Get more from your CRM

Get more from your CRM

Practical advice on how to get more out of your CRM software.

Seven ways CRM can help your salespeople perform better in 2017

Need to grow your Sales? Attend our live webinar - How to grow your revenue using CRM.

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In 2017 there will be opportunities out there. Most retailers reported Christmas 2016 as the best since the 2008-09 crash, manufacturers are expecting a boost from a weaker pound, and the Bank of England is raising its growth forecast for the year ahead. Get it right and this should be a good year.

Yet to take advantage of these opportunities you need your sales team in peak condition. They need to be able to find the prospects who are ready to buy, bring them through the sales process, and then close the deals. After all, your competitors will also be chasing after the same opportunities. 

Here are seven ways CRM can help. Do them now to steal a march on your competitors and make a success of 2017.

1. Give them better leads

Ask any salesperson what would help them deliver better results and the overwhelming majority will reply – “better leads”. CRM can play an important role in driving up the quality of the leads that are put into the database, typically by the marketing function. 

It does that for example by giving salespeople the opportunity to feedback on leads. The CRM system prompts them to mark up any leads that are in the wrong territory or are the wrong size or company type, and so on. The system aggregates all this information and presents it back to the marketers who are then able to direct future efforts more effectively. 

2. Show them the right prospects to focus on 

Much of sales is about timing. Today’s excellent opportunity is yesterday’s cold lead and tomorrow’s missed opportunity. A CRM system enables salespeople to prioritise and focus on the best leads at that specific moment in time.

As part of this, it also encourages salespeople to manage the pipeline. A CRM system helps ensure every lead has a clear next step with an owner assigned to it. It produces regular reports giving salespeople up to the minute information on outstanding opportunities. 

3. Build their forecasting skills

Forecasting is a much under-rated skill for salespeople. If they are able to accurately predict how much of their pipeline will convert, they become better negotiators and more helpful for business planning. Yet, very often businesses rely on a salesperson’s gut feel for how likely a lead is to convert.

A CRM system allows you to conduct in-depth analysis of previous results, and then use this historical information to adjust salespeople’s future forecasts. The incurable optimists may be persuaded to look for fresh opportunities rather than assuming those already in the pipeline will convert, and the eternal pessimists may learn to line up resource and stock for sales that they previously judged unlikely.

4. Refine your sales process

A CRM system records sales activities, so can offer valuable information on how well each stage of the sales process is working. This allows the sales team to replicate and build on the elements that work and to discard or adapt the parts that are less successful.

Does your team have more success approaching a particular job title? Does one type of sales message resonate strongly in a particular sector? When is the optimum moment in the process to offer a demo? All of this information is useful if held in the heads of a few outstanding salespeople; if you can capture it in a CRM and then learn from it you can make your whole salesforce outstanding.

5. Help them to learn from failure

Salespeople tend to be positive forward-looking people. They are often reluctant to dwell on failure preferring to simply move on to the next prospect. Yet this is a missed opportunity. There is usually more to learn from failure than from success.

Why did they miss out on that deal? Was it price? Did the product lack a key functionality? Did a competitor do something new or different? Did the salesperson fail to follow the correct process? Did he or she miss out a key decision-maker? Is it a brand issue? 

All these, and more, are important questions to ask when a sale has not gone through, and all this information is recorded in the CRM.

6. Tell them what the prospect already knows

Your CRM also contains valuable data on prospect activity. Buyers typically conduct extensive online research before they go anywhere near your salespeople. Your CRM can track, record and report on this research, so that when the salesperson does have that first engagement with the customer, they know what they know and can adapt their messaging accordingly. 

7. Pinpoint skills development opportunities

Finally, bear in mind too that whilst data and process matter in sales they are far less important than people are. So, use CRM to track the performance of each individual in your sales team, and uncover ways to improve their performance. You can get quite granular, looking at every stage of the process. How active is each sales rep? Are leads followed up and within what timeframe? How many meetings, emails and calls are taking place?

By using CRM in this way you can pinpoint the precise development needs of each of your salespeople, and so focus training and coaching in on those specific areas. It maximises the return from all the time and money invested in training, and will significantly enhance the abilities of your salesforce. 
 

Need to grow your Sales? Attend our live webinar - How to grow your revenue using CRM.