Using CRM to Sell More
Defining Customer Relationship Management
Today’s most successful companies consistently demonstrate the ability to identify, understand and cater to the needs and demands of quality customers. Top executives see forging long-term relationships with premium customers as the key to stability in an increasingly dynamic market and, consequently, are driving their organizations to become customer-centric.
This approach to identifying premium customers, understanding their complex needs, and aligning your organization’s capabilities to meet them is a fundamental concept of Customer Relationship Management.
Gartner Group defines CRM as:“…a business strategy whose outcomes optimize profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction by organizing around customer segments, fostering customer-satisfying behaviors, and implementing customer-centric processes.” – Gartner Group.
This document addresses the specific issues related to CRM and Sales Professionals. When considering a CRM solution, it is critical to understand the needs of your sales team members and how they would utilize this CRM application on a daily basis. As you probably already know, a salesperson has a routine that is relied upon during the typical selling day. It could be suggested that successful salespeople should NOT be taught to change their selling style if it is that style that contributes to their success. However, every successful salesperson is typically armed with proper marketing and selling ammunition, hopefully complementing their selling style.
This understanding should be essential when evaluating an enterprise-wide, mid-market CRM solution. CRM software should be deployed to supplement 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 regularly.
You can ask any number of salespeople currently using a CRM solution, and many may tell you that they typically use about 1/3 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 salesperson to close a sale. The remaining portions of this white paper are focused on issues that can help you avoid implementing a CRM solution that does NOT fit your needs or the needs of your sales team.
Finding the Pain in Your Sales Organization
The critical element to introducing an appropriate CRM solution stems from identifying the pain currently experienced by your organization’s salespeople.
For this discussion, let’s define pain in two ways:
1. As a process or regular encounter which causes excess work for the salesperson
2. The ramifications for another employee or department which stems from a process or act performed by a salesperson.
In both cases, the pain causes unnecessary expenses and lost productivity for the organization and employees. Pain can manifest itself in various ways during the normal workday of a typical sales professional. Let’s examine some common pain associated with the sales role and how CRM can help solve these problems.
Salespeople typically hate compiling weekly, sometimes daily, reports regarding their pipeline and opportunities. How many times have you had to “go over your list” in a meeting after having to account for the status of each prospect manually? This accountability is a painful activity that salespeople can spend much time compiling. As a result, too much time is wasted reviewing notes, looking back at information regarding individual sales calls, etc. This pain is also felt at the management level. Calling regular meetings to review each salesperson’s pipeline to create real opportunity reports can be grueling.
CRM can help
In a well-designed CRM solution, reporting should be real-time, allowing managers and executives to view the instant status of leads, opportunities, and closed deals from their own computers. These real-time charts and graphs must be able to “drill down” to the actual opportunity for a detailed examination.
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 that 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.
This could all be done without calling a meeting or asking the salespeople to provide reports. It saves Joe and his team time and effort. Furthermore, Joe’s sales team can access their own information from their own customized portals to help them get a feel for their pipeline and help them decide which opportunities need more attention.
Pain: Creating Quotes and Proposals
It is not particularly 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 the necessary sales components can take much more time than it should. This is painful for the salesperson who is trying to get a warm prospect to close. At this stage in the sales cycle, speed and accuracy are critical.
CRM can help
CRM software, such as C2CRM, can create complex quotes in minutes. These quotes and proposals can be linked to the details of any opportunity in the system. As a result, your sales team members could 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.
Sales professionals often waste too much time on leads that never had a chance to close versus leads that could generate revenue. Strong lead qualification is important, but more importantly, lead classification can help a salesperson track which leads are moving forward and which are not.
CRM can help
A CRM application can provide comprehensive information about the status of a lead. It is so much more than just good note-taking. A CRM solution can offer stages within the sales cycle which sales professionals can call upon to tag a lead properly. Once tagged as 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 is designed to give the salesperson a common point of reference for each lead to keep track of his or her leads and communicate their status to others. A CRM system can empower sales professionals to prioritize their leads and shorten the sales cycle properly.
Pain: Getting Qualified Leads
Getting new leads is one of the most painful issues for a sales professional. 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. The root of this pain comes from the sales professional feeling out of control and out of touch with the lead generation process.
CRM can help
A CRM system 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 into your company’s website. In effect, it now becomes an automated web activity tracking system that can identify website visitors and alert the appropriate sales representative in real-time.
The sales rep instantly receives all leads generated via the company website. 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” that a salesperson deals with regularly is related to misinformation. Consider how a salesperson calls upon a current customer to encourage a repeat sale. However, without knowing the historical background of this current customer, the salesperson may unknowingly step into a bad situation.
The customer, for example, may have recently called with a support problem. Furthermore, he/she may have other product issues that would reduce the likelihood of an additional purchase. The pain stems from a lack of information which caused a miscue within a sales opportunity. The result? An angry customer and an unsuccessful selling attempt wasted time.
CRM can help
In this scenario, an enterprise-wide CRM solution would have allowed the salesperson to view the historical information on the customer before making the 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.
These C2CRM functions will help salespeople get leads faster and react to them immediately. But more importantly, it automates the lead capture process using the Internet to increase lead generation and distribute those leads appropriately.
This same situation can apply to targeted marketing and sales initiatives. A salesperson or marketing professional could pull reports on various activities or product purchase histories of any individual or group of customers within the CRM system. Once this report is created, the salesperson targets those customers who have purchased a particular product or service and cross-sell a related product.
The historical information for each customer would be readily available to help the salesperson during the sales process. CRM gives different people within different departments the ability to view customer information and historical data on the fly. It’s a valuable resource that helps improve internal communications and promotes consistent customer interaction.
Selling in today’s business environment is more challenging than ever. CRM is key to helping a company get MORE out of their current customers and find MORE new customers with similar attributes to their current buyers.
Now, more than ever, keeping customers and finding new ones is paramount to being competitive or staying in business. A CRM solution can provide enterprise-wide access to critical information. In the case of a sales professional, it can offer a concise and simple means for keeping track of hot and cold leads and customers.
From a sales professional’s viewpoint, a CRM solution needs to have a minimal learning curve while helping to streamline his/her job…not adding work to it. If any organization is going to be able to gain the true benefits that a CRM solution can provide, people need to USE it. That issue alone can be the biggest pain for a salesperson.