By Laia Cardona, on 15 July 2016
In the first moments of a company, most of the founders only have one worry: to start selling and obtaining benefits in any way. When you have only a handful of customers, keeping your sales process under control is relatively simple. But as the company grows, managing a growing mass of leads in different stages of the buying process becomes increasingly complex. If you want to sell more and more effectively, you need to optimize the process. And for that, you need a CRM.
What Exactly Is a Sales CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM software is a program that allows multiple members of a team to manage relationships with customers, sales processes and marketing of the company. By having all the data in one place, processes are optimized, it is easier to detect errors, saves time and ultimately more sales are achieved.
9 Ways CRM Will Improve Your Sales Process
1 The CRM Documents Your Sales Process
When you're starting out, your sales process can be as simple as an idea written down on a napkin... but if you have to coordinate with a team, you will need a more effective method. With these programs, you can document all stages from initial contact to sale and your team will always know what to do at all times.
2 You Can Create Repeatable Processes
If each sales rep goes about his business, you end up having as many sales processes as sellers. Thanks to CRM, you can standardize interactions between vendors and customers, which will not only give consistency to customer relations but will also help you save time.
3 You Will Automate and Reduce Data Entry
Before implementing a CRM, most sales teams used Excel. And although the formulas and macros can do wonders, entering the data one by one is a long and frustrating process. If you simplify the process with CRM sales, your team can devote that time to getting new leads.
4 Your Predictions Will Be More Accurate
According to a MarketWatch study, 88% of spreadsheets contain errors. If you use them as a basis for your decisions, do not be surprised if your calculations fail. Instead, with a CRM you will see all your sales and leads much more accurately.
5 You Can Keep Track of Objectives
If your sales reps are achieving your goals, you can reward them for it, and if they are falling short you’ll be able to see and solve the problem in time.
6 You Can Centralize All Your Sales Information
Having different sources of information can drive you crazy when looking for the information you need. But if all the information about your customers is stored in a single program, your life will be much easier.
7 You Get an Overview of the Whole Process
If you need to know how are the sales results for the quarter are going, you will not have to ask all your sales reps, just consult the CRM.
8 You Will Create a Sustainable Salesforce
Imagine you have a person in the sales department that has been creating the sales Excel and knows exactly how it works. While that person is working in your company, finding out how things are going is as easy as asking. But the day he or she goes is the day chaos begins to reign. To prevent this from happening, you need to have an infrastructure set in place that everyone understands and that does not depend on one person.
9 Information About Your Customers Will Be More Visible
CRM is mainly used in sales, but other areas of the company may also be interested in having information about customers. And with this system, they can have a look with just a few clicks.
How to choose the right CRM for your sales process
So you're convinced you need a CRM to improve your sales process. The next question is: which one? There is so much variety in the market that deciding can be a challenge.
To be sure you will get it right, the first things you need to have clear are the following aspects of the sales of your company:
- Define each step of the sales process from initial contact to closing.
- Plan your loyalty Keeping your customers is more profitable than acquiring new customers, and this process must also be included in your CRM.
- Ensure that your sales process reflects what is happening in reality. The best plans are useless if the actual behavior of your customers is totally different, so analyze your results to see if they correspond to the steps you have previously defined.
Once you have all this clear, it is time to review the program itself. To find out which CRM is perfect for you, my recommendation is that you focus on these features:
- Contact management. Relationships are key to the sales process, so you need to have all the information about your contacts well organized in one place.
- Lead management and sales. In which stage of the process are each of your contacts? This information is key to develop predictions, so you need your CRM to show this as clearly and intuitively as possible.
- Tracking interactions. As you develop a relationship with each of your contacts, you will accumulate dozens of interactions (emails, downloading forms, information requests...). You need your CRM to have the capacity to store all of this data and access it easily.
- Coordination of the sales team. Your CRM should suit the size of your team and be prepared to grow with it.
- Integration with other programs and systems of your company. The best CRM of the world will not help if it is not compatible with what you already have.