7 min readPerfect your Sales Pipeline with CRM


How to build your Sales Pipeline

CRM is no longer just a database tool; businesses now have the ability to supercharge their sales processes, engage customers and targets more effectively and, consequently, convert. The result? A healthier bottom line and happier customers.

A forward-thinking CRM system, such as Microsoft Dynamics, can take that even further. With the ability to understand more about your target, access to real-time information, you can transform your marketing strategy to create compelling customer engagements.

  • Know your target
  • Understanding your target is key to developing effective, relevant communications that can be successfully nurtured into a lead and beyond. But customers today are savvy and a predictable name mail merge just won’t cut it anymore.

    With this in mind, use CRM to better understand your target – from their purchasing history to average buying cycle – and allow this to dictate your communication strategy. Is a lead’s trial about to run out? A membership due to expire? Leverage the information that your CRM can provide to gain a competitive advantage with regards to targeting, ensuring your time is used as effectively as possible.

  • Get efficient
  • Businesses implementing traditional marketing tactics without any CRM insight only spend 46% of their time doing their actual role. This is due to the fact that they are forced to spend their time on laborious, administrative tasks.

    A good CRM system, however, can automate processes to create efficient workflows, consequently removing the need for manual, repetitive tasks. This ensures that the resource available to the marketing team is focused solely on nurturing their database and generating those all-important leads to hand over to Sales.

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM can support a wide range of processes – from the simple automation of a routine task to a complex series of activities that support the wider marketing strategy.

    Be sure to choose a CRM system that allows you to focus on an area in which your time can be best spent.

  • Work with Sales – not against them
  • Did you know that average engagement with a customer begins 57% of the way into the sales cycle? By the time a prospect initiates a conversation with a vendor, they’ve already spent a significant amount of time on research.

    This means that the importance and influence of marketing is significantly increasing. Marketing has always had “early access” to this audience, but the duration and opportunities for impressions are rising.

    It’s imperative, then, that you work with your Sales team to help them understand your importance in the buying cycle and how, by working together, you can dramatically increase the quantity and quality of your leads.

    With this in mind, it’s essential that CRM becomes an integral member of the team – bridging the gap between the two departments; offering sales the detail they need on marketing leads, and providing marketing with the right information on their prospects.


Top Tips to Build a Better Pipeline

A refined pipeline allows you to streamline and drive your organisation forward. Below are some of the crucial first steps you can take towards a more refined – and profitable – pipeline:

  1. Nurture, Don’t Sell
  2. If early communications with leads suggest that they are not ready to purchase, what makes you think that they will be ready in as little as 2 or 3 weeks later? You should continue to communicate with leads but any subsequent communications you have should be carried out from a nurturing perspective, organically warming up the lead rather than forcing your product or service upon them.

    It’s all about building a relationship with the lead; you want them to perceive you as an organisation that will educate rather than sell them something they do not need. This ensures that, when qualified leads do enter your pipeline, you are certain of their quality and have an accurate understanding of their potential to close.

  3. Make the Most of Your CRM
  4. A CRM is the easiest and most efficient way of building on your current pipeline. Hopefully, you already have a CRM in place but, if not, be sure to purchase one capable of fully integrating all accounts, contacts and sales opportunities.

    Within the CRM, it’s essential to have a lead scoring system that’s agreed upon by both your department and Sales, ensuring that there is no confusion as to when to forward the lead to Sales.

    Your CRM is your biggest ally when it comes to managing and improving your pipeline. The ability to
    automate workflows and reminders is one of the the most valuable of its functions, ensuring that none of your leads go cold and a consistent approach is taken across the board. Workflows also guarantee that you’ll be automatically reminded of when to contact them as per previous communications.

    Did you know?
    Your CRM can help you create automated responses to customer issues. Have your ‘thank you’ and ‘we’ll be in touch shortly’ emails drafted and ready to send at the touch of a button.

  5. Create Great Content
  6. To build a more substantial pipeline, it’s essential that your leads have a reason to stay connected to you; a reason to want to buy from you. This is where educational, non-sales-oriented content comes into play. Make your resources interesting and engaging by thinking outside the box.

    Approach an issue in your sector from a new angle, offer genuinely supportive advice or simply cut through the marketing noise with new content formats and themes. Whatever you do, put the client first and remember to support them – not sell to them.

  7. Branch Out
  8. Branch out through social media. Social media is now firmly established as a branch of marketing, one that continues to grow year on year. The major CRM creators have taken this on board and now CRMs such as Microsoft Dynamics offer complete integration with a large variety of social media platforms.

    Many within the younger generation, who are prone to using social media frequently, are less likely to engage with long sales calls. They want instant answers to their issues, and dialogue through social media, so play into their hands. It will bolster your pipeline by unlocking a whole new avenue that was previously out of reach.

  9. Increase Marketing’s Productivity
  10. A better pipeline goes hand in hand with increasing the productivity of your marketing team. Once you have your burgeoning pipeline, how do you expect to cope if your team’s productivity hasn’t increased? Use your CRM to increase productivity in the right areas.

    A system like Microsoft Dynamics offers huge levels of analytic insight into the work you do. Use the CRM to identify which marketing campaigns produced the most leads and the highest levels of engagement. All this information is to hand, use it and replicate it to further increase the pipeline.


Monitoring Your Sales Pipeline

Naturally, once you build your sales pipeline, you have to monitor it carefully. There is no better way to monitor the progress of leads through the pipeline, than to use a CRM to give you this insight into the sales process.

  1. Collect everything
  2. A CRM should store every interaction between your business and your customers, no matter how innocuous it is. If ever there is a blockage, the ability to revert back to even the most minor detail, could help you come unstuck.

  3. Unification
  4. Your CRM is your one stop shop, don’t split data over several pieces of software. Everything under one roof, allows you to get a better overview of your pipeline in case any issues arrive.

  5. Define your stages
  6. Don’t be afraid to customise your CRM or adapt your business when it comes to defining the stages within your pipeline. Well defined stages allow you to keep a realistic and pragmatic view on where your leads lie within the funnel.

  7. Delegate
  8. Modern, forward thinking CRM systems, such as Microsoft Dynamics, allow you to automate many tasks. Let the computer guide and track your leads for you, to maximise precision in your data.

  9. Make use of forecasting and analytics
  10. Make the most of analytic data which your CRM correlates, and uses to create powerful forecasting tools. Leaving you with a recipe to recreate successful campaigns and amend weaker campaigns.