CRM Benefits for Your Sales Professionals

Act! CRM for Sales ProfessionalsFor company owners and managers, an effective CRM program works wonders in helping you to measure and improve your business.

What about your sales staff? What benefit does it have for them? That is the question we will explore here. After all, if management fails to “sell” CRM to the staff, you will not get much benefit from using the CRM. To make that “internal sale,” here are the key CRM benefits for sales professionals.

1. More repeat orders and business from past customers

Asking a previous customer to buy again is much easier than attracting a new one. We all know that. However, most of us lack a systematic process to maintain relationships with past customers which means repeat sales are less likely. Adopting a CRM program makes it easier to manage customer relationships by providing you with notes, order activity and reminders to get in touch with past customers.

Tip: Use Act!’s Smart Task feature to remind you to get in touch with customers. Let’s take real estate as a quick example, Set a “time delay” on the Smart Task for 3-6 months after the sale. At that point, you will be reminded to get in contact with your customer. If they are satisfied, this is an excellent time to ask for a referral or surprise them with a gift.

2. Improve sales results on complex deals

Selling to a bank or another large company is often a long and drawn out process. I have seen cases where the buying process can take months or even more than a year. With millions of dollars in revenue at stake, staying involved is well worth the effort. Just think about how complicated the process can become! Each month, you may meet new people at your target company whom all have different interests and concerns. If you fail to keep those concerns straight, you are likely to ruffle feathers and lose the order.

Keep all your data, notes and observations in the CRM makes everything much easier in a complex sale. This same process also applies to high-value professional sales such as investment management, law and accounting. Attempting to keep all of that information clear in your head is asking for failure.

3. Spend more time with customers

Every month, your managers will probably ask you for reports and other data about your sales activities. Compiling these reports is a headache that nobody wants. You may not be able to eliminate reporting entirely, but you can cut it down substantially by using Act! once you have your desired reports in place.

Tip: If you save an hour per week from administration, that time savings will not automatically translate into higher income. To achieve that benefit, use that new time on high-value activities like prospecting for your dream clients.

4. Get better leads from the marketing department

Remember the classic sales movie “Glengarry Glen Ross?”

In the scene with Alec Baldwin’s characters, underperforming salesmen complain that “the leads are weak.” Baldwin’s character tears them apart for complaining about the leads. It may be one of the most iconic depictions of sales in pop culture. Too bad it is misleading!

In reality, the value of your leads may be weak! By keeping notes on your leads in Act!, you will be able to notice patterns. You may find that inbound leads who download a white paper are much more interested in hearing from you than any other type of lead. Once you understand that point, meet with your marketing colleagues to share your experiences, so they know what to continue.

Why do better leads matter? A higher quality lead is more likely to buy and become a long-term customer. Even better, you will reduce the pain and frustration of rejection dramatically. All of these benefits are possible by thoroughly using a CRM.

5. A full CRM keeps the sales manager away

Let’s face it: nobody likes to be nagged at the office or at home. If you are disciplined in keeping your deals up to date in the CRM, you will never hear another complaint from your manager again. That means less awkward conversations at the office for you. Isn’t that peace of mind alone worth 15 minutes a day to keep your CRM notes up to date?

Tip: If your company uses a “balanced scorecard” approach to performance reviews, check to see if consistent CRM use fits with that process.

6. You can make a better case for a pay increase

How can using your company CRM consistently help you to win a raise? Your manager may want to reward good performance. However, she needs to show a business case for that decision. Revenue numbers alone may be enough in some cases. Your request will be even more compelling if you can demonstrate that you are also keeping reliable records on your customers. Keeping those records demonstrates that you are committed to the CRM program. Showing you have a repeatable process to bring in new business – as documented by your actions in Act! – helps your manager understand that you can continue to develop stellar results.

Keep Growing: Our Two Recommended Sales Books

By the way, you do not have to stop with a CRM when it comes to helping your sales staff to improve. The following two books are industry classics for a reason – you can read them multiple times and profit each time. Each book is available in print, digital or audio format so even your field reps can access the books.

SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham.

Relying on a large scale research study into effective sales practices in B2B sales, this book explains a simple process you can use to make sales over and over again. By navigating the sales conversation through the “SPIN” process, your staff will be able to make more sales. What if your team does not have enough prospects? That is where our next title comes into the picture.

The Ultimate Selling Machine by Chet Holmes.

While much of the book is aimed at company owners and managers, your sales staff can also profit from reading this book. Holmes advocates focus in the prospecting process such as creating a list of your “Dream 20” clients and then pursuing them systematically. Holmes also shows how education based marketing plays a key role in attracting prospects to your organisation.

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.