At the heart of every modern sales team sits the customer relationship management system.
Known more commonly as a ‘CRM’, this piece of software is the vital link between the marketing effort, incoming leads, and confirmed sales.
Without a CRM, sales teams quickly wilt under the pressure of what is now a dynamic market characterised by complex buyer journeys.
In this blog, we’re going to consider how you can maximise the results from your CRM via methods that won’t require additional investment or oodles of staff time to become accustomed to new ways of working.
Has that whetted your appetite? Good – let’s dive in!
Tags and taxonomy
Tags offer perhaps the most efficient way to organise and prioritise leads within your CRM.
Think of a tag as exactly that – a little label placed on each customer, opportunity or company that categorises them. Multiple tags can be used and searched, therefore if you’re looking for all customers who are interested in Product A, who are located in Northampton and have enquired via email, you can find them – instantly.
Taxonomies are also extremely useful in modern CRM systems, and enable businesses to fully categorise their products and establish relationships between different lines.
Just like tags, taxonomies can be queried by sales people and used to filter out the most relevant products for each lead. It also fosters cross-selling and suggests new sales opportunities that may have otherwise be missed, if a more relevant yet higher value product is discovered.
Make data actionable
A primary use case for CRM systems is to record customer interaction; as leads progress, sales agents are encouraged to document their dealings with the customer, but this often turns into a process that results in data that isn’t particular actionable.
For instance, a note that describes a phone call with a prospect and ends by saying a follow up call might be required isn’t particularly useful. Instead, it’s far more efficient to set a follow up call as a task within the CRM and relate it to the aforementioned note.
That way, the sales agent has created data that is informative and actionable. After all, a CRM system full of customer records and text notes simply isn’t going to assist with the buying process – instead leaving leads to flounder rather than flourish.
Hold daily stand up meetings
If the thought of meetings fills you with dread, you’re probably not conducting them properly.
For all the stick they get, meetings are still essential elements of business and should be great ways for teams to report on progress and plan ahead.
There’s a neat trick you can try if your sales meetings feel stale and unproductive, and it involves nothing more than a different seating arrangement.
Try no seats! Instead, hold daily stand up meetings that last no longer than ten minutes. The goal is for the team to discuss what happened yesterday, what the plan is for today and any roadblocks that appear to be in the way.
Focus the agenda on action points from your CRM, and that, combined with the more energetic style of a stand-up meeting, should result in time that is no longer wasted and meetings that end with clear actions for everyone involved.
Respond to customers – super fast
Your CRM system may have every bell and whistle you could hope for, but if customer enquiries are still left to fester, it may as well not be there.
To use your CRM to its full potential, you need to harness its ability to automate processes and score leads, in order to respond to customer enquiries as quickly as possible.
Equally, the CRM shouldn’t get in the way, and the processes you go through to add new enquiries or update lead details should never prevent a customer enquiry being addressed.
If the phone rings – answer it, deal with it and make notes. The CRM can (and indeed, should!) be updated later.
Link your CRM to your website
By integrating website tracking into your CRM you’ll gain an invaluable insight into customer behaviour.
Without this link in place, prospects may be regularly passing by your digital doors and vanishing before you have the chance to step in and engage with them.
Equally, the prospects with whom you’ve already engaged may still be spending a great deal of time on your website. Imagine if your sales team could see exactly which pages a particular lead has visited; it would enable them to offer product recommendations and guidance based on an evidenced requirement.
In the digital economy, you need to be one step ahead of every potential sale, and by linking your CRM to your website, you’ll be able to track every digital footprint made by your prospects, thus gaining a brilliant insight into the way they’re interacting with your brand.
Forecast your sales pipeline
The sales pipeline is arguably one of the most commonly accessed reports in any CRM, and for good reason; it provides a bird’s eye view of sales that might be on the horizon.
If you haven’t spent time with the sales pipeline in your CRM, you’re missing out on opportunities to pre-empt lean and busy periods. For instance, if there appears to be a sizeable gap in the sales target based on the ‘business on the books’, the marketing effort can be reviewed and more fuel fed into promotional efforts.
It works both ways, too, therefore if the pipeline suggests a bumper month of sales to come, the rest of the business can more effectively predict resource requirements. This ensures customers aren’t let down when an unexpected influx of new sales causes production chaos.
Although most modern CRM systems don’t require huge capital outlays or in-house server infrastructure, they’re still relatively large undertakings that require staff buy-in, training and full adoption. It therefore stands to reason that this is one business asset you need to ensure is being used to its maximum potential.
Our tips above will help you maximise the results from your CRM, but they will only work if a healthy respect for the system is woven deeply into the sales team’s culture. And that starts from the top; are you ready to put this vital piece of technology to work in your business?