It is no secret that in this data-exhaustive and data-centric sales world, Customer Relationship Management is one of the most essential tools to increase efficiency and close more deals.
According to research, a CRM system is known to increase productivity by as much as 30%. It doesn’t matter if you are a small business or a company the size of Walmart.
The need to organize massive amounts of customer data to use it effectively is present at all stages of growth. In fact, the sooner you adapt a CRM system, the easier it will be to scale it to match your growing business.
Is CRM a magic pill that will miraculously transform your business the moment you install it? It is not. There is nothing special about a CRM system.
It simply organizes all the critical customer information in a fashion that is most useful to your sales organization. With an efficient CRM implementation, all information about a particular customer is stored in one place, thereby saving sales time. The key is using the system to its maximum potential.
Fortunately, CRM systems of today are a lot smarter than the cumbersome server application of yesteryears. CRMs come with ready-to-use solutions to most sales bottlenecks. All you need to do is stay informed, and utilize it to make a difference to your bottomline.
Below are some ways you can maximize sales efficiency with a CRM system:
Using Lead Score:
The key to an effective “hot lead” algorithm is identifying the ideal customer for your business. Who should be using your product or services? What industry the customer belongs to? How much they are willing to spend, and where?
Are they concentrated in any particular part of the country or spread out? How big are these companies, and is their contact information complete in the CRM system? Where did the lead come from? These are but few questions that will help you determine the ideal customer for your business. Once you have this information, it is much easier to use a score to get the hottest lead on top of your sales rep’s daily call list. But what is a lead score?
A lead score is nothing but a score that is assigned to every lead entered in your CRM database. Often underused, the score is based on an algorithm that defines your idea of an ideal customer.
Once implemented in your CRM system, you can automatically sort the best hot leads to pursue. For example, a hot lead for your business might be an Italian restaurant based in New York City that uses a Facebook account to promote their business. If you are using a lead score, the system will assign this lead the highest score, pushing it to the top of the hot lead list.
No need to browse through hundreds of leads and make fruitless calls. In fact, sales people spend 24% of their time searching for information. With a lead score, target the most likely conversions and see your number of closed deals increase every day. More closed deals in less time.
Keeping lead social data current:
There is no escaping social media. Even if your company doesn’t need Facebook presence , your customer’s social presence information is vital. Did you know 45% of consumers interact with brands on social platforms?
Social media data about your customer is an excellent source of information, and free of cost. Through social media conversations, one can investigate what ails the customer, which competitors’ products they use, and other kinds of vital knowledge that can shape your sales pitch.
Keeping track of those conversations means knowing what your customer wants before you make that call. It means doing it right the very first time, which in turn means a sale in shorter time.
Once again, your company’s CRM system is your best friend in delivering the gossip. Social CRM systems not only pull all social data of your customer when the lead is created, it also auto refreshes to keep the lead data current. This means never missing the latest on your customer. Social CRM systems increase sales productivity by as much as 12%.
Keeping lead data current:
While customer social data can be auto-refreshed, the system cannot auto-update your meeting notes unless you input it. Especially when the critical notes are spread across devices like phones and tablets.
Typing it all over again into your company’s CRM system is a waste of precious time that could be used to prepare for the next call. Needless to say, having all that in your CRM system not only guarantees your next call’s success, but also provides visibility of your work within your team and management.
CRMs today are wonderfully equipped to get all that information into the system no matter what device you use to input it.
You can type the meeting notes, appointments, or other vital information in your tablet or mobile phone, and your CRM system will sync it across all devices in real time. This means no repetitive data entry, and tons of time saved that can be used to make that next call to meet your sales target.
This is a boon to management. Imagine never having to ask your rep the date of the next appointment. Imagine never having to deal with the nightmare of transferring leads and accounts with incomplete information to a new rep.
Reps who constantly collect leads through conferences know the pain of manual data entry. It is a big time sucker. Add to it a higher error rate while entering data, and the quality of the lead data decreases.
Using an opt-in page or web-to-lead form that is integrated with your CRM system is an efficient way to eliminate repetitive admin tasks, and saves time to focus on the real objective of attending a conference, which is making that sale.
An opt-in page can either be standalone or set up on your company website. Most systems provide the feature, creating a code to be embedded in a web page. When you or an interested party fills out the form and submits, it creates a new lead in the system.
The fun begins once the lead is in the system. One can further maximize CRM benefits by auto-routing the leads to the right rep. How? Set up lead assignment rules. For example, if your sales team is divided by territory, set up an assignment rule to distribute leads based on territory.
This way, a manager never has to spend time manually assigning leads. In fact, the leads get assigned in real time. Plus, if you have a lead score algorithm already configured, the rep can also view the lead based on its potential to convert and make a go or no-go decision in a matter of seconds.
Smart sales dashboards:
While CRM systems come with default sales dashboards like pipeline and forecasting that meet the basic reporting requirements, custom reporting holds tremendous potential to drive competition and productivity. Thinking out of the box is the key here.
A top performer’s report can be a sales driver across the organization. A task or activity report can be a productivity tool. A sales rep’s SPIFF performance report can be a motivator. The point is, custom reporting can be a powerful tool to motivate and push sales to close more deals.
For managers, reports are their bread and butter. Sales dashboards help you monitor deals, allocate resources, and identify sales opportunities that can get lost without the right data in front of you.
For executives, custom dashboards can help them view the bigger picture without the minute details needed for sales rep. Some of the useful, productivity-oriented sales reports are: performance by team, open quotes for the week or month, activities for the day, pending activities for the day, number of leads created per day, unread leads for the day, and marketing leads for the day, week, or month.
Real time refresh of the reports while your team inputs their updates also saves those precious minutes of following up. All those minutes can be converted to more customer connections and activities for you and your team.
Time is money in literal sense for a sales rep. When a system that is meant to help save money acts as a roadblock, the utilization of the CRM system goes down—and for the right reasons.
While it is estimated that companies can gain six dollars per one dollar ROI spent on CRM, it can turn into a major revenue drain if not implemented effectively.
Which is disappointing considering CRM systems today have evolved beautifully to help sales close more deals. The secret lies in making proper use of the tools it offers.
How are you using your CRM system to maximize sales efficiency?