To be successful, you have to collaborate with others, but, and this is a big but; not all collaborative efforts are equal.
If you have more than one person working on sales, you probably want to keep track of who each person has been in touch with, so you don’t end up in awkward situations with multiple people approaching the same contact. How does your sales team currently manage leads, contacts and sales activity?
You might copy each other in or forward emails along, have check in meetings to review activity, or maybe you’ve even set up a spreadsheet to take notes. If so the question arises: do you still need a CRM?
Yes. A CRM is miles more efficient and time-savvy than your old and humble spreedsheet. Read on to find out a few of a CRM’s most valuable functionalities…
Imagine moving from the need to manually note down each interaction that you have with a contact, to a fully integrated system that automatically tracks your emails and phonecalls. A CRM gives you a single place to see the activity stream that you can refer to at any time to see what’s been happening, saving every sales team member valuable time in the process.
Tagging and viewing contacts
If you tag contacts with their industry, vertical, geographical location or lead source you’ll have a really simple and powerful way to run a targeted campaign. Yes, you might have tagged contacts in a spreadsheet or other manual database – but when you combine this ability with the activity tracking, suddenly you’ve saved time and gained greater visibility. Now you can see everyone that you contacted for that campaign – and also whether they’ve been in touch with you since.
Storing contracts or agreements
When you’re going through a sales negotiation there’s likely to be a few proposals or versions of a contract sent back and forth. Usually they live in someone’s inbox, in a network drive or cloud file storage. What if they were all pulled together into one place so you can see them at a glance when you look up that client in your CRM? One of the main advantages of having the right systems in place in your business means that people spend less time looking in different places for the information they need.
Planning and projections
At any given time, you may have a number of potential clients at different stages of the sales process. By using your CRM to track and report on this, you have greater visibility of contracts that are likely to be signed in future, giving you projected income and resource planning information, all reported directly out of the platform where the contact database is, rather than having to do a transfer of data from one system to another.
Lead gathering tools
This varies from product to product, but is widely available – instead of having to manually input contact details line by line, you can install a browser addon or an app with a business card scanning capability to add new contacts with a couple of clicks or taps. The less work it takes to do this, the more time you have to actually follow up on sales.
This is additional functionality that we’ve seen from a particular tool, Onepage CRM. They’ve built the product on the GTD (Get Things Done) methodology and instead of presenting you with a passive interface to manage your database and log activity, each time you interact with a contact you’re prompted to list the next required action for that contact. Booked a meeting with someone? Add an action prompt to follow up with them a day after the meeting. Called and left a message? Add an action prompt to try again in a few days. It’s an activity tracking and task management tool, all in one.
Finding a CRM to suit your business
If you’re reading this and thinking “that sounds great but I can’t afford Salesforce!” don’t worry – there are CRMs at every level to match the volume of contacts or level of complexity that you’re looking for. All of them should provide the basic functionality we’ve covered here and some will do much, much more. And when you’re investigating what might be suitable, make sure to take into consideration the integration with your existing task management, invoicing, marketing automation or customer support tools.