Using CRM to Sell More: Defining Customer Relationship Management
Sales people hate compiling pipeline and opportunity reports. How many times have you had to "go over your list" in a meeting after having to manually account for the status of each prospect. This accountability is a painful activity, and these lists can take a tremendous amount of time to compile.
This pain is also felt at the management level. Having to call regular meetings to go over each salesperson's pipeline in an effort to create realistic opportunity reports can be grueling.
Lead Details and Follow Up
It's so easy for a sales professional to get lost in a sea of leads (both warm and cold) and forget timely follow up and repeated contact. Trying to juggle follow up calls, cold calls and remembering pertinent information for each lead is a real pain. This can cause errors and lost opportunities, costing the company money and new customers.
Creating Quotes and Proposals
It’s not easy to get a prospect to the quote stage, but once you get them there, creating the quote or proposal should not be a difficult and time-consuming process. Once again, many sales professionals will confess that creating quotes and proposals on the fly that include all necessary components of a sale can take much more time than it should. This is painful for the sales person who is trying to get a warm prospect to close. At this stage in the sales cycle, speed and accuracy are critical.
All too often, sales professionals end up wasting too much time on leads that never had a chance to close versus leads that could genuinely bring in revenue. Strong lead qualification is important, but more importantly, lead classification can help a salesperson keep track of which leads are moving forward and which are not.
Getting Qualified Leads
One of the most painful issues for a sales professional is getting new leads. In many cases, they have some support from the marketing efforts within their organization. However, automating the process can speed up the lead distribution and follow up.
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Successful companies demonstrate the ability to identify, understand and cater to the needs and demands of quality customers. Top executives see forging long-term relationships as the key to stability in an increasingly dynamic market and are driving their organizations to become customer centric.
In a well-designed CRM solution, reporting is real-time, allowing managers and executives to view instant status on leads, opportunities and closed deals from their own desk. They can drill down into this information to the actual opportunity to do a detailed examination of a potential deal.
For example, Joe, the Sales VP, needs to get a report on anticipated revenue for the month of August. Using C2CRM, Joe can access his customized Portal and click on a graph which depicts real-time revenue projections by region and/or sales rep for each remaining month of the year. Moreover, Joe can pull a report detailing the individual stages of each opportunity and their likelihood of closure. All of this can be done without having to call a meeting or asking the sales people to provide reports.
A common contact manager is a simple way to help build in reminders for follow up calls. But reminders aren’t always good enough. What’s needed is a nurturing process that’s automated, a “conveyer belt” of content that can “activate” so it’s pushed to the right prospect at the right time.
For example, if you have a lead who is interested in product A, and after the initial contact, the lead says that they may be in a position to buy next quarter. With a CRM like C2CRM, you can tag that contact to receive regular communications regarding product A over the next three months. This targeted "conveyor belt of information" can include reprinted articles on product A, brochures, reference stories, personal letters from other product A users, and other key pieces of collateral. Your C2CRM handles the process of follow up via email to help keep your products top of mind with the prospect.
CRM software, such as C2CRM, can create complex quotes in minutes, linking these quotes and proposals to the details of any opportunity in the system. As a result, your sales team members can generate new quotes and proposals, copy existing ones, or import values from any configurator that provides text-based output. The pain is removed by making the quoting and proposal stage instantaneous. Added value is realized in bidding situations where the speed of delivery can give you a competitive advantage over others bidding for the sale.
A CRM can provide comprehensive information about the status of a lead, offering stages within the sales cycle that sales professionals can call upon to properly tag a lead. Once tagged as being within a certain stage of the sales process, it becomes easy to prioritize leads based on how close they are to closing. This lead classification gives the sales person a common point of reference for each lead in the effort to not only keep track of his or her leads, but to communicate their status to others.
A CRM can provide immediate distribution of leads from multiple sources. This process is automated and provides the sales professional key information as to the source of the lead and when it was generated. For example, C2CRM can integrate with your company’s website. Now your website becomes an automated activity tracking system that can identify website visitors and alert the appropriate sales representative in real time. The sales rep receives all leads that are generated via the company website instantly. In this process, the website visitor registers to download product information, and that lead is immediately populated into C2CRM and routed in real-time to the appropriate representative. This allows the representative to contact the prospect WHILE they are visiting to help answer any questions. Furthermore, website visit information is documented automatically, allowing the sales rep to better gauge a prospect's interests based on their navigation through your site.
Perhaps the most overlooked pain sales people deal with regularly is bad information. Consider the situation in which a salesperson calls upon a current customer in the effort to encourage a repeat sale. Without knowing the customer’s interaction history, the salesperson may unknowingly step into a bad situation.
An enterprise-wide CRM solution allows a sales person to view the historical information on a customer prior to making a sales call. For example, C2CRM maintains comprehensive customer service information for each record. If a customer calls into support regarding a particular product, the service representative can enter details regarding the nature of the call. From that point forward, others can view this detailed information and get any needed information regarding the history of the customer.
Selling in today's business environment is more challenging than ever. CRM is a key component to helping a company get more out of its current customers and more new customers. A CRM can provide enterprise-wide access to critical information. And it can offer a concise and simple means for keeping track of leads, both hot and cold, and customers. From a sales professional's viewpoint, a CRM needs to have a minimal learning curve while helping to streamline daily duties. If any organization is going to be able to gain the true benefits that a CRM can provide, people need to use it. That issue alone can be the biggest pain for a salesperson.
But identifying premium customers, understanding their complex needs and aligning your organization’s capabilities to meet those needs isn’t easy, and this need is a fundamental concept of Customer Relationship Management software. So, how do you identify the right solution for your organization?
Understanding How Your Sales Team Works
When considering a CRM, it’s critical to understand the needs of your sales team members and how they would utilize this CRM application on a daily basis. CRM software should be deployed as a supplement to the selling process, not a hurdle. All too often, CRM applications have too much depth and complexity, and, as a result, they are not utilized on a regular basis.
Ask any number of sales people currently using a CRM solution, and many may tell you that they typically use about a third of the features it offers. Why? Because many of the features in some upper-tier CRM systems do not supplement the sales process. In fact, some features may INCREASE the effort of the sales person to close a sale. That’s why it’s critical a CRM solution fit not only your needs, but the needs of your sales team.
Finding the Pain in your Sales Organization
You can’t know what kind of CRM is right for your organization until you identify the pain your sales people are dealing with.
Pain, for our purposes, is defined in two ways:
1. as a process or regular encounter that causes excess work for the sales person
2. the ramifications for another employee or department that stems from a process or
act performed by a sales person.
In both cases, the pain causes unnecessary expenses and lost productivity for the organization and the employees involved. Pain can manifest itself in a variety of ways during the normal work day of a typical sales professional. Let's examine some common pain associated with the sales role and how CRM can help solve these problems.