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How to grow a consultancy or professional services firm using CRM…

Sales in the services industry is hugely complex. Tenders are tome-like, requiring legions of consultants to model approaches and provide detailed costs, especially if your firm works with financial services companies or in the public sector. And identifying stakeholders within client organizations isn’t straightforward – it might be the HR division for a big payroll project, or the compliance team for a regulatory change program. The people you need to speak to are moving targets.

So to sell your services effectively, you need your smarts, particularly in the current climate where networking is an anathema. This is when a solution like CRM can really help. One platform to store and integrate your data, plot your pipeline and facilitate integrated sales and marketing activity can put you ahead of the pack. Here are some questions you should be able to answer easily when using a CRM:

  • Are you getting the right leads?

If you ask any sales person the one thing that would make their job easier, you can bet your bottom dollar the answer is better leads. CRM should play a vital role in improving the quality of your leads. CRM ensures leads are the right size, quality, in the right sector etc. CRM can also improve lead management – ensuring the status of each lead is recorded, each lead is followed up – and lead allocation, ensuring the lead is given to the right person on the team, who has the responsibility for that specific area.

  • Is your pipeline being managed effectively?

Fundamental to successful sales is a well-managed sales funnel. Using CRM to track the sales cycle through from lead to closure is vital. It’s really important that you understand how many deals you need at each stage of the pipeline to meet your sales targets – analyzing previous years will help you understand how to do this, as sales is a cyclical process. Variables such as the overall number of deals in your pipeline, the stages that different leads are at within the pipeline, velocity rates (how quickly deals move from one stage to the other) and conversion rates are really important.

  • Is your sales process tip top?

An effective sales process should be at the heart of your sales effort. Your CRM system should be tracking information such as: the stakeholders you want to target; their buying criteria; your prospects’ competitive landscape; and whether procurement needs to be involved. And it’s cyclical – information within the CRM system should be fed back in to inform your sales process. This is vital in helping you understand what parts of your sales process work.

All of the above – along with understanding your win loss ratio and how effective your relationship between sales and marketing is – is vital to the efficacy of your sales process. And CRM means this information is at your fingertips. There are so many challenges the world is currently facing – but battling to get a handle on your sales process shouldn’t be one of them. 

For more information on how CRM can help your professional services’ or consultancy’s sales process, please take a look at our white paper Accelerate your growth with CRM.