What Makes An Effective CRM System?

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What Makes An Effective CRM System?

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CRM, or ‘customer relationship management’ features all facets of a company’s interaction with its customer, be it sales or service-related. So how does this strategy apply to businesses and what is the most effective ways to utilise it?

What it should enable you to do, is reach out to new customers, therefore maximising your profitability, as well as understanding and retaining the ones you already have.

Ultimately, to be effective for your business, the CRM system should suit your need most of all. As a result, it is prudent to map out the key areas and outcomes you want to focus on in your business.

From there, you need to think about your customers. How are you going to build a relationship between your business and your customer base? What do your customers need from you, what are their reasons for selecting you and what can you provide? How do your service team best fit this model and interact with the customers? These are all questions that once you have considered, will see you gain the most from your CRM system.

Once installed, how do you know that your CRM system is being used effectively? Well, first off, what it should do is provide an instant channel of insight into your customer, forecasting several sales opportunities that you can then work towards. It should also create a highly personalised approach to your customer communication, which will greatly enhance the on-going relationship you have between you customers and yourself. It will need to chart the progress you and your team are making with your client, to give you up to date, relevant information that you can access instantly.

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Today, CRM relies predominantly on the use of technology, but the variety of strategies to an effective CRM system will assimilate, manage and connect information relating to your customer. The aim is for you to then manage your market in the most effective way possible. It is evident that having a healthy and reliable CRM system goes a long way to a having a healthy business.

An effective CRM system should help to streamline your way of working; to integrate it carefully and not rely on it fully. It is a technological tool to assist you in achieving your desired outcomes and therefore should not be considered as a replacement for real life interpersonal communication. It has to work in unison with your current methods.


Source by Heather V Godfrey

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CRM Implementation: Use In-House Staff or an External Consultant?

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Implementing a CRM into your environment can be a budget buster if not done correctly. It requires thorough upfront analysis of your needs and clear metrics for measuring the expected business functionalities and benefits.

So who is the better choice for your CRM implementation: in-house resources or external consultants? A May 2011 survey of more than 200 small to mid-sized businesses found that six out of 10 respondents used only internal IT resources to deploy their CRMs; 31% used a combination of internal resources and external consultants or systems integrators. There are pros and cons to each approach.

The Pros and Cons of In-House CRM Implementation

To determine if an in-house approach is appropriate, think through the following questions:

  • Do you have the right mix of technical, business analysis and project management skills in the company that can do the CRM implementation?
  • How much time can they allocate to achieve a cohesive CRM implementation?
  • How does the time they allocate to the CRM implementation impact other day-to-day needs across the company?
  • Do you have skilled developers for more complex customizations?
  • Can you ensure user adoption and continuous support for your staff with in-house resources?

If you have answered positively to all of the questions above, then you likely have the in-house potential to achieve a successful CRM implementation. The main advantages for implementing a CRM application in-house would be:

  • You are optimizing your development resources
  • You are engaging staff who are inherently qualified in understanding your business processes and requirements because they live them every day
  • You will gain a set of CRM expertise that remains inside the company

On the flip side, expect in-house staff to require a learning curve for the CRM. Also a more complex CRM implementation will likely consume significantly more than your estimated time and resources.

For instance, are you implementing the CRM as a point product or a strategic application at the heart of a company-wide, integrated solution? Integrating a CRM with back-end applications or customizing it extensively is not for the faint of heart. And any implementation that is more time consuming than estimated or lacks proper planning will lead to higher costs and delayed adoption.

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing CRM Implementation

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Time or resource-strapped organizations tend to rely on the expertise of outsourcing providers or CRM partners to do the implementation. It’s a good option because translating your requirements and configuring them correctly into the CRM takes experience. You will also benefit from the business process expertise an external provider has acquired through their previous client engagements.

Other benefits to outsourcing your CRM implementation include access to:

  • Experienced facilitator to guide requirements gathering and buffer internal disputes
  • Experienced project management team to interface with the CRM application provider regarding your business needs and business processes
  • Customization and configuration expertise for your specific CRM application
  • Best practices across the CRM lifecycle, from initial needs assessment through implementation, training and support

Now for the downside to outsourcing your CRM implementation: First, service providers who do not engage in a consultative approach are less inclined to understand your in-house business process and organizational alignment. This will torpedo your implementation efforts from the start.

Second, if the service provider does not offer proven implementation success for your selected CRM tool, then you are risking lower than expected efficiency and poor implementation. All CRM applications are not created equal.

Which Choice Is Best For Your Business?

Successful CRM implementations require an appropriate mix of technology, methodology and knowledge. However staff availability and customization considerations are decisive factors for every business that is planning a CRM implementation.

Should you choose to outsource your CRM implementation to an external consultant, require client references as well as details about the team assigned to your project. It is imperative they fit culturally in your organization and work seamlessly with your employees. As with the application itself, all CRM implementation partners are not created equal.

May 2011 CRM survey was commissioned by OSF Global Services and conducted by ITIC. Survey results are posted and titled CRM Adoption Strong Among SMBs.


Source by Christopher Hooven

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CRM and the Strategic Planning Process

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Strategic planning is used in many ways. When I was in commercial banking years ago, one bank I worked for had a department called Strategic Planning. I was inclined to make a move to this area because I thought they were involved in mergers and acquisitions and other strategic corporate initiatives. In fact, the day to day activities were more closely tied to event planning than anything else. Event planning?

When it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM), the strategic planning process relates to the alignment of your business focus to the needs of your customers. Since most businesses focus on their own needs, this can be a challenge. What I mean by that is that most businesses focus on the need to meet a sales quota for a certain product within a specific time frame. Is that what your customer needs? It’s a tough change to make when you can’t tie your results to periodic account measures as neatly; but it can certainly have a huge impact on potential value of existing customers as they become more loyal. After all, it’s far less costly to keep customers than it is to constantly find new ones.

Strategic Planning Process Overview

As you develop your strategic plan for CRM, you need to always yourself “how does this add value to my customer and in turn add value to my company”? But you also need to keep the following things in mind:

  • Identify the financial goals of your business
  • Identify the risks of this initiative, both short and long term
  • Identify what you will measure, how you will measure it and how you will evaluate the results.
  • Identify how you will use your results to make the appropriate changes to your initiative over time

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The strategic planning process can be a lengthy one, and there are risks, especially with change management issues. As a result, even companies who “get it” with regard to customer-centricity don’t take the steps to change their business. For those who do, success comes by going through a series of planning stages. Here’s an example:

  • Develop your Customer Focused Strategic Plan Realign your Front Office work flows, and information flows, with effective business process mapping
  • Realize that effective change management is critical to getting a high user adoption rate not only for software use, but the customer focused way of doing business in general
  • Make sure you provide good customer service and collect the data you need to help other functional parts of your business.
  • Develop an effective customer relationship marketing program to acquire new customers but, more importantly, keep your existing customers
  • When all of this is done, then it’s time to select CRM software that meets your requirements.


Source by Mike Boysen

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Accounting CRM Software – Why You Must Prefer Open Source

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Implementing Accounting CRM Software in the company is a challenging task. You need to consider many factors including price, feasibility and cost involved in hiring and training the staff for new software. You also need be very smart while selecting the type of CRM.

Basically accounting packages are of two types: Web based and Computer based. If your business is small and you do not want to incur huge costs on setting up the infrastructure, you can simply opt for web based accounting software. You can process and store your accounting data on web software without the need of server and additional computers. The information is hosted on the high speed secure server provided by the program vendor.

While selecting the software it is in your best interest to opt for open source accounting CRM software. Open source means you can customize the software according to your requirements whenever you feel necessary. In other words you hold complete rights for customizing the software and vendors completely hands over to you all the source code required for such customizations.

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Implementing and integrating open source programs with legacy systems is also easy and you need not to worry about your old records. However, make sure you perform feasibility studies before attempting any such integration with your existing system. As it takes long time and programmers need to test the integrated system thoroughly before implementing and going live.

You need to hire a team that can thoroughly understand new CRM and also your legacy system. You also need to make sure that all the programming is documented properly so that you when you go for future debugging and fixing of errors you can clearly understand all the corners of software codes.


Source by Michelle Nisa

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How Important is CRM to Your Business?

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We all know it is important to know how your company is perceived by your customers or clientele. We also know that the level of customer satisfaction is directly proportional to how your business will do in the future. But as a manager or owner the magic question is: How do I measure this and what can I do about it?

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is the term applied for putting software, hardware and networking in place that improves a company’s dealings with its customers. In the simplest example, a customer might like to be able to access his supplier’s shipping system, so he can find out if the goods were shipped, when they were shipped and where they are now. CRM includes such customer touch functions as help desk, marketing, order entry, technical information and sales automation.

CRM begins when a potential client dials the company number. What happens when the call is answered is critical to creating a new client or keeping an existing one. For example, how many times does the phone ring before the call is answered? Surveys show that in today’s world people won’t wait any longer than five rings before hanging up. Having a phone system that can tell you how many hang-ups (the real ones) you get is critical to whether your company is going to go up or down the ladder of customer satisfaction.

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When the call is answered another critical moment occurs. If they are put on hold the patience level doesn’t go much beyond one minute. So your phone system should allow for the caller to get to the department they want quickly. A telephone ‘tree’ can do wonders but you can’t have too many branches. Four is enough to challenge today’s demanding consumer or client. A live attendant is valuable because callers like to talk to a human but if all they do is quickly transfer the caller to a department where they are put on hold for longer than a minute the live attendant isn’t serving a very useful role.

When the caller reaches the respondent does that individual have any information on the caller? If the caller is already a client and the respondent has a pop-up screen on their computer showing information on how long the caller has been a client, what their preferences are, how often they call, their contact information and so on then the company has a definite advantage over a competitor without this technology.

CRM depends on two main factors: how helpful the employees are to the customer and how functional the phone system is in moving callers through the system. These will determine a company’s ability to retain customers and thereby create valuable revenues.


Source by J. Campbell

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The Art of Tracking Like Microsoft Dynamic CRM Software

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To hunt is to be able to find something whether it is a large animal, a game bird or your car keys. Often times it takes a bit of tracking skill to be able to locate what it is your hunting. Tracking is the science and art of observing. It is the ability to take everything about a location into your mind and understanding what you see, hear, feel, smell, taste and sense. It is a total experience that requires gathering the information and deciphering it. In today’s technology world it might be compared to Microsoft dynamic CRM software.

For instance a MS dynamics CRM application gathers and integrates sales, marketing and customer service from one centralized access point. From there you can get a picture of the customer relationships and their interactions. It allows you to track all linkages across customers and sales opportunities along with all important associations within the customers. Although all of this information is gathered it has to be looked at by someone who can get an overall picture of what you have going on, much like a master hunter.

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You can teach people how to look for the different signs in the wild such as a place used for bedding for a herd of deer. It’s pretty obvious once it’s pointed out. The same goes when looking at a Microsoft CRM SaaS. The more you understand what you see the more relationships you will see and the more identifications you will be able to determine. As you learn more about each animal and their signs that identify them then you can start learning the art of interpreting what you see. The same goes for information gathered about customers. The cool thing about software is that it can put some of the relationships together for you so you have a head start. For those in the cold autumn chill, you are on your own to find the deer you want.


Source by Alice Lane

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CRM Is About Doing More Business – And Making More Money

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CRM (customer relationship management) is the one enterprise software solution that focuses on maximizing your company’s relationships with its customers and prospects.

Which means that if you get CRM right, you’ll see growth on both the top and bottom lines.

CRM is primarily a set of technologies and tools designed to help organizations to track and leverage every customer interaction to maximize revenue opportunities and improve customer loyalty. But CRM products must do much more than just track customer interactions by going beyond the traditional realm of “operational CRM.”

Modern CRM solutions also boost the efficiency and productivity of sales, marketing, and service people. These solutions can help organizations optimize their operations by automating routine tasks and standardizing best practices. Ultimately, CRM must allow organizations to better acquire, manage, serve, and extract value from their customers while improving operational efficiency.

The top benefits of CRM are:

• CRM provides you with customer insight and a real-time information pipeline, which allows for accurate and timely forecasting. This allows you to build and focus on high-profit, sustainable customer relationships.

• CRM also provides your staff with customer intelligence and best practices to increase their likelihood of successful transactions.

• Other commonly-cited CRM benefits include increased customer acquisition, retention, loyalty, and profitability.

CRM has had a checkered history since its introduction in the early 2000’s. For years salespeople resisted using CRM systems, which severely restricted their value to the company. Interfaces were often complex and confusing, and required more effort than many salespeople were willing to put in.

In fact, in its early days CRM quickly earned a reputation of a costly technology with dubious results and value (being deployed as a mere customer record system). But a new crop of CRM providers, most of who now offer their applications on-demand, have avoided the mistakes of their predecessors. These vendors have taken a variety of steps to make their offerings more affordable, more flexible, and easier to use. Simplicity has become a much higher priority than supporting every possible bell and whistle. Thus, compared to setting up a new manufacturing plant, aggressively hiring new sales and customer service representatives, or raising capital to acquire other companies, CRM is a technology that can today be implemented rapidly with relatively limited costs.

There are also the benefits that come from embedding business intelligence (BI) and analytics capabilities within CRM suites. World-class CRM systems build data warehousing directly into the analytic process by providing analytics capabilities embedded into the application that work hand-in-hand with “live” transactional data.

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The ability to perform historical and comparative trend analysis and match it to current information enables sales managers to anticipate changes quickly. This capability is delivered in a near real-time dashboard that displays key analytical data (performance indicators) graphically and can be customized to meet an individual sales manager’s needs. For example, a manager can view current and historical results of his/her accounts and can overlay that with reports by sales rep, geography, industry, and other relevant data.

In the last few years, CRM has been marked by a trend towards innovation. What are the major CRM trends?

Possibly the most prominent CRM trend is mobility-particularly device-independent mobility-with a rich user experience and allowing task-oriented user actions. Smartphones with Web browsers have become standard, since their ease of use and ready access encourage mobile CRM adoption, and there is increasing support for employees to use their own devices (as opposed to employer-supplied devices). Moreover, real-time updates reduce latency. Last but not least, the CRM software category has seen mainstream and ubiquitous adoption of cloud computing for its rapid deployment, flexibility of IT infrastructure, and buying and ownership options.

There are many CRM software vendors in the market so use CRM software comparison tools to make up your mind. Some of the leading providers are NetSuite, Microsoft, Infor, Consona, Oracle, Sage, SAP, SugarCRM, SalesForce.com, Lawson, Maximizer, and Deltek.

The benefits of CRM far outweigh the potential downside, but there are some risks you should be aware of:

• Effective internal controls must be in place to prevent customer information from becoming scattered across databases and servers.

• CRM can be associated with significant application and architectural security issues, especially for organizations subject to the provisions of the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).

• Simply installing a CRM system is only the beginning. Successful CRM implementations start with a carefully defined organization-wide CRM strategy. Don’t forget: if you neglect to get user buy-in, you may end up with some very, very expensive shelfware.


Source by Maurice Saint

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7 Methods To Enhance CRM System Implementations

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In tough times sales teams can be downsized, outsourced or abandoned all together. Ironically this when you should expand rather than curtail your sales activities. After all the slump may actually be the result of sales reps who are not being given adequate support and resources.

But lets be fair. Sales people exist in a fast moving industry, change is all around and they are constantly expected to up skill and do it fast. But as a business owner there are techniques you can use to ease the learning burden and create an environment conducive to change and professional development.

These methods are ideally suited to technology. As CRM systems are such an important aspect of a modern (and successful) sales team this article focuses on 7 ways to enhance CRM system adoption with sales staff.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, so managing the stages of your relationship with a potential customer. Otherwise known as the ‘Sales Process’. This is why CRM systems are such a hot topic right now, they streamline the sales process, boost efficiency and ultimately result in more sales and greater profits. But this only happens if your staff are willing to adopt these new systems.

There can be no half measures in a CRM System implementation. Everyone needs to be on board. So you may be asking yourself “How do I get my sales team on board with a CRM program?”

Here are the Top 7 ways you can get your sales reps to embrace your CRM system:

1. Include Your Staff In The CRM System Selection

If you are thinking about implementing a CRM System create a list of serious contenders and get demo accounts for your staff. Ask them to provide feedback on the CRM systems and identify which one they think will be the best fit. If you proceed with their selection often they feel a commitment to make it work, as they were made a part of the selection process and therefore responsible for the programs success. Even if you don’t go with their choice they will feel valued and heard. They might also point out pitfalls in the software you might have otherwise missed.

2. Sell The CRM System Benefits To Your Team

Approach your implementation meetings like a sales call. Discuss the benefits they will enjoy after a successful implementation of the software. Such as making it easier to track commissions (so, they will get paid), making it easier to manage more prospects (they can get paid more) and enhancing lead tracking (other staff can’t steal their pay).

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3. Offer Private Training Options

A common source of resistance to change (particularly where technology is involved) is fear of embarrassment. Make sure you include adequate training in your implementation program. So everyone is given the time and resources to get comfortable with the new CRM software. Your staff will be more inclined to say the system sucks rather than admit they are not confident in their ability to use the system. Where possible offer training that can be completed in private. In fact many web based CRM systems provide free online training videos, allowing staff to learn at their own pace without feeling singled out.

4. One Step At A Time

When implementing a CRM system, try to implement one thing at a time. If you implement all processes at one time you will send your sales reps into information overload. This can result in serious errors and scare your sales reps away from using the system entirely.

5. Acknowledge The Team Efforts

Be sure to use the data from the CRM system to highlight individual achievements during sales meetings. Where possible indicate that the new software is what gives you the ability to easily indentify a a goal reached and offer sales rep the approbation they deserve.

6. Reprimand When Required

If you have a sale rep that are hesitating in using the system, be firm in your reprimand. But make sure they understand the importance of using this system and how it will benefit everyone in the long run.

7. Paint The Big Picture

Ensure your sales reps can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Provide them with interim goals for CRM system competency. Explain when they can expect to start experiencing benefits.

All your staff need is a little guidance. A CRM system will play a major role in the success of your sales reps which in turn helps the growth and profitability of the company as a whole. While they may be hesitant to use such a system in the beginning, don’t worry, once they see how this system will enhance their work and in the end their sale – they’ll come on-board.


Source by Troy Netreba

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On Target With Your CRM Budget

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A successful CRM budget should come in on-budget, but most fail to achieve that elusive goal. Meeting budget targets is especially important for small businesses, which usually will have reserve capacity.

Meeting CRM project budgets requires careful in-depth analysis before starting the project. Every effort must be made to begin on the right food. There are four areas considered crucial to the successful planning and implementation of a CRM budget.

o ROI – Make an honest assessment of your project’s capacity for generating a return on investment for your business. Try to be as objective as possible in estimating ROI.

o Risk Reduction — Think of anything that can go wrong and then calculate as much as possible the likelihood of such risks. Risk often equates to cost, so take all measures necessary to minimize CRM project risk.

o CRM Service requirements – Try to account for all future services that your CRM project will require and budget accordingly. A failure to accurately predict needed services in your CRM budget will result in surprise expenses that can mount up very quickly. Replay in your mind past project experiences and note the time spent on providing various services.

o Technology requirements – Technology often makes tremendous difference in the time and cost involved with any project. You need to make sure you have the right tools for the job at hand. Make sure your consultants have adequate knowledge to recommend the right tools – the hardware and software — for your project.

After analyzing these four areas, you can start to develop a working CRM budget. If you have little or no experience with CRM software, you may have to rely on sales representatives who may conjure up a non-realistic budget to help promote their product.

Try to avoid overly optimistic projections, and usually it will be better to err on the safe side when considering risks and similar factors. With a realistic budget, you will be better able to make sound decisions on how to proceed with your project.

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If after making a realistic assessment, you find your project exceeds your budget, here are some tips on how to proceed:

o Postpone the project and save resources. In the future the situation may change so that you will be able to afford what is currently too expensive. In the meantime, make preparations for that time when your project becomes viable.

o Proceed with your project despite the budget concerns. There is still a possibility of coming in on budget and you are optimistic about the CRM system’s ROI. In this case, you follow your gut instinct.

o Scale down. Try starting off small and then working up as you go along. Select a low resource task from your CRM budget that brings a big payoff, and then use the capital earned to fund future work in the project. By working from smaller, higher-payoff projects in your budget upward you have a greater chance of success.

o Uncover more ways to increase your return on investment. Carefully go through every item of your CRM budget and try to discover ways to increase your ROI. Use your creativity and imagination, but remember to be realistic.

o Double check to assure you have created the correct CRM budget for your business. There are many types of CRM software available and the quality of the results can vary significantly. Higher quality CRM software may produce a more affordable solution.

Remember that developing a successful CRM budget means that you have realistically forecasted your project’s needs, and that often means choosing the right CRM system.


Source by Gregg Ashley

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What Can CRM Do For My Sales?

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Thanks to the large number of CRM software programs on the market today, most people have heard of CRM software. But many of those people have an incorrect or incomplete understanding of what CRM is capable of doing. This article will describe what CRM can do for your sales. After a brief overview of the concept of CRM, we’ll identify some typical sales problems that CRM can solve.

CRM became a buzzword in the 1990’s. It referred to a technology-driven initiative to unify the efforts of a company’s customer-facing departments. This new strategy would restructure these departments around the company’s greatest asset – its customers! CRM would allow customer information from across the company to be available to any employee who happened to interact with the customer, enabling the sales team to sell more successfully, the marketing team to segment and market to customers more effectively, and the service team to provide more personal, more effective resolution to customer complaints or requests.

Simply put, the technology available at the outset of CRM was insufficient to allow the concept to deliver on its promise. Today, however, the technology is available, and companies of every size and budget are realizing the benefits of CRM technology. Is your company one of them? Do you know what these benefits are?

Why Do I Need CRM?

Below are some typical problems that can be solved by implementing CRM….

“I want to improve the performance of my sales team this year.”

Well what do you mean, “improve?” How did you measure the performance of your sales team last year (meaning can you identify important metrics other than total revenue or number of sales)? Here are some specific questions you may ask yourself:

o Can I identify the areas of performance in which my sales team did well, and those in which they underperformed?

o Can I identify which of those areas has historically had the greatest impact on overall sales performance?

o Which of those areas can be improved with the least investment of dollars, time, or training?

o Which specific behaviors should I encourage to drive the performance increase I seek?

For example, it may be that you had good lead generation and qualification numbers, but fell short in your more advanced sales stages. Or maybe your sales reps seemed to stall out in a certain part of your sale cycle, taking much longer than you would expect to achieve the objectives there and move into the next stage.

There are many ways a sales team can underperform. But if you don’t have a well-implemented CRM system, the odds are good that you can’t accurately answer the questions that will help you improve. The truth is that measurable improvement can only come from measured results. Otherwise, your message to your sales team will continue to consist of frustrated admonitions to work harder or close better.

“I think my sales team is doing a poor job of following up on the leads we receive, although I can’t say for sure.”

There are two problems in this statement – the first is the suspicion that your valuable leads are falling through the cracks; the second is the fact that you can’t measure the degree to which effective follow-up is occurring on the leads your team receives.

CRM is designed to chain together a prospect’s progress through the different stages of your sales efforts, from campaign to close. You can see exactly how many leads your sales team receives, and what actions are taken to pursue those leads. This information is available in high-level percentages and in detailed specifics about each lead.

“I only know what’s in the pipeline once a week – after spending hours calling my direct reports. By the time I’m done aggregating the data, things have probably changed anyway.”

It’s hard to proactively manage your sales team in today’s sales environment without knowing exactly how the pipeline for your team and for each rep looks. Identifying regions and reps that aren’t performing well isn’t possible without pipeline information. When this information is available real-time, you can use your valuable time for coaching and enabling your team rather than collecting their numbers.

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Opportunity management in CRM gives you and your sales reps and the ability to see what’s in your pipeline in real-time. Information can be organized to show where each opportunity is in the sales stage, when it’s expected to close, and what the rep expects it to be worth. Furthermore, if you know your sales process well enough to identify factors that indicate high chances of success or failure in an opportunity, certain opportunities can be flagged to help you take the necessary steps to close those deals or keep them from falling out of your pipeline.

Over time and with enough accumulated pipeline data, you can begin to understand the probability related to pipeline values in different stages of your sales process. This understanding will help you forecast sales more accurately and identify the optimal pipeline numbers in each sales stage that will maximize pipeline through-put.

“My sales reps don’t execute the sales process properly. It’s hard for me to identify the degree to which they’re really following the process. It’s also hard for me to mandate change in sales rep behavior.”

When CRM becomes the tool your sales team uses to manage the information relating to potential sales, it also becomes the medium through which you can mandate positive change. Your sales process can be integrated into the CRM system, allowing you to monitor the tasks and stages that each rep completes for each deal, or giving you high-level statistics to see the degree to which the sales process is being followed by your sales team as a whole.

“My reps are not productive enough – they spend too much time doing things other than selling.”

CRM is designed to automate the tasks that take your reps away from selling. Whether it be

· creating quotes or proposals

· churning out follow-up communications

· communicating internally with others involved in the sales process

· saving or hunting for saved customer communications

or the host of other tasks that cut into the time reps spend in front of potential customers, CRM can streamline or automate these tasks to free up more selling time for your sales team.

“It takes too much time and effort for my reps to collaborate with other groups who could help in the sales process – we don’t collaborate as much as we’d like to, and the collaboration we do engage in is inefficient.”

This is a CRM sweet spot. The whole concept of CRM is to allow information to flow across the enterprise in the instant it’s created. Sales data will be made available to key players in your organization who can help move a sale to completion. This information flow can be automated, eliminating the need for manual communications. Tasks will be automatically created, both to remind your team members to complete assignments and to allow you to monitor and follow-up on tasks that aren’t being completed. All of this drastically reduces the time your team needs to spend on the phone or sending emails to inform others of details relating to a sale.

“My company’s customer and prospect information is unreliable.”

Today is a great day to start reversing this trend. While you may or may not be able to improve the quality of the data you already have, you can certainly ensure that the customer data you create from now on will be complete and reliable. Good data keeping requires 2 things: a policy and a place. CRM gives you both. You define the policy by deciding what information is required for CRM records like accounts and contacts. Duplicate detection tools and other validation procedures defined by you can be created to ensure the purity and entirety of your customer data.

And, of course, CRM is the place – the new center of all customer-facing information in your organization.


Source by Andrew B Schultz