6 Ways to Manage A Sales Pipeline and Provide Value Using CRM
A big part of sales is the relationships you and the relationships you build with your customers. There are many ways salespeople or sales departments can build the relationships they have with their clients. Still, a great tool that can be utilized is a CRM, a Customer Relationship Management tool. A CRM can be an asset to any salesperson or sales team in a variety of ways. CRMs can enhance the way a sales team is organized, create a type of system or infrastructure, provide an avenue to stay connected and in the front of customer’s minds, and communicate with your customers on a more frequent basis.
1. Increase Organization Tactics, Follow-Ups, And Note-taking Capabilities
Having a CRM can help make a salesperson, or sales team, much more organized with the leads they have, the clients they’ve pitched, and the deals they’ve closed. CRMs offer people the opportunity to have all their previous sales history in one place, categorize through various data or labels, and increase the ease at which they can access their sales pipelines. In the past, salespeople might have used spreadsheets, pens, and paper or remembered who they needed to call and when. With a CRM, you can automate all of those processes and condense all of that data in one place.
CRMs offer you the opportunity to create reminders to reach out to someone, add notes or information to a client’s profile on a particular day, and track each lead or customer relationship you have more closely. Without a CRM, it becomes difficult to see the status of each lead you’re working on, the type of pipeline you have, and the number of past deals you’ve closed or worked on as well. Instituting a CRM allows companies to centralize and increase the ease of locating the sales data they need to find more leads, generate more business, and close more deals.
CRM tools offer you the opportunity to sync your sales pipelines, sales data, and important dates into one calendar. Having all your sales information synced with your calendar can be incredibly useful when trying to forecast particular deals closings by quarter, see where you need to generate more leads, and have an idea of where you currently stand. By having your sales data work hand in hand with your calendar, you’re able to see the different times you have meetings, the different conferences or events you might be attending, and any time you might be free to schedule and take on more opportunities.
For salespeople, who are typically up against a particular amount of sales, or a quota by a specific time frame, having a calendar with your sales can be incredibly valuable.
Seeing where you stand or the number of sales you might have lined up for a quarter can be precious for a salesperson. It can show them how they’re doing currently, where they need to focus their time, and the type of sales or meetings they’re able to focus on. By seeing how your sales pipeline is looking for a particular time frame, you can better utilize the time you have left, understand how the financial analysts might view your quarter, and allocate your time to shorter-term deals that are lower in size but more likely, or too long term deals that are tougher, but more lucrative. Salespeople are often working against a calendar. Having your sales data and information incorporated into your calendar can be a handy tool for any salesperson or sales team.
3. Lead Management
Another great way a CRM can manage sales pipelines and create value is through lead management. Lead management is an essential aspect of any sales job. Ultimately, they are the people or companies you are looking to convert into customers and the most likely candidates to make deals with. Managing your leads can become a tricky task when you’re working hard and producing lots of them, making it more difficult to track and not overwhelmed.
Having a solid handle of each lead, understanding where they are in their purchase process, the type of time constraint or barrier they might need, or where they are in your sales process, can be great to stay connected and communicate with to increase the likelihood of a sale. Not keeping a close eye on the leads you do have can be a great way to lose potential customers, have deals fall through the cracks, or open the door for competitors to swoop in. Utilizing a CRM to manage your leads can be a great way to track where they are, monitor each lead’s place in your sales process, and increase the likelihood or probability you might have of closing each lead into a sale.
4. Increase The Number of Touchpoints, and Stay Connected With Your Clients
Another great way a CRM can provide value to a sales team is by increasing the number of touchpoints or connections you have with your clients. Many salespeople and companies are always on the hunt for the next deal, the next transaction, or finding the next new customer. Sometimes, they forget or lose track of the customers they already have. By having a CRM, salespeople can have the opportunity to stay closely connected to the customers they’ve already sold, provide them with any new updates, or reach out every quarter to check in and see how everything is going.
With the market competition today, it’s imperative for salespeople to stay closely connected and engaged with their customers by consistently communicating with them. Many salespeople are vying for the customers you already have. Not sharing with them, or having them keep you at the front of their mind, can increase the likelihood of having their business go elsewhere or having the customer entertain other options.
5. Highlight Areas of Improvement or Weaknesses to Focus On
While salespeople often feel that they’re doing a good job based on the number of sales they’re producing and the clients they’re closing, there are often other ways to grow or develop their customer base or sales pipelines. By having a CRM, you can see and observe past data on the sales you’ve lost or the leads who’ve gone elsewhere. You can see how the interactions progressed, what might’ve gone wrong, what you might’ve been able to do differently, and figure out a way to learn or improve from your past experiences. By having that data handy, and that information at the click of a few buttons, you’re able to analyze a one-time deal or interaction from a new lens. You can see what information would’ve been great to have, what experience can be valuable in a similar situation, or what precisely the customer was looking for to adjust or adapt the next time.
You can also use those missed leads and deals as prospective leaders and people to reevaluate in the future. If you understand why previous clients failed to convert, you’ll know where you need to improve your sales and marketing processes.
6. Creating A System or Internal Sales Process
A CRM enables your sales team to create internal processes that work for them. With CRM, you can create a concrete structure for how a lead is created, when a lead is made, how a lead is moved along in the sales process, and the information or data included within their profiles. By having an internal structure to categorize leads and monitor sales progress, you’re able to create a framework for you, your team, or the people you work with to utilize.
An internal sales system or framework can make it easier for new people to learn how to use the CRM, create a straightforward process, and eliminate any possible error in the process. While keeping track of your sales or leads through memory or with pen and paper is excellent, having a system in place can help you to scale your team, increase the number of leads you can monitor, and lead you to produce more.
CRM software and platforms can be a precious and productive tool for sales teams’ pipelines and sales processes. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to sell marketing vs. real estate companies, private equity vs. venture capital companies, or supply chain vs. hospitality companies. There are various ways a CRM can help a sales team looking to manage their pipelines and make sales. Implementing a CRM can increase organization within a sales team, make it easier to follow up with clients, and add notes to their profiles according to each contact point. You’re also able to utilize calendarization by having your sales data work hand in hand with quarterly quotas, upcoming meetings, or figuring out how to use your available time. A CRM also allows you to better lead management capability by analyzing where leads are in your sales process when to contact them, and what they are looking for from you.
With a CRM, you’re also able to increase the connectivity you have with your clients and stay in the front of their minds for future business to come. You can also utilize a CRM to find more ways to strengthen your weaknesses and use past leads or contacts to improve your sales craft and to find more prospective leads in the future. A CRM can also help your sales team create an internal system, input new leads, move them through the system, and create a structure for other team members to utilize.
Author Bio: Howie Bick is the founder of The Analyst Handbook. The Analyst Handbook is a collection of 16 guides created to help current and aspiring Analysts advance their careers. Before founding The Analyst Handbook, Howie was a financial analyst.