Using a database or a customer relationship management (CRM) tool will help you store and record information vital to closing sales. You can use this tool to record how prospects heard about you, to help determine when you should follow up with prospects and existing customers and to help you remember what you and a customer talked about during your last conversation or when you should invoice your customer.
There are always 2 different answers I get when talking to sales professionals and managers about their customer relationship management (CRM) tool: they either love it and use it daily, or hate it and think it’s a waste of time. If you’re part of the ‘Hate it’ group, or are considering investing in CRM software, read on for 4 reasons why you should be using CRM software to organise prospecting information.
Keep Track of Customers, Clients and Prospects
The most obvious reason why people start using a CRM is to keep track of prospects and clients. The nay sayers will say it takes too much time. Tell me if your piece of paper system, or ‘I’ll remember strategy’ can do this with your clients and prospects.
Can you remember all of your past clients? Can you remember exactly what they bought, for how much, and what else they might be interested in? Maybe you have a file of past clients. Good for you. So when should you follow up with them next? Most people not using a CRM, won’t even bother with the last one because it’s too much effort without an automated tool. Don’t you think you would increase sales if you got a reminder 6 months after a job is complete to see how your customer is doing with your product or service? Or better yet, 6 months after the job, an automated email goes out to past prospects checking in on them?
Don’t leave following up with past customers to when sales are slow only to realise they’ve moved on to your competitors.
While a couple hot prospects might be easy to keep track of, what about that guy that contacted you two months ago, but said their company is going through restructuring so will have to hold off for now? How do you keep track of these no longer ‘hot leads’? You could either forget about them which is easy when not using a CRM, or you could create a system or a set of reminders to follow up. With certain CRMs, you could even automate an email to go out at a pre-determined date to follow up with them. That’s almost easier than forgetting about them!
A CRM system and pipeline management tool helps you nurture prospects and stay on top of the sales process. With some you can track all email and phone correspondence, put in notes and reminders of next steps, and have templates for those repetitive emails. Loosing that sticky note with details of your phone call or forgetting to send the prospect the information they asked for is no longer an option.
Sell More Products
With a good CRM, at the click of a button you can pull up all contacts that have shown interest in a certain product of yours. I’m sure they’d love to hear from you when there’s a promotion on it or updates to it. A CRM can make this process efficient and seamless.
With a CRM, you can look at your dashboard and see what’s in your pipeline. How incentivising would it be to see the amount of money you could make if you closed all open leads? Or see which sales are forecasted to close this month so you know how close you are to your targets?
Some information to keep track of in your CRM include:
- Product they are interested in
- The forecasted amount of the sale
- The date of your last contact with a customer
- The date of the next contact
- The date expected to close
- List of supporting materials you should be sending them
- Names of the other stakeholders who will be involved in the buying decision
It’s time to up your game and have a clear picture of what’s in your sales funnel and a strategy to close more sales.
Improve Your Sales Strategy
With a CRM you can track how your prospects and clients are finding you. Is it through referrals, certain publications, networking or trade shows? Maybe you get a lot of leads from one, but they don’t convert to as many closed sales? It’s important to know where your customers come from so you know where to concentrate your efforts.
- Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling' and the creator of the online sales training platform SOCO Academy. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.