It seems like everywhere you look CRMs like Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft, Hubspot, Sentia all espouse the benefits of CRM, but for those of us who don’t already use a CRM how do you know when it’s time to start evaluating them?
The following are five signs that it’s likely time to get organized and start benefiting from a CRM system.
1. Your Prospect & Contact lists aren’t easily accessible
If your prospects and contact lists are in spreadsheets, business cards, an old rolodex, mobile phone and social media accounts – it’s likely that you are missing opportunities. The good news all of those prospect and contact lists can be imported into one location into a CRM.
2. You are using too many different programs to communicate with your Prospects, Leads and accounts
How are you communicating with your prospects or leads?
If you’re flipping through multiple apps, inboxes, programs and social media without keeping track of each interaction – that’s a sign that you’re likely missing customer sales opportunities. If your marketing team stores prospects in one program and sales in excel spreadsheets or another that’s another red flag.
Everybody in your organization that has a touch point with a potential customer or an account needs to know what is going on. It’s important that you track and know what your social media interactions are with your prospect as well as your inbox.
Some prospects have multiple email addresses and buyers associated with each potential sale. Your CRM should give you a unified view of the entire account and easily show you the contact history with each prospect. On an prospect or account record, your CRM should be tracking your prospect / account interactions, monitor when they were last contacted, who on your team reached out to them, what kind of interaction took place such as an email exchange, social encounter, phone call conversation, or meet up. All of this is relevant in the sales cycle and important to know prior to communicating with prospects or accounts.
3. Marketing went to a tradeshow but sales isn’t following up with new Leads
It’s always amazing to me how much money is spent on trade shows and how little is invested in the follow up to utilize these expensive leads. At every single event any marketing or sales person should be gaining new prospects or communicating with current customers. Those interactions are CRM gold and need to be tracked in order to know which events are worth investing in, in the future.
Another red flag occurs when you have paid for a booth have a stack of business cards and marketing fails to follow up in a timely manner with sales. Sales will tell marketing they were given crap leads and marketing will say you didn’t follow up.
Finger pointing solves nothing but distrust in the process and team members. By putting every prospect or lead in your CRM at the show or within 24 hours and assigning it to a sales person everyone is accountable and value assigned. The system should alert the sales person that they need to act on the lead, then if they don’t reminders should help the sales person stay on track.
Most importantly you now have a direct measurement of the prospect interaction and a more accurate assessment of the event value for both marketing and sales to evaluate going forward. Both marketing and sales know what is happening and there is less guess work worrying whether or not your other half is doing their job, letting them focus on getting the sale.
4. Sales Team keeps Getting Bigger, Growing Fast
One of the good things when your company is growing fast is that you can hire new people and really accelerate the sales process. The challenge is that often new employees receive verbal or written exchanges and that knowledge never gets stored for other employees to see, access and understand even if no one is there to ask in person.
A great CRM will allow you to connect all of your team members in one place and ensure that everyone is acting with the same prospect/account information.
This will allow each team member to do their designated job well because they know what is going on with their account just by looking into their CRM. They can easily find that email address or phone number and begin adding to the account’s value by their interaction and showing the rest of their team they are doing their job.
It also saves enormous amounts of time for both new and old employees as the information is easily accessible 24/7. Management will be happier because they can easily see who is following through and working their accounts properly. This allows managers to quickly jump in and help an account before it goes sideways and helps sales & marketing teams show management what they have done to add value to the account so there are no month end surprises.
There is nothing worse for management or a sales person when the sales person is doing everything right, but the result isn’t coming in. When management can look at their CRM and see that they are accountable and doing everything they should be, then the conversation can revolve around what can we do differently rather than should we terminate our sales employee. This is a huge deal in sales as anyone in the business knows.
5. Customer Support – We Need to Deliver
We have all been on those calls where you call the company that you purchase from and they say – “I don’t see that record in your account or I don’t see that you contacted us, your warranty is no longer valid.”
Feel the angst and frustration building?
Yep, we have all been there but it’s not necessary with your CRM, especially when everyone is contributing and that interaction is visible to all.Your CRM should not only collect contacts, unify inboxes, calendars and track sales it should strengthen that customer relationship because everyone on your team is on the same page and knows what is going on with that client, what is important to keep that relationship growing.
If this sounds like your organization its likely time to look into a CRM system that matches what your team is doing and can support all of the activities we noted above. Don’t forget to review your sales process first. If you’re process isn’t working well no CRM will save you. Get your sales process properly mapped (assuming its working well) then find the CRM system that requires the least amount of change to support your process.
That’s the winning formula to CRM success!
David is a Director at Sentia, a next generation sales enablement technology company. Dave’s passion for helping people with their sales, marketing, business strategy, startup growth and strategic planning has taken him across the globe and spans numerous industries. You can follow him on Twitter @intlmktentry LinkedIn or on Sentia Says