Think of your sales process as the standardized and repeatable blueprint that your entire sales team can follow to transform a lead into an actual customer. Different companies have their own sales processes tailored to their industries and their company’s strengths. Still, it’s safe to generalize that most all sales processes are geared around a few basic steps, including generating and qualifying leads, highlighting a prospect’s business needs, defining how your company is uniquely able to meet those needs, and then ultimately actually delivering on your promises.
Obviously, there is a lot of possible activity in each of those steps, and it’s the aim of a good sales process to ensure that the time and resources invested by a sales team translates into actual results. While a sales process is absolutely critical, tapping the power of a CRM can magnify its effectiveness. It’s true that a CRM can provide assistance at each step along the sales process, but here are three places where it can be especially beneficial:
- Improve marketing to get better leads
We all know that there’s often a tension between marketing and sales. Sales reps complain that marketing isn’t doing enough—or not doing the right things—to generate or cultivate promising leads. And marketing asks why sales reps aren’t properly using the great content they’ve labored to create. A CRM can make the work of marketers translate directly into improved lead generation in a variety of ways. For example, a CRM offers lead tracking that provides marketers with real-time views of leads in the sales pipeline and how they’ve been nurtured while they are there. This information is vital to the effectiveness of marketing efforts. By seeing which leads ended up becoming actual opportunities and ultimately sales, marketers get a data-driven view of which of their efforts are most effective.
- Nurture leads with communication and content Generating quality leads is an indispensable step in any company’s sales process. But as any sales team knows, that’s just the start. It then becomes the task of sales reps to both prioritize and thoughtfully nurture those leads so that they continue down the path toward becoming actual customers. A CRM with a common contact manager can help by providing a reminder to reps about following up with promising prospects. Even better, the right CRM can also automate regular delivery of relevant content to prospects as they consider their purchase. For instance, a contact expressing interest in a particular product can be tagged within a CRM to receive brochures, articles and other information to influence their ultimate decision.
- Use customer support to improve revenue opportunities
It’s understandable that many sales reps consider their job complete when a deal is closed. But the reality is that the final step of the sales process never really ends. Delivering the products and solutions that address a new customer’s business challenges and then making sure they do the job requires consistent and determined customer support. While important to your company’s reputation, proactive customer satisfaction is also just smart business, because happy customers are likely to continue being customers and even expand what they buy from you. Again, a CRM is extremely valuable in this ongoing step of the sales process. Because CRMs become a central clearinghouse of all the interactions you have with a company or customer, they become the place where customer service representatives go to quickly get up to speed on the solutions and products you have provided and any past problems or challenges. Armed with up-to-date information, your company can quickly resolve any problems and even identify areas where an increased partnership would be beneficial.