(Editor’s note: the following is a guest blog post from Jennifer Karpus-Romain, the director of marketing at Intelestream)
If you are bringing CRM into any sales organization, you must remember there are two sets of employees.
Your sales reps are on the ground, interacting with potential and current customers to bring in new business. It’s a must to give them access to all client and prospect information in one place so they can have intelligent conversations with their targets, along with an easy-to-navigate pipeline to hit their goals.
Sales managers are just as integral. They need to oversee a lot of facets of the business. This includes analysis of deals in progress, forecasting, their direct reports’ performance, what products or services are popular, and what may need to be tweaked. Anything that can streamline all of this information and make it digestable is useful.
Organizations that get the most out of their CRM, customize it for each audience. Let’s look at each group’s needs in a little more detail.
- Organize data – As a sales rep, you connect with people every day. You check in with accounts, reach out to leads and check out opportunities. If you have information stored in separate places, it’s confusing and it’s easy to drop the ball. With a CRM system, you can store all customer information, along with leads and opportunities in one place. You can look up a person’s name, company, email address, phone number and any other data point you want.
- Connect from any device – One of the most important facets of a CRM solution for a sales rep is the ability to upload information from any device. If you are in the office, you don’t want a long load time on your desktop. In the field, you don’t want a poor mobile version of your CRM software.
- Integrate marketing and sales – With a Total CRM platform you can bring together your marketing and sales force automation programs. Both marketing automation (MA) and sales force automation (SFA) platforms are specialized tools within a CRM solution. While both tools offer great support for your team, they are limited in the insights they can deliver.
As standalone systems, their value is directly dependent on the company’s use case. Although you could get by with just a marketing or a sales force program, you would always be missing the essential pieces of customer data that you need to create broader insights. That’s where a customer relationship management (CRM) system comes in. Whether you have a simple solution or you integrate plug-ins, a CRM can house all customer data in one place, helping to streamline processes and to create an easy-to-access information base.
- Track Progress – No matter if a sales manager has two salespeople or 100, they need to be able to track the progress of their team. CRM systems allow your team to log where they left off with customers and prospects. They can document every call, email, and face-to-face conversation. Need to know when a contract was signed? Or when a renewal is up? All this information is in one place.
- Manage contacts – Without a unified system, it’s difficult to manage contacts. With a CRM system, you have accessibility to information with smooth transitions. Not only do you have easy access to your contacts, but you can seamlessly connect them to your marketing initiatives. Sales managers can also check in on individual sales members’ activity. You can quickly discover which team members are working in the CRM and who is not. Having information in one place ultimately makes your sales reporting quicker and easier.
- Improve sales meetings – We have all been in that meeting. The one that seems to go on forever without a purpose. When you have a CRM-driven sales meeting, you have a productive sales meeting. You can pull a sales pipeline report from your CRM system, take time to look at the overview before the meeting and see what areas you need a full status report on. Then you can ask specific representatives of individual opportunities and learn what specific stage within the sales pipeline they are in. If one salesperson seems to be closing the deal more than others, take a look at their process. Review your best practices and adjust as needed.
Intelestream and Riva will be at SugarCon, Sept. 25-28 in San Francisco. There is still time to register. We hope to see you there!