I recently tasked myself with an acquisition goal to start reaching out in a new market and meet new business owners looking for results with their internet marketing and sales efforts.
So, I started meeting folks and making notes - which would be good fits and which I could help the most.
Then I asked what every sales manager is tasked to do - track sales efforts.
Where am I going to store all of this information?
I could use a spreadsheet - but is that even efficient anymore? After 20 or 30 contacts it’s going to be hard to enter information, sort, and document progress in my sales process. Plus, what if I need to access this while I am mobile?
Ah yes….I need a CRM.
Just talking about CRM’s to sales managers and sales professionals conjures up images of tedious data entry and a feeling of “big brother” looking over every step you make as a sales rep.
I realize that implementing software is a pain but the reality is, you need it.
However, it’s important to note - and this is key - a CRM is not your process. You need to define a clear sales process BEFORE implementing a CRM.
What is a CRM?
Of course, if you only have a handful of clients, a complicated process or system is hardly necessary. Spreadsheets will do just fine.
Yet, at some point, your business will hopefully expand and if you put it off for too long the implementation process can cost you dollars in the long run.
CRM’s are not just useful but essential when you get big enough.
Did you know that 75% of sales managers say that using a CRM helps to drive and increase sales? Or that CRM systems improve customer retention by 27%?
The goal of implementing a CRM is to create a system that your sales and marketing teams can use to more efficiently and effectively interact with prospects or customers.
Marketing and sales utilize the CRM in different ways. It’s important to have a reporting system that can indicate to sales when a lead is ready to be contacted. Not all leads are “warm” leads in a business interaction.
For sales, it’s important to be able to have a trackable history of a source of all of your prospects, how you communicate with them, a history of their website interactions with your company, etc.
In short, you want to be able to have a system where you can find out where the conversation was left off in the last interaction with that prospect and the company sales rep.
Who should be using a CRM?
In short, many business benefit from a CRM. Mainly 2 groups benefit the most - B2B and B2C. However, your business may see any of the following challenges:
- A need for maintaining a central list of information on your leads and customers. Does this information live in many different places?
- Customers are regularly interfacing with multiple people on your team. How does everyone keep track of where the conversation with any one customer left off?
- Struggling to understand the productivity of your sales team. Does your sales team follow a structured process?
If you are like most companies or sales professionals, CRM’s are a vast improvement to the spread sheet! Right?
4 Benefits to a CRM
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself “What are the upsides to having a CRM?” We found that there are essentially 4 real benefits to investing time and energy in implementing and maintaining a CRM.
1. Better Lead Intelligence for Both Marketing and Sales
How many times have you met someone, exchanged business cards, entered them into your database and wondered just how much interest this prospect has taken so far? With a lead intelligence tool like the CRM - you are no longer in the dark.
Having the ability to see when your prospect visited your website, opened an email or attachment like a presentation or proposal, is essential in sales. This type of real-time intelligence can provide you the right time to contact your prospect when you are top-of-mind.
2. Better Sales and Marketing (Smarketing) Alignment
I talk to companies DAILY that voice this frustration. “We get leads from marketing but the lead quality is poor and close ratios fail to reach our KPI’s” is what I hear the most from sales.
“Our brand audience is aware and engages in the messaging we put out on our company value proposition but are left with many questions only sales can answer.” Marketing struggles with legacy sales divisions/efforts that are disjointed from understanding how to engage with online leads.
3. Help Sales Prioritize its Pipeline
What is more valuable than a pipeline in sales? You got it - a sale. Period.
There are only 2 golden gooses in a sales process - the list and the close. Yet, with a CRM a sales department or marketing can get granular in understating where the pain point is and in what stage a prospect is in with the sales process.
You can get lost working hard and making phone calls but with working smart in a CRM raises the value of the company because the list becomes exponentially valuable. So much so, that business valuations can be impacted if a pipeline is evaluated for its performance and output.
4. Closed-Loop Reporting Lets Marketers Improve Campaigns
2 things happen when a lead is generated from the marketing and sales perspective. The lead is either ready to buy or not.
So what happens when they are not ready? Who gets designated to manage and nurture the contact? Marketing of course but what happens when the lead closes and is now a customer? Now who has designation to communicate to the customer.
Yep - marketing. With closed loop reporting, marketing can outperform in their communication strategies by identifying the stages of a lead and matching the communication strategies to that stage.
If the lead needs more nurturing under certain questions related to key buying indicators the company has identified, it is important that marketing identify this and report it to the sales department.
Determining the need to integrate a CRM for your business is not the first step. The first step is understanding your sales process, your marketing tasks and the way each department will work together to attract and close more business.