Mention the prospect of a CRM system to a sales team that is not automated and your suggestion may not be greeted with excitement.
In fact, some sales representatives believe that the primary purpose of CRM is to enhance sales management functions such as performance reporting and forecasting, and that it does little to make the day-to-day activities of the sales force easier and more effective.
Others may perceive CRM to be too complicated and fear that the system will add a new layer of complexity to their jobs. Or, they may fear that the tracking of their activities will reveal inadequacies.
But, for many businesses, CRM has clearly demonstrated its ability to provide immediate value to the sales force by improving their ability to sell and significantly increasing their success rates. In fact, a recent survey conducted by research firm CSO Insights found that almost 72 percent of firms surveyed indicated that CRM was having a positive effect on sales force performance.
CRM can benefit the members of your sales force in five key ways:
Almost every sales force is burdened with numerous routine, cumbersome, manual procedures that can disrupt sales cycles and interfere with actual selling time.
A CRM solution can streamline and automate pricing, order processing, and other administrative tasks, so reps can focus their efforts on those activities that directly impact revenues and profits and spend more time working with potential customers.
CRM solutions provide highly-interactive analytical tools that empower a sales force with valuable, timely, and accurate insight into buyer interests and needs. This allows reps to have better, more productive conversations with their prospects so they can build stronger, more personalized relationships with buyers – which can help shorten sales cycles, increase the number of deals closed, and boost revenue-per-sale.
With a CRM solution, a company can identify the activities that are most likely to result in sales success and use that knowledge to implement and share a best practices methodology across their entire sales force.
Sales reps can gain insight into proven processes and receive step-by-step guidance throughout the sales cycle. So, new members of the sales force can get up to speed faster and more seasoned reps have the tools and intelligence they need to close more deals.
CRM systems can help close the communication loop between the sales force and sales management, as well as the support teams who will service the customer after the deal is closed.
This ability to share critical, time-sensitive information about a sale in progress (for example, a rep may need to request approval from a manager before they can offer a discount to a prospective buyer) can help make the entire end-to-end sales cycle more efficient and help the sales force close deals – and earn their commissions – faster.
A CRM solution can reduce sales costs by increasing the accuracy and effectiveness of related processes. For example, when the dollar value and product mix of deals are forecasted more precisely, inventory costs can be dramatically reduced.
Additionally CRM can minimize order errors, saving the sales force significant amounts of time by reducing the need to re-process incorrect orders and eliminating the costs associated with replacing incorrect items that have been shipped to customers.
By conveying the key CRM benefits to your sales force, you can help them realize the tremendous value the solution can provide them and help increase adoption and usage rates.
With the advent of several hosted CRM system options, the CRM benefits can be enjoyed by sales teams of all sizes.
Hosted CRM, also known as on-demand CRM, provides a simpler, faster, and more affordable way for businesses to take advantage of CRM benefits. With hosted CRM, all hardware and software components are purchased, installed, tested, and maintained by a third-party hosting provider at a remote site. The hosting service provider also stores and manages all customer-related data. Companies need nothing more than a standard Web browser to access and utilize the CRM application and its features.
You can learn more about hosted CRM in our report, “The Top 15 Hosted CRM Vendors Revealed“.
[Photo courtesy of Econsultancy.]