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5 ways CRM can help improve your sales team’s performance

What’s the key to winning in any industry? Aside from things like marketing and pricing, the factor that arguably plays one of the greatest roles is your sales process.

At its core, the success of any business hinges on the relationship it has with customers. However, dealing with market demands requires careful tracking of countless interactions, plus a hyper-focused approach to customer needs at every stage of the purchasing journey. Striking a balance to fulfill all these conditions is a challenge for every business. This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software comes in.

As your business grows, having an efficient system to continuously improve the customer experience is a bulletproof brand differentiator. CRM software has become a must-have if you want a fighting chance to succeed — and your competitors are realizing this too.

From revenue growth to streamlined operations and improved customer experience, CRM offers countless benefits to the organization willing to invest. But while we’ve previously discussed the wider benefits of CRM, what exactly could it offer your sales team in particular?

Let’s take a look at five critical ways that CRM can improve sales performance at your business.

How can CRM help your sales team?

By 2029, the CRM market size is forecast to reach a staggering value of $145 billion. This reflects the massive growth in adoption the sector is experiencing as sales teams push their digital transformation efforts.

Evidently, organizations of all scales and verticals are catching on to the benefits of CRM — but what are the exact sales processes bolstered by CRM implementation? Let’s take a closer look.

1. Transforms lead management

Ask any salesperson what would help them to deliver better results and the overwhelming majority will reply “better leads”. For many businesses, CRM plays an important role in driving up the quality of the leads that are put into the pipeline.

One way it does so is by giving salespeople the opportunity to efficiently feed back on leads. The CRM prompts them to mark up any prospects that are in the wrong territory, the wrong size, the wrong company type, and so on. The system then aggregates this data and presents it back to the marketers who can learn and redirect their future efforts.

Once these more productive leads are in the pipeline, CRM can help your sales team to nurture them.

Much of sales is about timing, after all. Today’s excellent opportunity is tomorrow’s ghosted proposition — and a CRM system enables salespeople to prioritize and focus on the most valuable leads at one specific moment. Visibility on all sales in CRM ensures that every lead has clear next steps and an owner assigned, and regular reports can be produced for outstanding opportunities.

CRM also supports salespeople to follow up on leads and ensure that the maximum number convert. It does so by automatically recording progress and tracking each prospect through the pipeline until conclusion. This way, your team will be able to effectively monitor lead follow-up and action any that have slipped through the net before it’s too late.

2. Provides invaluable insights

To convert the most valuable leads, your sales team needs to identify and understand each client. This will help them to target the correct person with sales activity, whether conducting initial outreach or following up on a proposal. By capturing and recording entire organizational hierarchies, CRM platforms can help answer questions like:

  • Who are the deal influencers?
  • Who are the decision makers?
  • Who are the gatekeepers?

This will save your sales team time and resources in getting deals in front of the right people. And time is a hot commodity within sales when so much of it is lost to repetitive administrative work. In fact, reports estimate that just 23% of salespeople’s time is spent actually making sales.

So, cutting back on clerical tasks and providing your staff with the capacity to focus on building relationships can be hugely valuable in getting more customers through the door.

CRM can also provide insights to improve forecasting and decision making. Forecasting is a highly underrated skill for salespeople — if your team is able to accurately predict how much of their pipeline will convert, they will become better negotiators and more helpful for business planning. And yet, very often, businesses rely on a salesperson’s “gut feel” for how likely a lead is to become a customer.

Managing sales in CRM makes this a thing of the past. With historical data at their fingertips, your sales team can conduct in-depth analyses of previous results, using their learnings to adjust forecasts and inform decision making.

Consider the implications for each individual on your team. The incurable optimists may be persuaded to look for fresh opportunities rather than assuming those already in the pipeline will convert, and the eternal pessimists may learn to line up resources for sales that they previously judged as unlikely.

3. Assists long-term relationship building

Relationships are built on trust, which is why your sales team needs to deliver on their promises. If a client requests a callback, they must receive that call — or that email, depending on their communication preferences. Nowadays, customers expect a personalized approach throughout the entire sales cycle — and 58% are willing to pay more for superior customer service. This makes CRM a critical investment for the growth of any business.

Fortunately, CRM systems provide the ability to record notes in one centralized knowledge base to be shared across all relevant team members. Plus, your salespeople can aggregate all contact and comms info from a variety of different channels, so that reminders can be sent for follow-ups and all decision making can be well-informed.

CRM also helps to foster new learning about customers by gathering and storing data on prospect activity. It can track, record and report on contact and purchasing behavior so that by the time your salespeople are having their first engagement, they already know exactly how to adapt their messaging.

CRM systems allow salespeople to store and access details including:

  • Contact information
  • Communications history and preferences
  • Purchase history
  • Financial calendar
  • Market segment trends
  • Feedback
  • Upsell and cross-sell opportunities

Ultimately, this will provide your team with a more holistic view of the customer, which can be leveraged to earn higher rates of conversion.

4. Ensures no opportunity is overlooked

Well-established customer relationships provide opportunities to upsell and cross-sell, but before this can happen, your salesperson must have a solid rapport and understanding of the client.

Personal information is required to maintain a relationship with each stakeholder, particularly when a handover has to take place between your salespeople. A centralized knowledge base can help to facilitate productive communications between each party when negotiating and selling.

However, your salespeople can only build productive relationships if they have a deep awareness of customer needs, preferences, and even their company culture. To ensure repeat business, they will need easily accessible data to match products to client preferences and support cross-selling and upselling.

Importantly, when managing sales in CRM systems you don’t just document historical data — you configure them to constantly update with records of current activities. This means they can offer valuable information on how well each stage of the sales process is working, allowing your sales team to replicate and build on the elements that succeed, and discard or adapt the parts that are less effective.

This way, your team can learn from their failures just as they do their successes, and answer questions like:

  • Do we have more success when approaching one particular position in the company?
  • Does one type of sales message resonate strongly in a particular sector?
  • What aspect of the sales process led us to lose out on this deal?
  • Do we have a seller who is better suited to personas in a particular market segment?
  • When is the optimal moment to offer a product demonstration?

All of this information is useful if held in the heads of a few outstanding salespeople, but if you can capture it in a CRM and collectively learn from it, you can build an outstanding sales and CRM team.

Finally, bear in mind that while data and processes matter in sales, they are far less important than people.

So, you should use your CRM to track the performance of each individual in your sales team and uncover ways to improve their performance. You can get quite granular, looking at every stage of the process. How active is each sales rep? Are leads followed up, and within what timeframe? How many meetings, emails and calls are taking place?

This helps pinpoint the precise development needs of each of your salespeople so that you can focus training and drive higher returns from each member of your team, as well as higher employee satisfaction.

5. Improves quotation management

Bill Gates once shared that “(the) first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

And while managing your sales in CRM software will undoubtedly give your company an advantage, implementing a system with an integrated quotation management tool will propel your sales process like nothing else.

Quoting software allows you to streamline and automate your sales operations. In a nutshell, it offers the following advantages:

  • You can quickly create or draft quotations for work orders to determine all the estimated costs
  • You can consolidate your quotations according to the status, job type, and client, then organize all the data in a specific place for convenient retrieval
  • You can conveniently send completed quotations to your customers via email
  • You can convert quotes into work orders, eliminating the necessity to re-enter client details or quotation information

Together, these benefits allow you to focus on your customers instead of spending excessive time generating proposals. But it’s not enough to just send a quote — effective CRM systems also allow you to track and view if your quote has been received, responded to, modified, and returned to you.

While not all CRM platforms support these features, Workbooks offers out-of-the-box quotation management capabilities alongside a host of transformative tools that will enable your sales team to get more out of your CRM project.

Revolutionize your sales process with Workbooks

The conventional way to seal the deal is a handshake, but in this day and age, you need to utilize all the technological advancements available to get customers through the door.

As with any important decision, however, it’s necessary to consider the full breadth of your business needs before making a choice. But help is available.

Workbooks has assisted countless organizations to streamline and connect their sales function to the rest of the business, bringing in higher-quality leads and ensuring successful relationships are built.

See for yourself what our CRM team has done to improve sales performance for companies across professional services, technology and more. Or, simply book a demo today to learn more about how our platform can help you close more deals and increase revenue.