6 Ways CRM Helps You Sell
6 Ways CRM Helps You Sell
CRM is a powerful sales tool
It’s no surprise, then, that many salespeople distrust or even resent CRM.
Some see CRM as a Big Brother monitoring system. Others believe CRM is an overly-complicated or tedious nuisance that will slow them down. Still others worry CRM will constrain their individual sales styles. And some fear a shared CRM database means they will lose leads or even accounts to their coworkers.
We spend a lot of time and effort explaining the high-level benefits of CRM to managers and executives. That’s because, in the end, it’s those groups who typically make the purchasing decisions for CRM.
We believe in CRM, but we also want to sell it! As a salesperson, you understand that drive better than most.
But as a salesperson, it is also you, not your bosses, who is most likely to use CRM daily. That means it is you who will be most affected by CRM.
So what’s in it for you?
We believe that, properly implemented, CRM will help you sell more, better, faster, and smarter.
Here’s just a few of the important ways CRM helps you sell:
1.) You always have the account information you need
One of the most obvious selling points for CRM is that it centralizes and organizes your records. CRM keeps incredibly detailed records of your leads, opportunities, accounts, activities, and schedule. Those records are linked to built-in calendar, scheduling, email, and alert tools.
When you use CRM, everything you need is right there in front of you before you make a call, send an e-mail, or go on site.
Centralizing these records and features means you spend less time switching from document to document or program to program, and reduces the likelihood that you will miss important information.
Yes, this will all take some getting used to at first, and yes, it will require upkeep to become and remain a powerful sales tool.
But most of that effort is front-loaded; once you have good CRM policies and procedures in place, most of your records should require minimal data entry, and will automatically update in CRM as you work within them.
2) You find more upsell and cross-sell opportunities
CRM is more than just a flashy Rolodex. The real power of CRM becomes apparent once you start analyzing the data it collects.
The first step is good data, but if you have established good CRM processes, that shouldn’t be a problem. You learn a lot about your customers through your sales calls, after all! Plus, you’ll have access to marketing and support data, as well. CRM helps you sell smarter by searching, sorting, and analyzing the information you collect.
Broadly, this allows you to better understand your sales pipeline and plan how to best allocate your time. More specifically, CRM gives you tremendous insight into your customers’ purchasing needs and patterns. You can identify customers who may be interested in products and/or services related to their current purchases. And when a new product or service is released, you can check your records to see which of your customers is likely to be interested.
Every salesperson knows it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than to find and build a relationship with a new one. CRM helps you sell more to the customers you already have.
3) You get more new customers
Just because it’s harder to find and cultivate new leads doesn’t mean you aren’t looking to add new accounts! CRM can help you identify and target leads, and then plan and track their movement through your sales pipeline. This keeps opportunities progressing, and prevents multiple salespeople from accidentally piling onto the same opportunity.
It’s also easy to link new lead records to online and social media presences. These links can give you insight into prospective customers even before your first point of contact. Plus, if your company has incorporated marketing campaigns and data into your CRM system, you will have access to marketing info as well. The more you know, and the closer to hand that knowledge is, the better your pitch will be.
4) You keep customers happier
Well-organized scheduling and information management means you are less likely to miss appointments and follow-ups, get basic information wrong, or offer customers products or services they are uninterested in. It also reduces the likelihood that you will accidentally ignore an account for too long, and ensures that when you do contact your accounts, you have everything from how old your contact’s kids are to how many widgets she bought last quarter right there at your fingertips.
But as important as you are to the customer relationship, keeping customers happy isn’t just about you! CRM helps you sell by giving everyone on your team the insights they need to keep your customers happy.
Your marketing team can use CRM to create, target, and monitor campaigns that will generate warmer leads and customers who are more ready to renew orders and contracts or hear upsell and cross-sell offers.
Meanwhile, your support team can use CRM to ensure consistent, timely, high-quality support that will keep your customers satisfied with your products, your services, and ultimately, you.
Marketing and service may not be your responsibilities, but their success affects your success. And with everyone working from the same CRM system, they have access to your customer insights and vice-versa. Everyone boosts everyone else.
This is in stark contrast to the fear many salespeople have that by sharing their account into, they make themselves vulnerable to losing accounts to poachers. If your company has ethical procedures for account management and sales, you have much more to gain by ensuring your marketing and support teams have the information they need to do their jobs. And if not, may we suggest updating your LinkedIn profile?
5) Your timing is always good
CRM includes built-in calendar, scheduling, email, and alert tools that can be linked to your account records. You can schedule sales activities, and set reminders to ensure you don’t miss any of your appointments.
But CRM is much more than just a robust scheduling tool. CRM helps you sell by ensuring you pick the right time to sell. You can track customer contact dates, activity types, and purchasing patterns to determine the best methods of contact, ensure consistent (but not overbearing) communication, and time sales calls for when your customers are ready to place new orders or renew expiring contracts.
6) You save time on admin work
Many salespeople fear CRM will force them to become database administrators instead of salespeople. After all, time wasted is sales lost. CRM helps you sell by ensuring you have more time to devote to sales.
With a good CRM system and processes in place, your sales activities stay up-to-date with limited upkeep. In fact, many of the processes that populate and update records can be automated. You spend less time searching for and updating your account records, and more time using them to make sales.
You’ll also save time reporting your results to supervisors. Rather than compiling activity reports yourself, you can use CRM to do the heavy lifting for you. Some systems automate this entire process, generating reports with little more than a few clicks. That means less time wasted describing what you have already done, and more time spent selling.
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David Marincic is head of publishing at Azamba. He focuses on education and outreach, and manages and edits Azamba publications and social media channels.
David believes in the importance of good planning, sound practice, effective communication, and continued education in order to get the most from any technology solution.
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