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As an organization, your sales team depend on the right data points at the right time to win over prospects. And sales team leaders depend on that information to predict and plan.

But sales processes often struggle to keep pace with evolving customer expectations. Outdated data collection methods keep information siloed — making it difficult to achieve personalization, clarity and consistency.

In this article, we’ll cover how to improve your sales processes with the right CRM strategy, as well as some clever tips and tricks on how to win more deals. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. How a CRM helps you bring your sales data together
  2. Data management strategies that will help you lay the foundation for a healthy sales pipeline, successful sales conversations and accurate sales forecasts
  3. How to set reasonable goals and track your results
  4. Curated articles on how to take your sales strategy to the next level

Bringing your sales information together

Data is the fuel that drives your sales decisions. And having the right piece of information at the right time is often the difference between closing and losing an opportunity. So, the more data, the better, right?

Not necessarily.

In sales, it’s ultimately quality that matters; that is, what data you collect and how your data is organized. But with software containing phone call logs, pipeline information locked in Excel sheets, and various sales conversation notes all over the place — there’s typically little consistency or visibility.

Odds are, your team is missing follow-ups, while management is having trouble forecasting. In addition, you may become entirely dependent on employee memory; so if your top salesperson gets hit by a cement truck tomorrow… yikes.

As a result, most sales teams turn to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to bring their sales interactions onto a single platform with the tools to manage them.  And having implemented CRM software across virtually every industry, we know CRM can deliver amazing benefits including:

  • Improved learning about customer preferences and market trends
  • Better forecasting, prediction and planning
  • Improved follow-ups
  • Improved sales and marketing collaboration
  • Improved prospect conversations
  • Increased visibility into sales team performance
  • Increased sales team productivity

Streamline and standardize your data capture

If you suspect realizing these benefits is a little easier said than done — you’re right.

Slick marketing from industry leading brands may have you believe otherwise. But a CRM won’t miracle-cure problems in your existing processes. Growth requires taking the right steps and positive actions necessary to succeed.

That’s why as Jason Kulpa suggests, writing on behalf of the Forbes Agency Council, your CRM software needs to be tightly coupled with the right strategy.

So where do you start?

Again, it’s all in the data. Ensuring proper data capture processes lays the necessary foundation for a healthy sales pipeline, successful sales interactions and accurate forecasting. And while anything to do with “data governance” sounds onerous — it doesn’t have to be. The goal is to get the most done with the least amount of effort.

Earlier this year, Certified Data Architect Trevor Broatch shared insights on efficient data governance strategies applicable to both big organizations and small organizations. The highlights are as follows:

  1. Identify and focus on your key data-sets (usually contact and product information).
  2. Standardize your data collection processes and ensure adoption by your team.
  3. Have your data regularly refreshed and updated (because most data decays over time, at a rate of 2% or more per month for contact information).

Take suggestion #1 as an example. With our sales team, we make sure to capture the following data points in our CRM during our initial sales conversation.

  1. Basic company information: What the customer does in 2 sentences.
  2. Their primary business challenge: What prompted the organization to engage with us in the first place?
  3. Their vision for the solution: What positive impact did they desire from deploying our solution? What two or three things do they want changed?
  4. How we can ensure their transformation: What are considerations for their implementation and training plan, as well as user adoption efforts?
  5. What success will look like: What clear, measurable outcomes will help us know that our partnership has been successful?

Setting achievable goals and tracking performance

To set reasonable expectations and surpass them, you need measurable processes. That way, you can quickly pinpoint  process bottlenecks and inefficiencies, top-performers, and team members who may need a little coaching.

Once your sales data is centralized, cleansed of duplicates and missing entries, made consistent and up to date — you’re ready to take the next step: leveraging your collective sales intelligence to get an understanding of how your team is performing so you can fine-tune your approach. You’ll need to start tracking your KPIs on a daily or weekly basis.

With CRM, your KPIs work as a set of gauges or indicators. Like the dashboard indicators of your vehicle measuring the performance and status of your car — indicating whether it might need a tune-up — your KPIs measure your sales team performance and sales process health.

Here you can make good use of your CRM software dashboard and automated reporting tools to meaningfully represent your KPIs — building a personalized view that keeps your finger on the pulse of your business.

Got some killer CRM tips & tricks you’d like to share? We’re eager to hear them. Drop us a line on LinkedIn or Twitter.