In the Chief Sales Officers (CSO) Insights Sales Performance Optimization survey in 2014, it was revealed that 82.9% of the 1200 companies surveyed leverage a CRM system. This is up from a reported 48.7% adoption rate a decade ago.
No matter how great your products or services are, your business will inevitably fail without an efficient sales process in place. Be it efficiency in terms of customer service, lead tracking and management, or communications with the various departments involved in the sales process, risks can be mitigated when the right tools are utilized.
In order to achieve this, your sales team needs to have a 360o view of each buyer’s needs and history which will help your sales reps derive crucial insights to better manage their customer relationships. This is where a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system comes into play. It synchronizes communications with your prospects and existing clients. This gives all the departments involved a holistic view of customer data. With a cohesive integrated system in place, your sales team can identify and address any outstanding or potential issues customers face during the decision-making process. In the same manner, your marketing team will have better ideas as to what messaging campaigns work and may plan or adjust strategy accordingly.
The CRM industry continues to grow at a staggering rate every year. In 2015, there was increased usage of mobile CRM and cloud-based CRM solutions. Gartner anticipates that the customer relationship management market will be worth $37 billion by 2017. As more companies migrate their customer data to a CRM platform, many experience a positive correlation between CRM adoption and sales quota attainment. In fact, 91% of companies with more than 11 employees now use CRM software — this figure, no doubt, already includes most of your competitors!
So how can a CRM help your sales team reach its full potential?
1. Mitigate operational challenges
Businesses are often faced with various operational challenges such as sales decline, client attrition and disparity between corporate revenue targets and sales policies. Having a CRM system in place could help your organization identify profitable customer segments. This then enables your sales and marketing teams to improve their target marketing and focus their efforts on increasing the retention rate among existing customers.
2. More accurate financial forecasts
The 2015 CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization report states 10.1% of all sales effectiveness barriers are the results of inaccurate forecasts. A CRM system takes care of speedy bookkeeping and more accurate financial reporting so your sales team can focus more on what they do best — closing deals.
3. Improve sales and service metrics
Predictive data analytics help your organization formulate campaigns and strategies to prepare for increases or dips in sales volume. The data from the CRM can be used to manage sales territories more effectively. Additionally, predictive analytics empower your sales reps gather insights from historical data of existing customers to better score new leads.
4. Optimize lead conversion and management
Converting prospects into customers is one of the most crucial goals for sales reps. Yet, three out of four sales reps have no idea what they are doing, according to HubSpot. Some may have poor sales training; securing new business, managing existing leads and needs-based selling are difficult skills to build. Fortunately, CRM platforms house all the data your team demands to easily track leads and categorize them through the different stages of the customer journey. Having your sales team trained on how to best manage a CRM system will help them improve their sales performance and follow-up with prospects in a timely manner.
By empowering your sales team with a synchronized CRM system, your salespeople will be able to successfully navigate customers through complicated sales processes efficiently. Furthermore, your sales reps will have the ability to optimize their sales efforts to focus more on actions and initiatives that yield the best results. Also, they will be able to avoid many pitfalls that most sales folk usually struggle with due to the lack of centralized data and weak internal communications systems. Thus, your sales reps can expend more of their efforts delighting customers and driving sustainable growth for your business.
Danny Wong is the co-founder of Blank Label, an award-winning luxury menswear company. He also leads marketing for Receiptful, a platform to supercharge all customer interactions for eCommerce stores, and Tenfold, a seamless click-to-dial solution for high-performance sales teams. To connect, tweet him @dannywong1190, message him on LinkedIn or reach out through his website. For more of his clips, visit his portfolio.