The Path To Low Stress Sales: 6 Reasons To Use a CRM like Act! In Your Business

Act-propel-productivityThink back to the start of your business. You may have been the only one generating sales, serving customers and keeping the books. Once your business achieves some growth, you will start to add a few sales staff. Now you have a problem. As a manager, you are a few steps removed from the sales process. How can you be sure your sales team are spending their time productively?

Whether you own the company or manage the sales department, you need high quality, timely information about the sales group. In my experience, using a CRM (customer relationship management) tool like Act! is critical to improving productivity, reliability and sales effectiveness in a growing business. Let’s start with the benefits for sales managers and company owners.

1. Never miss another customer opportunity

Following up with customer questions and inquiries is critical to close sales. If your sales staff are “managing” customer follow up from their inbox, you are likely losing sales opportunities. By using Act! to monitor and manage interactions with clients and prospects, you can keep your staff focused on the opportunities that matter. For example, you can track when a prospect’s contract with a competitor is set to expire. That tracking allows you to focus your resources on higher value sales opportunities. At a minimum, you should strive to follow up on leads within two business days to keep up with other companies:

Insight: According to – Kayak Online Marketing:
“The average company takes 44 hours to respond to leads.”

Applying Act! To Your Business: Finding the “hot leads” for your business makes the sales process much easier. I recommend using Act’s Intelligent Call Lists feature to identify these leads. Calling a lead who has opened your weekly email newsletter for the past three weeks within minutes of receiving it may be a great fit for your business.

2. Detect high-performance sales activities and stars

Almost every sales team has one or two stars – the professional who significantly outperforms everyone else. They could be the person who never seems to have a “bad month” or who brings in the most profitable deals. Detecting the patterns behind these issues is difficult if you lack a system to organise the information. By using Act!, you can more quickly identify the indicators associated with top performance. For example, you may find that top performers routinely hit an individual activity metric each day (e.g. ten outbound messages to prospects attracted through inbound marketing). You can detect some of these patterns by using Act! to supplement your observations. With these insights, you can improve the productivity of your current sales staff and improve training for new hires.

Management Tip: Create a top performers report in Act! That shows your most productive sales staff and related metrics (e.g. number of deals, days elapsed to close the deal, new vs existing account and other measures).

Act! v19 Dashboard

3. Reduce sales administration time

Let’s say that your sales staff spend 4-8 hours per week on administration today. That covers everything from keeping up with email, filing orders and interacting with others parts of your company. While necessary, those efforts take time away generating new sales opportunities. By using Act!, you can cut that administration time significantly. For example, you can integrate email to Act! so that lead files are updated more quickly. Every automation measure means more time is available to deepen client relationships and start new ones.

Save Time Using Act! – With the “Smart Tasks” feature, you can make sure that your sales staff never miss another follow up with a potential customer. That is critical because larger value sales require you to build trust over time.

4. Deepen relationships at larger firms

It is easier to sell more to existing customers than attract new customers. Despite that truth, many companies do not have a systematic approach to their sales. Let’s say you were doing business with a division of BHP or IBM. There’s a good chance that other parts of the organisation could benefit from your products. However, selling more to a large firm often involves extensive research to discover the decision makers, subject matter experts and political situation. Asking your sales staff to keep track of this data without Act! is asking for trouble.

If you serve large, complex customers (or if you want to expand to that segment), a fully implemented CRM solution is critical.

5. Save time on accounting and customer service

Closing a sale on the phone or in a meeting is exciting for sales professionals. To maintain an excellent customer experience, the subsequent steps of your business process need to function smoothly. For example, issuing an accurate, complete quote or invoice to the client makes a positive impression. By integrating Act! with your accounting system, your sales staff save time in producing invoices and quotes and your accounting team has less paperwork to process.

Tip: If your company uses Quickbooks, Xero, or MYOB, you can easily integrate Act! into your accounting systems.

6. Start using email marketing to improve the bottom line

“A June 2016 survey of US marketers conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric found that email had a median ROI of 122%—more than four times higher than other marketing formats examined, including social media, direct mail and paid search.” - eMarketer

Email marketing remains one of the most effective marketing methods on the market. Why? It all comes back to permission. If your prospects and clients have signed up to receive marketing email, you have direct access to your customers. If you are new to email marketing, there is a learning curve to get started. However, it is well worth the effort because of the high ROI email marketing delivers.

Act! makes it easy to get started with email marketing by providing an easy to use editor and templates. That means you can get started without paying for expensive graphic design services.

How do you “sell” your sales staff on adopting Act! in their daily work? We will cover that question in our next article.