Sales productivity & CRM: Tips & tricks

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So you’ve got a CRM in place and you’re wondering how it actually contributes to your bottom line.

This blog will take you through some of our top tips on how to make your Sales team more productive using your CRM system.

Use your CRM to maximise time spent selling

Improving the amount of time your team spends on calls and closing sales is an issue faced by most Sales Managers. Your superiors may be on your case to get more sales from you and your sales team but, at the same time, encouraging you to do more with less.

So, offering professional training to your current team or employing additional staff isn’t an option. But there is a solution that can help you increase the way in which your current sales team spend their time – simply through more effective use of your current CRM.

We have outlined 6 tips that can help you get more from your CRM – and more from your sales team in the processes.

  1. Automate reminders
  2. We can’t stress how important automating reminders is to any role within a business, but particularly for Sales. Should a lead indicate that they may be ready to purchase in the coming months, be sure to note the timeframe and other important details. You want to make sure that you beat the competition but without wasting more time ringing indiscriminately in the meantime.

  3. Lead scoring
  4. Work in combination with your company’s marketing team to outline a lead scoring procedure.
    Having your CRM track where your leads lie within your funnel and automatically update their progress means that you can spend less time monitoring leads and more time picking up the phone to those that are ready.

  5. Use call scripts
  6. Use your CRM’s ability to save sales scripts to ensure that minimal preparation is needed for the more routine sales calls. Having an outline of proven phrases and dialogue can effectively shorten sales calls, meaning that you can fit more in your day.

  7. Mobile CRM
  8. Various studies have shown how using a mobile CRM can increase productivity in sales staff by as much as 25%. With access to a mobile CRM, your sales staff are capable of researching on the go, meaning the time spent in the office needn’t be used to prep for a meeting but can instead be used to continue with sales-based activity.

  9. Minimise admin tasks
  10. Most CRMs offer fantastic automated functions that can minimise the amount of time you and your sales team spend doing admin tasks. Have email templates saved to send to clients you have just spoken to or ensure the company as a whole has a routing system in place to automatically forward certain emails to the correct person. Time saved here is time that can be spent selling to prospects and leads alike.

  11. Use social media
  12. Using social media to help coordinate your sales calls is crucial; important information can be gleaned from a lead’s social media output – particularly their mood. Mood plays a massive part in whether a sale will be closed. It’s all well and good making calls but if the call isn’t working towards a sale, then you’re not maximising your time spent selling.

How to Manage Your Team More Effectively

Management is a skill that not everybody has – and even those who are naturally gifted managers should be wary of resting on their laurels. It’s a skill that one should always aim to work on, refine and improve on a regular basis.

This is easier said than done but perhaps one of the most effective ways to do is through the adoption of a CRM in company ranks.

A forward thinking CRM, such as Microsoft Dynamics, can provide many benefits to an organisation.

In the past, we’ve shown how a CRM can increase company profits, improve interdepartmental alignment and boost productivity. Another favourable advantage of CRM is the ability to boost team cohesion and, in turn, make managing your team far easier and more effective.

  • Improved Processes
  • Many sales people complain about the lack of coherent processes in place in their organisation.
    Whilst some people thrive on the simplicity of just being given a quota and left to fend for themselves, many more need a more structured approach to selling.

    Using your CRM, find out how your most profitable sales people approach their sales. The number of occasions that a sales person has been in contact with a client, the amount of time spent on the account and even the script used to call customers can all be obtained from your CRM.

    Use this information to help define profitable processes. But don’t stop there; ask your staff to provide their input to ensure everyone is in agreement. Allow staff to come to you, in confidence, to make sure that everyone can voice their feelings or suggestions. Everyone needs to be on board with the same objective in mind. See more about improving your sales process with CRM in the next section.

  • Increased Visibility
  • Visibility is paramount for effective team management and your CRM can provide complete insight into your team’s work. Use the shared calendars to keep track of your employee’s itinerary for the upcoming week. Organise meetings quickly and effectively, all the while ensuring that everyone is available and aware of the booking.

    This added visibility extends beyond the booking of meetings and the ability to view your team’s itineraries; it lets you observe their time spent on various accounts. Identify the different approach of individuals and offer advice, where necessary. Conversely, if you see something done well, congratulate and celebrate the success.

    Ensure that increased visibility isn’t solely limited to management. Facilitate competition by including a progress bar within your CRM to spur your department on to sell more. Healthy competition is always beneficial to sales teams, but it’s your job to manage this and make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.

    Remember; visibility of your staff’s activity shouldn’t be a ‘witch hunt’ – and it’s important that your team knows this. Be sure to explain to them that the need for visibility is to improve their role and the department as a whole.

  • Track Targets
  • Create achievable targets agreed on by both your superiors and your staff. Whilst you may believe that announcing targets, which you know to be unachievable, will boost office productivity you’re more likely to be faced with a demoralised workforce.

    With these agreed targets in place, the visibility from your CRM will allow you to get an accurate picture of your team’s progress. You can refine this one step further and create individual targets; better man management equates to happier team as a whole.

  • Set an Example
  • For all of the above to be effective, you need to be sure that the rest of your employees are using the system continuously. Undoubtedly, extensive use of the CRM is outlined in company procedures, but the best way to inspire use is to do so yourself.

    Likewise, avoid breeding contempt by showing that you’re capable of doing everything that you ask your staff to do. It’s all well and good laying down targets but show that not only have you achieved similar targets in the past, through data archived in your CRM, but that you are still capable of doing so. Leading by example is one of the most effective motivational tools available to management – so use it to your advantage.

Eight steps to smarter sales processes

  1. Analyse your time
  2. Time is undoubtedly one of the most valuable assets in your company. Depending on its size, it may well be the single most important. Take a step back and get an overview of how you spend your day.

    Observing from this bird’s eye view is the first step to finding out where you can ultimately save time. A forward-thinking CRM system can help you to do this with in-depth insight.

  3. Delve into your CRM
  4. It is quite likely that you don’t know everything within your organisation’s CRM; even the most well trained students will find previously unknown functions hidden within. This is particularly true of Dynamics CRM due to the regular updates made by Microsoft. There may be additional time saving tools that are perfectly tailored to dealing with cumbersome and resource heavy tasks.

  5. InsideView
  6. If you’re using Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the United States, make sure you make the most of InsideView. As the name suggests, the program gives you an inside view into your leads’ businesses as well as that of your competition. Vital information such as leadership change or financial circumstance can affect the outcome of a sale; make sure you know all of this in advance.

  7. Monitor trends
  8. You have your clients’ previous buying history in front of you – do you notice any trends? Customers often follow sales patterns, why not anticipate these and contact your lead in advance? Use your CRM to identify trends and get in touch with your customers prior to them contacting you (or a competitor).

    Not only could you get the sale in a little earlier but you could help cement relationships with the client by showing this attention to detail.

    The beauty of using a CRM rather than a simple spreadsheet is that a CRM can help place the data in context. Identify the leads and customers you’re spending a significant amount of time in communication without results and maybe shift some of that time on to prospects and customers that you know to be more promising.

  9. Cloud
  10. Is your CRM still relevant? Many CRMs are now moving to the cloud. Cloud computing allows you to access files anywhere on any mobile device. No longer are you confined to the traditional set up of in-house dedicated servers and immobile desktops. Being more flexible with your set up could save you time and allow work to be done on the go.

    Are there provisions in place for you to adequately sell on the move? In line with their cloud offerings, CRMS such as Microsoft Dynamics offer mobile phone apps. This allows your sales team to work on the go without burdening them with laptops. Using mobile CRM tools will give your out of office sales people the same quality data as those based in house.

  11. Social data
  12. Your company may well have a pretty efficient archiving system with plenty of client data collated from traditional sources -but how about social media data? The most forward thinking CRMs have social media platforms fully integrated within them. Creating a situation where lead information is updated in real time by the lead directly.

    Also, proactive use of social media allows sales teams to target those outside of their traditional sales silo.

  13. Know your client
  14. Spend a few moments revising the details of your lead before contacting them. Although you may have the screen in front of you during the call, a previous look at the data will make for a more fluid and impressive sales pitch. Having a person in your company that regularly goes through your most important leads and updates their profiles with new information from social media is also a good way to make an impression.

  15. Know your organisation
  16. Do you need to forward calls on to different sales reps? You need to be able to do this quickly; either remember all relevant phone numbers and directories, or ensure that they are visible on your CRM to speed up the process. In a broader sense, impress your clients by knowing important details and figures about your own business. Once again keep them easily accessible on your CRM, if unable to memorise them.

Refine your Sales strategy with CRM

Having a dedicated sales strategy is crucial to push your business forward and land more sales. More important even still is ensuring that your strategy is shared throughout the Sales team and objectives are unified.

The ability to step back and get an overview of your strategy is crucial to finding issues with it and subsequently altering it for the better. Using a forward thinking CRM, Sales teams have the ability to take that much-needed step back.

Manage Your Sales Funnel

Cutting through the sales noise that many targets are now savvy to, advanced CRM systems help sales teams to organically nurture leads through the sales funnel. Marketing collateral or sales pitches that may engage those at the top of the funnel may be completely redundant to those much further through the process.

Use the information harnessed within your CRM to adapt your sales pitches accordingly and ensure that a company-wide strategy on how to sell to those in different parts of the funnel is live.

Up-Selling & Cross-selling

A CRM allows you to pinpoint accurately who your biggest customers are. An even more nuanced reading of your CRM will let make comparisons of these top clients. Which leads are taking the most time to close? Which leads require the most man power? There are important comparisons to be made here. Client A may spend the most at your business but require much more time than Client B, meaning that Client B does in fact give you a bigger net profit.

There are tools built within CRMs to help you notice these trends – and your sales team can use these to their advantage; know what Client A likes to purchase? Suggest similar, additional purchases and make the account more profitable.

Maintaining Relationships

It’s a well-known fact that people buy from people – and we know it is often advantageous to have a single customer-facing salesperson on the same account to build a relationship but this may not always be feasible. Using the information leveraged from a CRM, any sales person within your team can instantly have a rapport with a client, thanks to the wealth of knowledge already accumulated.

Mobile and Cloud

The speed of change with the CRM world has been staggering, with the most forward-thinking systems updating constantly. Using a CRM that operates in the cloud means that, not only do you benefit from always having the latest updates, but you also have access to your database anywhere. Microsoft Dynamics has taken this a step further with a mobile app that ensures your sales team can remain strategic – wherever they are.

Improve your CRM and sell more

It goes without saying that there are numerous benefits to adopting a CRM throughout your company, but how can an advanced CRM solution help you impress your clients? This countdown highlights what we believe to be the five most important advantages of a fully integrated CRM solution.

  1. Professionalism
  2. Using a CRM exudes an air of professionalism to your customers. We both know that you don’t remember all these facts off the top of your head; that you use a CRM to hold all of this information – but most customers do not. It’s a smart way to make each of the thousands of clients stored on your CRM feel as important as possible and, of course, they are important – but it would be unfeasible to remember the intimate details of them all. A CRM helps you to achieve this.

  3. Reliability
  4. CRM systems as a whole are far more reliable than the paper and pencil method. Long gone are the days with scraps of paper strewn all over your desk, scraps with single words that made sense at the time but no longer amount to all that much. Everything can now be stored on a single database giving both you and your company access to everything about every lead. Most modern CRM systems have cloud versions of their software providing you with redundancy in case any internal computers do go down.

  5. Time Efficiencies
  6. CRM systems allow you to spend more time selling and less time dealing with niggling admin issues.
    The most adaptive CRM systems, such as Microsoft Dynamics, have a whole host of automated functions embedded within them which, if used properly, will save you significant time. Even the familiar and well thought out interface of Microsoft Dynamics ensures that you spend as little time as possible when inputting data from a call.

    CRMs that integrate with email clients, as Microsoft Dynamics does with Microsoft Office, will save you time. Emails sent to your business are subsequently categorised and sent to the appropriate department without you lifting a finger.

  7. Unification
  8. CRM can help with unification; the most successful businesses are those that share a company-wide strategy. When sales and marketing are aligned, both work far more effectively and a CRM acts as a common ground where ideas between both can be shared. Sales want a certain quality of lead supplied from Marketing – and with a good CRM in place, they can play a part in choosing the settings that automate the passing of leads from one department to another.
    As a sales rep, you can provide feedback to the Marketing team to help confirm which campaigns have produced the most sales ready leads. Alignment is crucial if you want to succeed in the world of Sales 2.0.

  9. Track ROI and Generate More Revenue
  10. Despite the possibility of a multitude of other benefits, if ROI doesn’t stack up, any process or technology is unlikely to last long term. It is here, however, that full scale adoption of a CRM comes into its own. Not only will it greatly increase your ability to track ROI of each activity but also increase profits throughout your company.

Using a CRM will also help you to close sales more quickly. The quicker your team closes a sale, the sooner they can move on to the next call. Knowing that sales is a numbers game, the more calls you can make, the more sales you can potentially close and the more revenue you can therefore bring in.

Increased customer satisfaction can also increase ROI; the professionalism afforded to companies that adopt the technology means that customers are more likely to purchase from them again. This means that the Sales team can work less to secure repeat business and spend more time acquiring new business.

Discover how to boost sales success with our free eGuide: ‘The ultimate guide to: increasing sales performance’.

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