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Manage Your Sales Leads With A CRM
One of the biggest threats to your business is sales team disorganization.
We help B2B and B2C companies generate sales leads. To ensure our clients get maximum value from their sales leads, we like to ask about their sales lead follow up process. A well structured sales process will ensure those high quality sales leads become new clients. When we ask, “what CRM are you using?” an often heard reply is (sadly), “what's a CRM?”
There is NOTHING worse than spending money to generate a sales lead, only to lose the business because your sales staff aren't following up. Fortunately a (properly used) CRM can help you avoid any wasted sales lead generation dollars. CRM refers to a Customer Relationship Manager. And if you are generating sales leads for your business then you need to be using one.
A CRM keeps you organized and ensures that your contacts don't get under-served. As a business, your goal should be to provide as much value as humanly possible to your clients, and close sales leads as efficiently as possible. A CRM will help you achieve both goals.
Watch Those Sales Leads!
Getting business people to use a CRM is sometimes hard. In many cases the problem is one of self identity. Many people don't think of themselves as a 'sales person' so they don't think they need a CRM. “I'm not in sales. I'm a (dentist, lawyer, yoga instructor, photographer, caterer, etc). If you have one or more clients then you are in sales, and anyone that contacts you is a sales lead.
A second major problem faced by all organizations, big and small is commitment to usage. For a CRM to be an effective tool, the adoption rate should be 100%. This means that ALL pertinent information and steps are inputted into the tool. CRM output can only be as good as the input. For account managers this means taking a moment to record the sales lead details and next steps for EVERY interaction and non-interaction. You called, but no one answered? Great, make a note! It also means taking a moment to record non-essential details like the client's wife's name (you WILL forget). Ironically, for short tasks like a quick email or missed call, the CRM input will sometimes take longer than the actual task.
A third problem with CRM technology is that in some cases it is TOO complex. CRM's are built to serve the needs of large corporations with multiple stakeholders and a high volume of sales leads. This sounds great, but for small businesses with a fairly simple sales pipeline, the technology can sometimes be overwhelming and of limited benefit.
A final stumbling block for small businesses is that in many cases they don't have a formal sales process. If they did, they would probably already be using a CRM!
The Right CRM For You
OK, so what's the best CRM?
Sadly, there is no 'best' CRM, only the one that is right for your business. If you type in CRM to Google you'll find lots of CRM software reviews to consider.
Here are a couple of suggestions to consider before you pick a CRM to manage your sales leads:
Have a formal sales process in place. You can't rely on a CRM to structure your sales process for you. If you don't know the best way to handle your sales leads, the CRM won't know either.
Your CRM must be flexible enough to adapt to your way of working, NOT the other way around. You don't fit to the software, the software fits to your lead management methodology.
Your choice of CRM is typically a long term decision. Do not enter into it lightly. Be sure to test drive all your options with a free trial.
What is the perfect level of current and future flexibility? Some CRMs do a lot of things are are designed to support larger organizations than your own. Do you really need that level of complexity? Usually the answer is no.
Did you hear a “click”? When you did a demo of the CRM did you fall in love? If not, maybe you need to refine your understanding of your sales process, or perhaps you need to keep doing CRM demos. It's not fun, but choosing the wrong CRM is a pain.
How easy is it to exit? At some point you may need to change your CRM solution. How easy is it going to be to move your sales leads to a different provider? Start your CRM journey with a possible end in the back of your mind.