If you want to control your sales process, CRM is a must. Even if you have implemented CRM and cannot explain why you’re losing deals or what was your conversion “to demo” for salesman A in the main target group then probably you didn’t do it right. It means there are plenty of things which could go better if you set your CRM correctly. A wrong picture of sales costs money and time moreover, you miss business opportunities. To avoid it you should follow a couple of important rules.
Too many pipelines
It is challenging to gather relevant data and have a clear outlook of your sales when your CRM has too many pipelines. To separate companies with whom you deal two pipelines can be enough – leads and client service. If you have a dozen of leads each week then you can differentiate them for instance by their source (for example introducing 3 new business pipelines: inbound leads pipeline, referrals pipeline and outbound leads pipeline).
At first, it is better to use a custom field instead of creating a new pipeline. The more companies you have in each pipeline the more accurate sales metrics you will get. If you have more than 2 pipelines in your CRM then you should consider if all of them are necessary. You can always differentiate leads by custom fields.
Too many stages in each pipeline
Each stage should correspond with an important event in a relationship with your lead. Usually, the most important events are the first interest, meeting, sending an agreement. It means 3 stages should be enough.
Enough, unless your conversion to lead -> demo isn’t almost 100% or preparing a crafted offer is time-consuming. Then you can create 4-5 stages.
Events like a follow-up, call or sending additional information can and should be noted by managing activities within those stages.
You don’t use custom fields
Knowledge about your efficiency in particular target groups will help you understand where you should devote your resources. If it turns out that you rarely acquire new clients from Italy then you will know that you haven’t found a market fit there yet or you should withdraw from this country and focus on more profitable regions. To have that knowledge you have to measure with whom you speak. Tracking data like geography, industry, size of the company, and a lead source will result in the precise outlook of your sales – where your efforts are successful and where not. You need to cut losses on unsuccessful client segments and double down on where you are succeeding.
You don’t care about won / lost / activities
There are 3 kinds of leads: those which become your client, those you don’t want to be your clients or you lost contact with them. The rest are “open leads” and each open lead should have assigned activity with an accountable person and moment when should be done. The more you ignore won/lost buttons and activities the more time you lose on finding out what is going on in your sales. CRM will be helpful for you only when you keep your pipelines clear.
You don’t analyze
Having data in CRM and not analyzing it is a huge wasted potential. Managing your sales based only on feelings, opinions and impressions can be misleading. Each important decision you should start from looking at sales metrics in CRM: conversions, conversions in industries, countries, different size companies or personal efficiency of salespeople etc. Otherwise, your judgment can be influenced by the most remembered leads, loudest and most opinionated salespeople. Please note that impressions and your team mates’ feedback are extremely relevant but you should compare them with figures whenever possible.
Tidiness in CRM will result in a clear outlook of sales at your company. It means that each invested euro (and each working hour) will be used more consciously. With great awareness you and your employee can focus only on things which are relevant without time wasted on unnecessary tasks. Filling CRM doesn’t seem like the most interesting activity in the world but the feeling how much knowledge about your clients was lost is worse.