For any business, a time comes when just simply noting down numbers and emails on a notepad is not enough. A customer relationship management (CRM) software is aptly designed to manage how a company interacts with current and prospective customers. Whether it’s sending out emails to make people aware of great deals, updating Facebook profiles or tracking and managing salesmate, CRM tools help companies enhance revenue, customer service, and deepen their relationship with their customers.
Putting sales in place
The award-winning London PR agency PHA Media was aware from experience that things could easily get out of hand if the sales process were not put in place. Charles Howard, the Business Development Manager, said, “Within a few weeks, it was clear that managing and following up all leads in a timely fashion would be impossible without a CRM.”
Charles wanted to keep his sales team sale-focused, so they needed a programme which let them predict revenues and manage follow-ups promptly. Before using CRM, they had no way of finding out who previously had reached out to prospective customers. This was also problematic for the administration as it often led to extra work such as checking if other colleagues had reached out and when. Consequentially, the resulting sales process brought in an 84% increase in lead traffic for the company.
Making work easy
Sales coach and author Adam Metz recalls the first time he got his CRM system, nearly ten years ago. Initially, it cost him a few hundred dollars all in, and it was a desktop application that directly synced to the cloud once a day for backup.
At present day, such backup procedures may seem kind of quaint, but they helped Mets start his book of business that has over 10k contacts saved.
“I can say that I’ve had a personal conversation with almost every single one of them. And that’s thanks for the most part, to good data management,” says Metz.
Avoiding CRM failure: the secret to getting the best one
Often while implementing a CRM solution, each department contributes to what customer data system should track. The marketing organizations usually want to track competitor information, lead sources, and a myriad of seemingly valuable information. Accounting and legal departments have their wish lists. Afterward what usually ends up happening in most companies is someone from the marketing or legal sector suggests: “While sales executives are speaking with the customer, they should gather that information.” Save yourself from falling into the trap. Majority salespeople are not wired to be good at data entry, collecting, and compliance.
Management can receive easy insight into the sales pipeline for the future and scavenge for opportunities to optimize the dealings. There are as many different add-ons, versions and iterations for CRMs on the market as there are various kinds of industries. But at the core, nearly all CRM tools have the below-mentioned secrets in common.
The price tag
Having apt office equipment is a requirement for any business, and CRM programme is no exception to the case. Admittedly, CRM software can be expensive – up to $2,000, according to some estimates— however, the long-term benefits of a well-appointed output should be worth the money. Some business owners make the mistake of only considering the ‘dreaded’ price tag. Since it is the most visible cost of the software, the price factor is understandable, but there are other things to take into account.
There could be a need to get extra equipment, such as PCs, laptops or servers and an advanced computer network to customize your needs. Other additional costs include task maintenance, system upgrades, and training staff to use the software. In the majority of the cases, the cost of performing many steps above comes out of the same allotted fund bank assigned for the initial payment.
Two years ago – in 2016 – mobile devices finally took over desktop usage to get access to the web. Your company’s sales team needs entry to sales information 24/7, in and out of the office, and mobile access is an essential element to their success. According to the nucleus research, sales representatives saw productivity increase by 26.4 percent after adding mobile access to their CRM application. Mobile CRM is a significant factor in helping sales reps meet their sales quotas. Ideally, a company’s CRM of choice will have dedicated iOS and Android mobile/tablet applications to make information available to your team from anywhere.
Make sure all key functionalities are accessible on the desktop as well as mobile, as some mobile CRM applications offer a cut-down feature set of the full programme.
While some companies tend to sell products to singular contacts, others sell into organizations and handle various contacts across departments. Account based selling is a method that describes the goal of selling into a specific organization, drawing up a list of possible contacts and systematically targeting those links to get a foothold within the organization. In case you are doing account based selling, your CRM needs to understand the relationship between contacts, the company they work for and the associated consultants they have relationships with.
Duplication and merging
Capturing duplicate contacts and leads is an impossible task to avoid. Contacts sometimes get automatic access or through different numbers of your teams if the systems are aptly connected. The same contacts then sign up for many of your offered campaigns. Ensure that your CRM application can find fraudulent documents and allow you to link them into a single contact. The higher the quality of your consumer database, the more your sales team will trust it.
D&B’s first CRM had around 2000 contacts in it, degrading at nearly 2 percent every month. When people change jobs, they change their names and business data goes bad, fast. That means your squeaky clean ‘small’ CRM starts the year with 2000 legitimate contacts and ends it with at least 500 less.
The deployment approach
There are mainly two types of CRM deployment approaches. One of the options is referred to as the on-site solution – the software installed on the company’s server. The other type is called the on-demand solution, usually involving a cloud-based CRM, pipeline management template, or software as a service (SaaS) – a third party provides this option.
The former – on-site – solution guarantees higher level of security, more customization, and control over your data with other business applications. However, it can get costly to set it up and manage. A cloud-based CRM, on the other hand, is less expensive and faster to implement even if you have lessened control over data and customization. It is entirely up to you to think what works best for your organization based on the pros above and cons.
Reporting and management: the sales pipeline
A sales pipeline tends to represent a client going through a purchasing process visually. You should be able to notice at a single glance the number of leads you gain at each stage; if they have made a sales inquiry if the sales rep has given them a demo if the prospect has asked for a quote after becoming a customer.
Being able to understand which stage any client or deal is at and how likely they are to close it, you can start projecting future trends and know beforehand if goals will be met. A sales pipeline helps business persons understand the sales process and forces you to define it clearly so you can measure and improve.
Sales forecasting estimates an organization’s future sales – closely linked to the pipeline process. It browses the leads going into the top of your sales funnel or pipeline, and the time it takes, on average, to progress each stage.
When it comes to coaching your sales reps effectively, identifying issues and improving the overall sales performance is important. If a particular sales rep is hitting their target efficiently and out of the park, you need to check what they are doing differently so you can learn and apply it to the rest of the team.
All in all
If CRM implementation is not managed appropriately, the results can backfire. In case the salespeople forget to record their activities and make a note of the interactions with clients early in the pipeline then the end of the pipeline gets bogged down with the sales representatives hunting for information across notes and emails. That is why make sure to pick the right CRM tool for your business to mend the gap between sales reality and manager perceptions of accurate sales and achieved targets.
Author Bio: Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. As writing is her passion that why she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well. She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her at twitter: @Ashrosa2