Sales managers can't remember critical information about every single customer. There are too many fast-moving details, real-time changes, and interpersonal relationships for that level of manual insight. Even with a team full of hard-working, well-trained salespeople, an opaque sales pipeline and book of business is nothing but a business liability.
That's where a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) comes into play. A CRM is an online tool that operates as a single source of truth about customer details, sales history, and all the details businesses need to know about accounts. According to Aberdeen Group, "Effective sales organizations are 81% more likely to be practicing consistent usage of a CRM or other system of record."
These tools are so business-critical that improving their CRM sales funnel is a priority for 48% of businesses. While startups and small businesses may try to make do with Excel spreadsheets or even paper notes, technology is the better option. Second-stage companies and growing businesses benefit from online CRMs with predictive tools, data analytics, and everything in between.
Moreover, the right CRM is crucial for sales managers to master in order to optimize their sales. In this guide, we'll discuss how CRMs can have the biggest impact on your sales team's performance and how to find the right fit.
Why Leverage a CRM?
CRMs ultimately give you better insight into your customers and the relationships your business has with them. This is a broad claim to make, but having the right tools to effectively track and manage customer relationships is essential for building trust. That trust, according to 83% of sales professionals, is business-critical, especially in a post-pandemic world. With a robust CRM tool, sales managers can help their team:
- Build a detailed source of information about the client and client relationship
- Understand each client's business, objectives, and needs
- Identify and prioritize leads that are likely to convert or make additional purchases
- Create excellent customer experiences at every touchpoint by accessing contact details, past notes, and key dates
- Score leads and existing customers through in-platform lead scoring tools, customer health metrics, and more
- Use AI-based insights to reach out to prospects indicating a high level of interest
- More efficiently complete opportunities and deals
- Monitor in-progress opportunities
- Identify Customer Success Qualified Leads (CSQLs) for additional sales opportunities to retain and grow existing clients
Not only can CRMs provide support for all of these additional actions, but they can also do a lot of the work automatically and in the background. In fact, CRMs can take on approximately 80% of sales tasks so salespeople can focus on more dynamic tasks and strengthen client relationships.
Choosing the Best CRM Option for Your Business
There are a lot of CRMs on the market, and finding the right one for your specific business needs is crucial — both for immediate employee buy-in and for long-term success.
The Process Recommended by HubSpot
HubSpot, one of the leading providers of CRMs and business solutions, recommends following these steps to find and implement your CRM:
- Identify the key value areas of a CRM in your business
- Research and test different CRMs
- Provide training and onboarding
- Give salespeople resources so they can immediately use the CRM
- Incentivize CRM adoption and collaboration
Because a CRM will feature prominently in your company's tech stack, it's important to select a tool that integrates well with your other software and work processes, including email, marketing tools, financial tools, and more. Similarly, it's vital to choose a CRM that you can customize so you adjust it to fit your business rather than making your business fit the CRM.
How a CRM Empowers Sales Managers
A CRM may seem like it's primarily useful for salespeople and account managers who are in the trenches, but it's not just for them. Sales managers gain a substantial amount of insight into their team's operations and the health of each client account simply by implementing and engaging with a CRM. Some of the core use cases and benefits sales managers see include:
Reduction of Friction
The sales process has multiple stages involving a lot of different active participants with different incentives and goals. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) move from contact with the marketing team to a salesperson. That salesperson builds a relationship, more clearly identifies the lead's unique needs, and creates a deal that may or may not need approval from sales managers and different department heads.
All of these moving parts can create a lot of friction, especially if you don't know where the lead is in the pipeline at any given time. CRMs help provide total transparency about the lead and who (if anyone) has pending action items.
Increasing Employee Productivity
Managers can also use CRMs to track employee progress towards defined goals, ensure tasks aren't left pending for too long, and identify opportunities for training or process improvement.
Sales managers don't just have to meet revenue goals, after all; you're also responsible for training and managing sales operation specialists so they provide consistent, high-quality services that reliably convert leads. With a CRM, you have more insight into process lags, opportunities for higher productivity, and ways to grow the business.
Define the Sales Process
A consistent sales process is key to strong revenue growth. Instead of creating static workflow documents that salespeople refer to, you can build out your CRM so it follows the process automatically.
Build out a system of triggers, automated workflows, and required fields that have clients flowing seamlessly from one stage to the next, with no chance for them to fall into gaps. As your sales process grows and evolves over time, you can refine those workflows so they match your business's ever-changing needs.
Use Dashboards for Efficient Monitoring
Dashboards provide surface-level insight into all of the accounts your salespeople are working on, which is exactly what you need when you're managing a busy team but want to be sure nothing falls through the cracks. Your dashboard can identify at-risk accounts, the stages of in-progress deals, and your progress towards monthly, quarterly, and annual revenue goals.
Whether you use a dashboard as a quick monitoring tool to start your day or you personalize it to monitor seasonal projects, a dashboard ensures you have a working understanding of how your team is operating and performing while you focus on specific projects.
Create Custom Reports that Provide Value
CRMs don't just collect and hold data. These tools can also break down the data and organize it into reports. Some of the most valuable reports you can create — and schedule for automatic delivery at set intervals — include:
- Upcoming renewal opportunities
- Accounts that are at-risk
- Deals that have lagged behind expected times
- Key and strategic accounts
Scaling Your Business with A CRM
The right CRM is the lynchpin in your revenue tech stack. By investing in technology that can hold and organize data, automate workflows across multiple teams, and provide insight to stakeholders within the company, you're making your pipeline more transparent and robust. CRMs can help your team close more deals more efficiently (both in terms of time and money) and proactively provide customer-centric service that's personalized, timely, and valuable.
House of Revenue is Here to Help
CRMs help both you and your sales team professionals throughout day-to-day operations and large-scale business decisions. House of Revenue is an official HubSpot Implementation Partner, and we can help you start off your CRM implementation on the right foot. Contact us today to learn more about how to take the next step and switch to a CRM built for your business.