4 CRM Best Practices | How To Organise Prospecting Information

If you’re struggling to organise your prospecting information, you probably already know that you need a customer relationship management tool (CRM). Perhaps you have one, and you’re still not sure exactly what you’re doing – don’t worry, that’s why we created this guide to the 4 top CRM best practices that we swear by.

Also read: The Ultimate Guide To The Sales Prospecting Process (+ Email Templates)

What is a CRM?

A customer relationship management tool is fundamental to any sales tech stack. A 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. More so, a CRM enables you to remember what you and a customer talked about during your last conversation or invoice your customer.

Why you need a CRM

You reach a large number of your ideal target customers, so naturally, you’re going to start getting more and more enquiries. How are you going to organise all of your contact and payment information? Using a CRM tool will help you store and record this information systematically.

You must record the information systematically. A lasting business relationship is based on a strong personal relationship between you and your customer. If the prospect is an individual, become familiar with the correct pronunciation and spelling of their name, age, experience base, educational background, family status, special interests and hobbies, and communication style. If the prospect is a business representative, be sure to collect business-related facts. What does the company manufacture or sell? How long has the firm been in business? Is the firm a leader in its industry? Does the firm have expansion plans?

The importance of a prospecting plan

It’s also useful to develop a prospecting and sales forecasting plan. A major barrier to prospecting is time. However, since prospecting is so important to long-term success, soho entrepreneurs need to develop an organized approach to prospecting:

  • (1) preparing a list of prospects,
  • (2) forecasting the potential sales volume that each new account might generate for each product,
  • (3) determining when to contact customers and prospects for a visit during a certain period of time.

Some common customer relationship management (CRM) and sales force automation (SFA) tools include Access, ACT!, Bento by Filemaker, Entellium, Goldmine, Microsoft CRM, Netsuite, Outlook, Salesforce.com, Sales Logix, Siebel, Sugar CRM. However, regardless of who you choose – be sure to do your research, try an online demo and/or use a trial version before deciding on the best tool for helping you in organising prospecting information.

What’s the best CRM?

A customer relationship management tool is fundamental to any sales tech stack. A 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. More so, a CRM enables you to remember what you and a customer talked about during your last conversation or invoice your customer.

People ask me all the time, “Hey Tom, what’s the best CRM platform.” I say, “Good question, the answer is the one that your team actually uses.”

They’re all great; they all have great features and limitations and some customisation elements but don’t get fixated on that. Furthermore, I get two different answers when talking to sales professionals and managers about their CRM tool. They either love it and use it daily or hate it and think it’s a waste of time. 

Your CRM implementation strategy – what to consider

Before you can apply our four CRM best practices, you need to consider your CRM implementation strategy to ensure that your sales reps are maximising the platform.

Ongoing training

Before you invest, it’s critical to understand if your CRM package includes tech support; otherwise, you’ll find that you may need to hire an external consultant to train your reps – which can be tricky, time-consuming and expensive. 

Data migration

CRM data migration can be a daunting task. However, it can be seamless when you have a clear plan of what you need to migrate and how it will be used in your new CRM. Furthermore, you should be wary of how you manipulate data once uploaded because all CRM’s use data in different ways. Overall, before migrating any data, it’s a good practice to clear out any out-of-date information; thus, you can start afresh.

Ensure employee buy-in

Above all, it’s critical to involve any employees who will be using the CRM in the discussion process. Why? Because their crucial insights will help you understand their needs and create a CRM that best suits your organisations’ workflow.

CRM best practices for organising prospecting information

1. What to track

Take some time to think about what kind of information you want to keep track of. The date of your last contact with a customer? Next contact? The date expected to close? Is there any supporting material you should be sending them? Any other special notes or comments? You can customize your CRM tool to track whatever information you choose.

2. Include your social selling information

Half of revenue is influenced by social selling in 14 common industries, including computer software, healthcare, and marketing and advertising. So while many companies are struggling to generate qualified leads, more and more are starting to understand how to achieve this through social selling. 

One way is to encourage buyers to share their contact information and start a relationship with sales reps. Capturing e-mail addresses from prospects helps to fill your sales funnel. You can do this through an opt-in page by offering and delivering something of value in exchange for their contact details. Another great tool to sell on social media is LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn, you can do a detailed search to find your prospects and message them by connecting with them or paying for ‘InMail’ messages.

Therefore, ultimately you can’t keep this information floating about separately – it’s just not helpful in that capacity. For this reason alone, you need to track your social interactions by using integration systems with your CRM. That way, you can easily track the profiles of your prospects and continue to build a strong relationship. 

3. Practice list segmentation

One of our favourite CRM best practices is list segmentation. By practising list segmentation, your prospects will receive a far more personalised experience, meaning that you’re far more likely to get that deal at the end of the process. Furthermore, you can segment by any criteria you want, whether by profitability, region, industry, profession, etc. Just ensure you link your CRM with your marketing automation software to segment your list of prospects.

4. Monitor customer conversations

Our final CRM best practice is to monitor customer conversations – why? Your customer support team are at the heart of customer questions and concerns. Therefore, your customer service team can use your CRM tool to quickly and seamlessly notify sales about customer conversations that they think can lead to up-sell, cross-sell or referrals opportunities.

Prefer to watch, rather than read? Learn how to organise prospecting information, right here in this video.

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