How a CRM can improve your sales process

Adding a CRM into your business will support your salespeople and administration staff by simplifying and streamlining the sales process. Overlooked administrative tasks can be automated in a CRM letting staff spend more time selling and less time in admin.

Here are a few of the ways a CRM will improve your sales results:

Increase visibility of prospects in your sales funnel

As your marketing delivers leads, your sales team is busy contacting them. The salesperson establishes which of your products or service is the best fit for each lead. From there, the process begins of encouraging the sale and eventual close. A CRM assists the sales process by enhancing the visibility of prospects and their intentions as they pass through the sales funnel.

CRMs make it easy to see where every prospect is in the sales funnel, at any given timeSales teams that rely on spreadsheets or worse, antiquated systems like post-it notes, rolodexes, or notebooks risk the chance of leads falling through the cracks. Everyone makes mistakes and following up leads is easily forgotten unless you have a system to remind you. Automatic reminders based on any value stored in your CRM can be set to remind the team to follow-up leads.

A CRM makes it easy to prioritise leads and makes it obvious which leads need more work. As you work in your CRM, you can assign values to your leads to show how far through the sales process they are. Administration staff can pick out hot leads and give them priority. It’s a no-brainer for the sales team to then work their way through their leads.

The increased visibility of prospects leads to a more effective, efficient sales process. Organising your leads by industry, job title, interest level, etc. means your sales team can spend more time on what they’re best at — closing deals.

Who did what and when?

A CRM records who, when, where, and how a lead contacted and stores notes on the content of each conversation. All touch points with a lead are collected including initial generation, follow up emails, sales admin calls, and sales manager notes.

Whoever looks at the record of that lead, they’ll be able to find out exactly where the prospect is in the sales process. Your records update at each point in managing a sale or conducting business with your contacts stating by who and when. As the sale progresses through to close, the sales manager and the team will be able to see what has happened and what still needs to be completed.

Reporting

Making reports can be a chore. Especially if they’re due on a regular basis and involved many different sources of information from multiple spreadsheets and third party software. But what if they could be automated? Bingo, that’s what a CRM does for your sales team!

A decent CRM generates sales reports at the click of a button. Reports combine data from sales and contact activity over a set period along with external third party software data. Sales managers and team members therefore see all information in one place. Set up automation and your team members will receive reports in their email. With regular reports, you can contrast what’s working and what’s not for each member.

All data in a CRM can be analysed and there’s plenty in there. From contact activity to opportunities, targets, budgets, segments, and lead status. Reports can be customised to your requirements and generated to meet the most demanding of sales manager’s requests

From the information presented in your reports, you’ll be able to further streamline your sales process for even better results. For example, report on your key Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and discover what level of activity is required for successfully closing a sale. Is it at least 10 cold calls per week or more? Is it one email campaign per month or two?

A CRM documents the Sales Process

All companies have a sales process that begins with the founders’ original selling methods. These become finessed over the years as products and services added. Adding a CRM regiments this sales process. Begin by setting up standardised actions that must occur for all leads as they arrive. Standard actions that follow your sales process gives a consistency of approach between you and your customers. They’ll also save the team time in administration.

Defining the sales stages in a CRM helps define the sales process for your team. Any future employees will have a solid introduction to how your company works and lets them get up to speed.

Over time the sales team will learn exactly what to do as they follow the sales process within the CRM. Sales people will be following your sales process to a tee and any deviations from the agreed approach will show up in reports.

Automate tasks and data entry

CRMs streamline the administration tasks that come with collecting and managing data. With a centralised system, there’s only one set of data to worry about (not 10 different versions of Excel spreadsheets). Your admin team in head office, sales managers on the road, and call centre work with the same information.

Web leads that arrive from online forms are automatically added to a sales person’s database. These can be set to have a follow-up call and email. This saves having to re-type information and removes hours of administration time per month.

Along with that, CRMs like BuddyCRM auto-populate fields based on standard definitions. With auto-populated fields the majority of information is completed for a contact record, again reducing the amount of time taken to enter and update data.

Third-party integration allows information from other software packages, eg. accounting, inventory, ERP, logistics, and email-marketing systems to be brought into the CRM and automatically displayed within a customer record. No more looking up many systems to find out the day of an order dispatch, the number of a product, or whether a marketing email was received. Everything is available in a single customer view.

Reduced admin time means more time selling. More selling = happier sales reps, pleased sales managers, and delighted customers.

In Summary

Your company’s sales process is vital to your sales department. The sales team will guide customers through the buying journey following the clear practices defined in your CRM.

Successful companies have a time-honoured approach that works well for them and is implemented throughout the team. A CRM can help you to guide the team, ensure the sales process is followed, and create a successful business.

Like some advice about your fine-tuning sales process?
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