Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 06:39 am
What is the Need for CRM?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a tool for managing all current and prospective customer interactions and their data in one place to increase sales. This enables businesses to build strong customer relationships and leverage the data to help them make important decisions.
CRM software has been in existence for a long time now. It is widely categorized as Sales CRM, Marketing CRM, and Service CRM.
This blog is specifically focused on how CRM increase sales and can help your business to grow your sales revenue.
What is Sales CRM
Sales CRM is a software application to help organizations automate their end-to-end sales process.
A comprehensive Sales CRM is required to help sales teams capture leads, nurture them into qualified opportunities and then convert the deals. It also organizes all customer data in one place that makes it easy for your team to access information with ease. That way, every member in your team has access to the same information across the enterprise.
By automating multiple tasks such as data entry, administrative tasks, contact management, etc., a large part of the sales process can be accelerated. Consequently, data organization and administrative tasks become easier to manage. Therefore, reps are able to focus on building relationships rather than wasting time on boring and time-consuming administrative work.
How is Sales CRM different from a Marketing CRM?
Before we understand this, let us discuss the primary objective of the Sales and Marketing departments.
We know that Sales and Marketing functions are deeply interconnected. Both these departments have a common end objective of helping organizations accomplish their revenue goals; and this is achieved through close collaboration between the two functions.
Having said that, there are remarkable differences between them.
Marketing focuses on creating awareness about the company and the brand. Their primary objective is to attract interest among prospective buyers and help create leads.
Whereas the Sales department’s primary focus is to engage with these prospects and convert them into paying customers.
This is precisely why different CRMs are available to cater to their specific needs.
Marketing CRM will help you run structured marketing campaigns to help you generate leads and awareness among your target audience.
Using a marketing CRM software, you will be able to execute specific campaigns based on different parameters. The most common parameters used are based on industry, company revenue, number of employees, location, decision maker, etc.
You will also be able to run channel-specific campaigns like email marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing, content marketing, tele-calling etc.
Marketing automation CRM includes features such as contact segmentation, email marketing, event management, social media integrations, etc. Some of them also provide ready-made templates to make the execution easy and faster.
Sales CRM software will help you automate and manage your entire sales process. It is designed to help your sales reps and sales management teams in meeting their revenue targets. At the same time, it supports the backend sales operations team to collaborate with your frontline members to serve your clients better.
A good Sales CRM system includes features such as contact management, lead management, sales management, pipeline management, opportunity management, activities and tasks, quotes and proposals, sales forecasting, and integrations with other business systems.
Using the Sales CRM, sales team members can effectively nurture their leads, track the progress and convert them into customers. At the same time, sales managers and leadership teams can have complete visibility into their team performance and provide right guidance to support their teams.
Strategic imperatives of a Sales CRM software
The main objective of a Sales CRM initiative is to help clients transform their sales operations and build a strong foundation for growth.
Sales transformation initiative is a very strategic decision that leaders make. It should not be viewed like just a simple software project.
Successful CRM implementation projects take in to account all four core components of business –
It is critical for leaders to define their business goals and objectives desired from this initiative. That way, everyone in the company is aligned completely and work towards a common objective.
A good practice is to document the current as-is sales process and the desired to-be sales process. This document will act as a blueprint for a successful project roll out.
People component is one of the most important yet neglected aspects. It takes into account various factors like change management, technology adoption, training, organizational structure, incentives etc.
Last but not the least is the selection and implementation of the right technology to support all of the above. This will include multiple aspects like selecting the right software vendor, the technology infrastructure like cloud services, implementation partner with right domain expertise, data governance policies, etc.
Benefits of a Sales CRM – How CRM increase sales
Now that we have discussed the strategic imperatives of a successful Sales CRM initiative, let us discuss the impact it can have, the benefits one can derive and how a CRM increase sales after a successful Sales CRM project.
Centralised Customer Data
Sales CRM helps to store all customer data in a centralized data storage system in an organized manner. It helps everyone to be on the same page with single-version-of-truth across the enterprise.
Based on the user rights and privileges, team members across the hierarchy will have easy and quick access to vital customer data. This includes 360-degree information about the account, its stakeholders, sales opportunities and respective stages, past deals executed, activities executed by team members, etc.
Grow Sales Revenue
Sales CRM equips your sales team to focus on the right kind of deals. They are able to address the prospect’s requirements much better.
This in turn helps them to convert more opportunities and grow sales revenue.
Improve Sales Conversions
In one research, 40% of salespeople mentioned that prospecting is the most challenging stage for them in a sales cycle. A Sales CRM is the rep’s best friend at this stage.
It stores all relevant data about the prospect and customer base in one place. The sales rep can easily analyse the information to help him prioritize his leads. He or she also tracks the deal progress and makes important decisions to effectively nurture the prospects and convert them into customers.
According to a study, 44% of sales people drop out of the process after the first rejection. The first rejection from a client does not mean they would not require your product or service in the future. Your reps should try and find out what is stopping them from purchasing? Can those factors change over time? How and when should they approach the customer again? How to nurture the customer? This information when documented in a Sales CRM can be accessed in future by your reps to nurture the lead again and influence sales conversions.
Better Sales Forecasting
Better sales forecasting helps organizations in running a predictable business. There are many benefits of running a well-oiled revenue machine backed with accurate sales forecasting. Some of these include better operational planning, efficient supply chain systems, lower inventory costs, lower operational overheads, and improved profitability.
A good Sales CRM helps the reps to manage his sales funnel, also called as sales pipeline, accurately. Your sales team can categorize their deals under various stages of the sales pipeline and critically assess the deal progress. He or she keeps a track of all the deals and makes sure the opportunities are progressing well through all the stages. This gives them and the management team very good visibility into the expected closures; thereby helping them to accurately predict and forecast the expected revenue.
More Qualified Opportunities
One survey states that 79% of leads are not converted to sales in the absence of a CRM. With a good sales CRM, you can easily track and qualify leads effectively. You can also categorize the leads as Hot or Warm or Cold leads so that your team can prioritize all activities.
Your team’s ability to convert a lead significantly improves if the leads are well qualified. Many companies use their Sales CRM to adopt a scientific lead management methodology, like BANT lead qualification, to help their sales teams with more qualified opportunities.
In general, the opportunities get categorized as Hot or Warm or Cold Leads.
Reduce Sales Cycle
Sales cycle is defined as the number of days it takes to win a deal. The right Sales CRM supports the sales team to reduce the sales cycle and help them to work on a greater number of deals.
This is possible when the team works on the right kind of leads based on its qualification. Your sales team can prioritize the leads and channelize their efforts to convert them faster.
Sales CRM also equips your reps with a lot of client information. This information, when used well, helps your reps to boost sales and convert the leads faster.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
A Sales CRM helps your team manage your client’s expectations better and serve them efficiently. Proactive customer service rendered to your clients converts them into highly satisfied clients.
According to a survey by Capterra, CRM software has the biggest impact on customer retention ans satisfaction rates.
Higher Deal Values
Your marketing and sales teams capture a lot of information about the clients in the Sales CRM. This information is about the client’s industry, the segment they operate in, details of the decision makers and deal influencers, each of their priorities, their business requirements, deal progress etc.
A very good understanding of these aspects provides a competitive advantage to your team. The sales reps align better with the stakeholders and have a meaningful engagement. The solution team uses all the information to arrive at the most complete solution to address customer’s requirements. And sales managers can provide the right guidance to the team for deal conversions.
A meaningful client engagement coupled with deeper relationship with all stakeholders instill tremendous confidence in the client. This allows the sales team to charge a slight premium over the competition and win deals with higher deal values.
As per Forbes, 86% of buyers will pay more for great customer experience.
Happy and satisfied clients place repeat orders over a period of time. This increases the “Customer Lifetime Value”, a very important metric that businesses should measure.
Repeat sales and cross sells do not require extensive negotiations. These deals are the most predictable deals with shortest sales cycles and highest conversion rates.
Also, Repeat sales have a direct impact on improving your profitability. According to Bain and Co., a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. And as per Gartner Group, 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your existing customers.
More Client Referrals
Satisfied clients are a great source of referral leads through word-of-mouth. Deals conversion rates and deal values are generally much higher for these referral deals.
High Sales Velocity
Sales Velocity is a powerful metric that measures the ability of a company to generate revenue in a day. It is a factor of four most important variables in sales – number of opportunities, average deal value, deal conversion rate, and sales cycle.
This blog on sales velocity explains how one can significantly improve sales velocity by positively influencing the four variables.
It describes the science behind sales. It helps companies remove subjectivity in measuring and improving sales performance.
Efficient Sales Execution
Sales execution refers to all the activities and actions taken to progress an opportunity towards conclusion. As per management guru Ram Charan, strategy without execution is useless. Companies that execute well will have the confidence, speed, and resources to move fast.
A Sales CRM helps your team execute all sales activities like client meetings, calls, emails, demos, follow ups etc. on time. Missing meetings and calls can lead to loss of deal or end up creating a bad rapport. As per one report, 65% of customers are lost because of indifference, and not because of mistakes. This indifference is often caused due to lack of consolidated data and visibility into the customer’s buyer journey. Sales reps fail to follow up as they don’t know when and what is expected by the customer. This can also lead to loss of repeat sales and referrals too.
An effective Sales CRM can help prevent these costly mistakes. CRM helps one to keep track of all the meetings and deadlines. Your team can also set reminders to make sure none of the activities are missed.
At the same time, sales managers can also use the CRM to track how many of the planned activities are completed; and intervene as and when required.
Smooth Sales Operations
Sales CRMs can help your sales operations team collaborate with the front-line reps. Your backend operations team can now have visibility into all customer interactions and activities.
A seamless well-oiled sales operations team can serve your clients much better. Visibility into sales forecasts improves overall operational planning. All sales orders get executed on time promptly; thereby meeting client expectations consistently.
With the Sales CRM, the entire organization now refers to a “single-version-of-truth” and avoids any miscommunication between the teams. It brings in basic hygiene and discipline across the board.
Efficient Sales Reporting and Decision Making
A Sales CRM can address all sales reporting needs and helps you to be future-ready.
Sales reports and dashboards play a significant role in better decision making by management. They help leaders to know where the company is heading and take the right steps to manoeuvre the direction.
You can have very useful reports when all your data is up-to-date and in one consolidated place. Your current and past data can be used to perform intelligent analysis of all the trends. These can include both lagging indicators as well as leading indicators.
Ideal Features recommended in a Sales CRM
If you have been wondering what features should a CRM have, here is an overview of that:
Account & Contact Management:
This is a core feature of CRM that helps reps to organize all customer details like name, location, industry, contact details, etc. It also helps to track all interactions with these contacts in one place.
It is a tool to manage, qualify, track and nurture all leads to turn them into paying customers. It can help to plan an effective conversion strategy.
Opportunity & Pipeline Management:
Sales pipeline management helps to get a holistic view of the deal stage, opportunity value, closure probability, next steps, and more. It helps sales managers closely monitor their team’s progress and offer meaningful feedback.
Activity & Task Management:
Sales CRM helps your team organize all their activities and tasks to plan their day better. They can be much more productive in managing their calendar and schedule.
Mobile CRM allows users to access CRM anywhere anytime through their mobile devices. This helps reps to use CRM on the go so that they can update and access it in real-time.
Sales Reports & Dashboards:
Sales reports and dashboards enable better decision making. All the information residing in the CRM can be effectively used to analyse various trends in the business. Business insights from these trends can provide a superior competitive advantage to win market share.
Workflows can help organizations to automate your end-to-end sales operations. This could be extended to post-sales operations as well like order management, delivery management, invoicing, payment collections, service operations etc.
Third-party integrations through APIs allows you to integrate your Sales CRM with third-part tools. The most common integrations include integration with marketing tools, email campaign tools, messaging and social media sites.
How to select the right Sales CRM
Selecting the right Sales CRM is one of the most strategic decisions you need to make. This decision lays the foundation for your growth in the years to come.
No matter what your company size is, the right Sales CRM can help you be organized from the very beginning. The earlier you start the better.
Here are some of the aspects to be considered while selecting the right Sales CRM for your enterprise –
- CRM methodology alignment with your business goals
- Cloud CRM or On-Premise CRM
- Need for a Mobile CRM for quick rollouts and user adoption
- CRM solution fitment in your industry
- CRM implementation methodology recommended by the software vendor
- Ease of use of the CRM to help users adopt fast with minimal training
- Is the responsibility of CRM implementation is with the software vendor or a third-party implementation partner
- Mobile-first strategy
- Post-sales support provided by the CRM vendor
- Data security
- Integration with third-party applications
- Last but not the least, Total-Cost-Of-Ownership (TCO) that includes – all costs like software, cloud costs, infrastructure, implementation, customization, and training costs
A Sales CRM is a strategic decision to help you accomplish your business goals. It provides your reps and managers a 360-degree view across all parameters in sales.
Sales CRM can help companies automate and manage end-to-end sales operations on a single unified platform. This will allow you to have all the data about your clients, your deals, your team’s activities, and your sales pipeline in one place. It will help your reps and sales managers to track their performance and consistently meet their revenue targets.
A good Sales CRM system includes many features like contact management, lead management, sales forecasting, sales pipeline management, deal management, quotation management, etc.
The workflow and collaboration capabilities in a Sales CRM can also help you manage your sales order management process along with post-sales service operations.
Mobile CRM software is another aspect that can help your users adopt a CRM framework much faster with very little training.
There are many Sales CRM software available today and many challenges while implementing a CRM. Before making your decision, do make sure the CRM methodology recommended by the vendor aligns with your needs and thought process. Many times, a horizontal CRM may not be the right solution for your specific industry needs.
Vertical-focused B2B Sales CRM software like HappSales can help you achieve your business goals in a much more predictable and cost-effective manner.
Author Name: Navin Nair
Navin is the Founder & CEO of HappSales. He comes with 25+ years of industry experience in sales and key account management. Armed with vast experience, insights and a great team, he is on a mission to help companies and customer-facing teams in getting their jobs done faster & better, while maximizing their happiness quotient!