Using CRM to Leverage Sales

10079414 Businessman With Idea Lightbulb by Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot
Including CRM in your sales cycle is a smart business strategy

In part one of this paper, we discussed how critically important it is to select a sales model that is appropriate for the products or services you are selling.  In our case study the ‘NewCo’ company needed to transition from a high cost direct sales organization to selling via the internet and channel partners.

The second and equally important strategy to ensuring good sales execution is to implement a structured sales process or methodology that standardizes how you sell. This is important for two reasons.

1. Simplified Sales Management

First, you cannot manage and properly direct your sales team if every representative has a different approach to selling.  Remember sales people traditionally come from all walks of life – from teachers, accountants and engineers to college students just entering the work force.  Unless you establish a specific sales training program every member of your team is going to conduct their business according to what they feel is right.  Using this approach some will perform better than others will. However, one thing is clear you will not have a uniform approach to selling.

This is something many companies continue to struggle with.  CRM systems do an excellent job of providing structure for companies that don’t have one, or are unsure what theirs should look like.  This is not rocket science.  Start by outlining the steps that occur during your sales process.  The steps will vary from business to business, and the number of steps depends on the length of your sales cycle.

100152759 5 Steps by samuiblue
What are the steps in your sales cycle?

For example, the sales cycle typically begins with qualification or a needs analysis. This ensures the new opportunity is real, and that the prospect has a need for your company’s product or service, and the budget to pay for it.  Next step may be a product demonstration, followed by a quote, a trial of the product, verbal agreement then closure.

sales-process-pipeline-by-stage

2. Consistent Sales Forecasting

The benefit here is clear.  Having a definitive sales process such as this allows management to see a snapshot of every new sales opportunity. If you are managing every new sales opportunity in a structured fashion, you know where each one is in the sales process and what is required to close the sale.  This leads to highly accurate monthly and quarterly sales forecasts.

sales-process-pipeline-by-stage

Using a set of pre-built analytical reports sales management can follow each opportunity through the pipeline and take a proactive approach to help win the sale.

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Graphical and spreadsheet view of sales by stage

About the author:

Larry Caretsky is president of Commence Corporation a leading provider of online CRM software.  Caretsky has more than 30 years of experience in the client management software industry and has written numerous white papers on the subject along with an eBook “Practices That Pay”. He leads a consulting team that assists small to mid-size businesses implement best practices for sales execution and sales performance.

Image “Businessman With Idea Lightbulb” courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image “5 Steps” courtesy of samuiblue/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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