static documents OneNote provides a live document that can be consistently accessed and updated by as many or as few people as you want.
All of the Tools and templates we’ve highlighted in this post can reside inside your OneNote Sales Playbook which makes the user experience even better.
Our OneNote Sales Playbooks are hosted inside MS Teams where we have dedicated Teams for each of our clients and each Team as their own customised playbook.
In fact when you combine MS Teams, OneNote, MS Forms, you have everything you need to create your own Learning Management System and given the cost of some of the LMS platforms this is a great way for smaller and mid market companies to enter the LMS & Sales Enablement world at a much lower price point.