Any business that has seen a considerable amount of growth will tell you that for all its advantages, it did not come without the unavoidable growing pains. As your business grows, you will quickly discover that you need to find a better, more scalable way to engage with your clients to compensate for your growth or you will be heading for the graveyard.
But, how do you know when you're ready?
The bright side is that if you focus on a few clear signals, it can help in saving your company from a few of the pains. Adding a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to manage your growing company is a fantastic first step in building out more effective systems that grow with you.
Here are seven tell-tale indications that you have no need for a CRM:
1. You don't need a centralized source for details
Are you or your sales team using G-suite and spreadsheets for a sales process? Or even worse, post-it notes on your computer or stacks of business cards on your desk to monitor your sales leads, you just may need a CRM.
If you have several places where you keep your sales info, you are not alone. Research studies have shown that 61% of workers state that they need to search four or more systems to obtain client details.
CRM permits you to have one view for all information relating to your sales process. CRM will keep it in one central database that is upgraded in real time.
2. No need for accountability into the sales process
Even the most experienced sales reps can find themselves missing out on consultations or forgetting to follow up with potential customers without the proper systems in place. Without a central place to collect this information, your management team will be in the dark about these types of issues (that is up until they begin seeing it impact their sales numbers).
Don't let your business's sales leads fall through the cracks. CRM can provide you insight into every action of the sales process, keep salespeople accountable and provide valuable information about the attainability of your sales targets and objectives.
3. You love manual reporting
Manual reporting is time-consuming and not scalable. If you are investing a great deal of time producing manual reports and finding that it takes more time than it deserves, chances are you might benefit from some automation.
CRM can allow you to run adaptable reports based on the info that relates to your business in only a few actions. Automating this will provide you more time to concentrate on the most vital part of reporting, examining the data.
4. You don't care if you lose data
Keeping info outside of a central place can make it simple to lose valuable information that needs to be shared with your team.
One area where information loss can have a huge influence on your organization is through employee turnover. If you have a sales representative leave the company, and you do not have a CRM system, your leads could stroll right out the door with them. Having all of your lead's data in one place helps to guarantee they stay with the company, and not the outbound sales representative.
5. You want every customer to get a different experience
Your clients will expect you to understand their business needs as well as they do. They also have come to expect personalized service.
If your prospect/customers need to repeat themselves each time they call your organization, they will not feel much trust in your ability to take care of their needs.
Customer-facing staff members should have easy access to all prospect/customer details: previous calls, emails, conferences and other activities to inform their interactions.
Having the ability to individualize and tailor the sales process to the prospect's specific needs can likewise produce a much better relationship with that prospect.
A CRM system can offer you the ability to target potential customers based on their interests, needs, issues, location in the sales process, geography, industry and more. This will allow you to offer your salespeople the best chance to sell to these potential customers while giving your them a much better, more individualized experience.
6. If irregular sales processes don't drive you crazy
An inconsistent sales process is a trap that many companies find themselves in. If everyone on your sales team has their own process, with different messaging or follow-up timing, it becomes a bit of a mess.
A recent study by CSO Insights discovered that salespeople invest only 25-30% of their time selling, with the rest invested in busy administrative work. Systematizing your sales process can make it so that your sales team can focus on what brings in the business.
Now, let me caution you, this is not as clear cut as simply getting a CRM for this one. Naturally, creating a consistent sales process takes more effort than just implementing a CRM. However, to truly attain consistency, you will need everything CRM provides to automate your follow-up activities. You can also utilize CRM to house design templates and messaging for your sales team to send for preliminary follow-up.
7. You don't plan on scaling your business
It's safe to assume that your organization has an interest in growing and making money. If you are using excel sheets and post-it notes as your methods of organization, there is a definitive limit to the quantity that your business can grow. If you do not have an established procedure to look into your sales pipeline, how can you accurately evaluate your development strategy? A post-it note is not going to give you that insight.
Without this central system of sales information, you are in danger of not allocating appropriate resources to the proper places, making it hard to grow your company in a scalable, efficient method.
As you can see, I wrote this sarcastically, but I have come across people who are in this boat. It's probably true that if you are reading this article, you are on the lookout for a new CRM.
Check out my e-book "BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CRM" It will help you determine what exactly to look for when choosing one.
Are you are itching to get going now and want a step-by-step guide showing how I get appointments? Here is a course that teaches you to get leads and set up an email sequence that lands appointments. No fluff, follow my video and screenshots to get a campaign built and sent in one day from scratch. Have it forever and use it as an onboarding tool for new sales staff.
Helping small businesses find their way to sales email prospecting with CRM
We all understand how difficult it is to get started on a task when there's no guarantee of success and every possibility of failure. That's how prospecting can often feel, especially if you're using outdated sales tactics that drive buyers crazy.
We understand prospecting can appear overwhelming, and a string of unreturned calls and unanswered emails is frustrating, to say the least. So I've got your back.
The 3 Key Elements of Good Sales Prospecting Emails
Any great sales email design template needs to consist of the following:
1) Reason for connecting
This factor must be your way of gut-checking yourself. Is the reason for emailing your prospect engaging? Do they fit your perfect buyer persona? Are they just like a few of your most satisfied consumers in the past? Can you supply any value to this individual?
If not, do not reach out.
2) Reason for connecting right now
Just as crucial as to whether the prospect is a good fit is whether there's something that will help them to buy. If there's no sense of importance (what is their business pain, a trigger point, or an internal initiative), there's no need to buy. So don't just prospect businesses that suit the type and size you typically sell to. Is there a good reason you're reaching out today?
3) A call-to-action
Every touch point in the sales process must drive it forward. How rapidly the process moves depends on your prospect's buyer stage; however, you must never send out a "just checking in" e-mail that doesn't provide any value to your buyer.
Instead, make sure your email is helpful before asking your buyer for something.
5 Prospecting Templates You Can Start Using Today
Still stuck? Here are 5 prospecting e-mail templates (each referring a suitable trigger event or reason to connect) and a e-mail prospecting course.
1) Reference a company announcement (A)
congrats! have you thought about [business
Hey [first name],
Because I work so much with [your targeted industry], I constantly follow industry news. I’ve noticed that you recently [company action]. Congrats!
Usually when that happens, [business value] becomes a priority. That’s why I thought you might be interested in finding out how we helped [similar company] get going quickly in their new direction – without any of the typical glitches.
If you’d like to learn more, let’s set up a quick call. How does [specific day and time] look on your calendar?
2) Reference a company announcement (B)
your announcement this week
Your latest announcement this week about [news] got me thinking.
I found an article on [related topic] that may be useful to you as your company progresses.
Here’s the link to read it: [article link]
Are you currently working on improving [related business value]? I have some more insight to share that could be valuable.
Hope you find this article helpful.
3) Connect with a customer referral
[mutual connection] recommended we get in touch
Hi [first name],
[Mutual connection] recommended we get in touch. I work with [him/her] for a company called [company name] that does [X, Y, and Z].
In thinking about your role at [company}, I thought there might be a great fit for your
Our [product name] has been been extremely well-received in the marketplace and I think it’s something that might be helpful for you!
Does this sound aligned with your current priorities?
4) Provide useful advice
can we help you achieve [goal] too?
Hi [first name],
In working with other [job title]s, one of the key issues they’re struggling with is [key issue].
This past year we helped numerous companies to [business driver], resulting [money saved, revenue added, productivity increases].
A strategy we’ve seen a lot of success with is [key strategy]. Based on what I know about your business, here are a few ways you could put that strategy into action:
All the best,
5) Respond to a social media post with advice
Ideas for [business value]
Hey [first name],
I saw that you recently posted a question on LinkedIn about how to achieve [business value] for your company.
How, if at all, would you like to improve your strategy? I’ve found that [solution] has been successful for others. Here’s a few examples of what other companies I’ve worked with in the past have done that might be helpful to you:
These should help you get started. All my best performing emails started from these templates and more like them. Use them and continue to tweak them until you get what you need. There is never a perfect email, but when you get close, they are like gold.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
If you're not sure how to implement these templates in your CRM, take a look at my CRM Beginner's Guide
InBound Marketer and Consultant
“Customer relationship management” can sound intimidating to small- and mid-sized businesses. After all, if your company only has a handful of customers, why do you need a dedicated process or system to keep track of them? A few spreadsheets and rules of thumb will do just fine.
But what happens when business starts to boom? At some point, the organization will need to implement a customer contact management system that’s more organized and streamlined than a mass of spreadsheets. And such a migration could be painful if the decision has been put off a few too many months, or even years.
At its core, a CRM is not just useful to large enterprise companies -- it’s essential for businesses of all sizes.
But don’t just take our word for it. Did you know that 75% of sales managers say that using a CRM helps to drive and increase sales? Or that CRM systems improve customer retention by 27%?
It’s hard to argue with numbers like that.
So, let’s start at the beginning … What is a CRM?
CRM stand for customer relationship management, and it refers to software that helps companies track interactions with their future and current customers.
The goal of implementing a CRM is to create a system that your sales and marketing teams can use to more efficiently and effectively interact with prospects or customers.
Marketing will often use a CRM to ensure that they’re passing the right leads to their sales team -- a key aspect of developing a strong relationship with the sales team.
Salespeople utilize the CRM in a different way. They use it to source prospective customers, communicate with them, and track their interactions over time. Having the entire prospect history in one place increases their efficiency and improves their productivity. For instance, salespeople using a CRM won’t have to hunt through their email to remember where a conversation left off.
Which companies use a CRM?
The short answer is that any company who seeks to maintain a relationship with their customers can benefit from using a CRM system. To get a little bit more specific, there are two groups of companies that often see the most benefit:
B2B companies that typically need to track leads and customers across long sales cycles and through upgrade paths (e.g., a software company, a recruiting firm)
Considered purchase B2C companies (e.g., a jeweler, a landscaping service, or a realtor.)
That being said, there are a lot of companies who don’t fit the above two profiles, but still find value in using a CRM system. Another way to understand whether or not a CRM system can help your business is to think about the challenges that CRM systems aim to solve:
Do you have a need for maintaining a central list of information on your leads and customers?
Does this information live in many different places?
Are your customers regularly interfacing with multiple people on your team?
How does everyone keep track of where the conversation with any one customer left off?
Do you struggle to understand the productivity of your sales team?
Does your sales team follow a structured process?
If you answered yes to any one or more of the above questions, chances are your business could benefit from a CRM system.
4 Benefits of a CRM
There are many things a CRM can do that should get marketers, salespeople, or business owners pretty excited! Here’s how a CRM can make you a more effective marketing and sales machine...
1. Better Lead Intelligence for Both Marketing and Sales
Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew when a potential customer was looking at your website? Implementing a CRM will allow your sales team to know how many times potential customers have visited your site or if they have ever talked to a member of your sales team.
When a salesperson works within a CRM that integrates with their company’s marketing software, they’re able to access this type of detailed, real-time lead intelligence all from one place.
And this isn’t just beneficial to sales; it’s beneficial to marketing as well. A CRM will allow your marketing team to see which leads turn into customers. More specifically, you can see what brought them to your website and what pages they looked at before becoming a customer.
When a marketer works in a marketing platform that is integrated with a CRM, they are able to figure out which of their efforts are working best.
2. Better Sales and Marketing (Smarketing) Alignment
Sales and marketing both have numbers they need to hit each month, and when both teams have visibility into one another metrics they can easily assess each team’s progress and identify and remedy problems early on in the month.
Real-time reporting holds both teams accountable to their goals and helps one another work together toward shared outcomes. (It’s also worth noting that CRMs are used for customers, too, not just leads; so customer service communications and metrics can be easily documented for account managers to reference as well.)
3. Help Sales Prioritize its Pipeline
A CRM not only gives complete visibility into the sales pipeline, but it also helps sales people prioritize who to call first so they don’t miss important opportunities. When sales and marketing set up a CRM, they can identify important criteria and even implement a lead scoring system. Organizational systems like these reduce time spent sifting through leads, and enable salespeople to prioritize the best opportunities.
4. Closed-Loop Reporting Lets Marketers Improve Campaigns
When you integrate marketing software with your CRM, marketing can easily analyze the effectiveness of its campaigns using closed-loop reporting. For example, when a salesperson converts a lead into a paying customer, he or she can mark it in the CRM, and it will automatically be noted in your marketing software, too.
This allows marketing to do two important things. First, marketing can automatically remove this lead for their nurturing sequences, and instead send it customer-focused information. Secondly, marketing is now able to attribute this new customer to a specific campaign and channel. Mapping marketing activities to sales events is critical for marketing to improve future campaigns.
9 Must-Have CRM Features
Before all else, a CRM system should be useful to its end users: salespeople, sales managers, marketers, and business leaders. CRM systems have a range of functionalities, but these nine features are must-haves for any business that is aiming to organize their systems and improve their efficiency.
1. Contact Management
You won’t find a CRM that doesn’t have a contact management capability. If you do, chances are you aren’t looking at a CRM. All CRM systems allow salespeople to create contact records and store prospect and customer information in a database. However, the best systems that truly improve efficiency will reduce and streamline contact data entry as much as possible.
Judge this feature with ease of use in mind.
2. Deal Stages
Most CRM systems can be customized to operate on a specific sales process. Whether your company has three deal stages or 15, you should be able to program these levels into the software and attach associated values.
It should also be easy to move a deal along the sales process, from one stage to the next. In HubSpot CRM, advancing a deal is as simple as dragging and dropping:
Make sure the system you are using can be customized to your needs with ease.
3. Daily Dashboard
Sales people need visibility into a number of metrics on a daily basis. Metrics such as their progress to date against quota, how many deals they have in their pipelines at which stages, and what outstanding tasks they need to complete. Similarly, sales managers and leaders need to be able to view these categories for the aggregated sales team.
Evaluate this function based on visual appeal and simplicity.
4. Task Management
A sales person who has to toggle back and forth between several different systems to view and complete their daily tasks is not a happy person (though this is common). CRM systems that include task management capabilities streamline salespeople’s day-to-day workflow and help them keep on top of their follow up.
5. Content Repository
According to Docurated’s State of Sales Productivity 2015 study, salespeople spend 31% of their time hunting for or creating content. To cut back on wasted time searching for content, look for a CRM system with an embedded content repository. Look for a system that allows salespeople to save their go-to pieces of collateral in one place. And it’s not just collateral. Writing email copy can be another time suck for a busy sales person. Look for a system that also allows the user to file away customized email templates, so the sales rep is not reinventing the wheel with every new outreach.
6. Automated Data Capture
One of the primary reasons companies decide to adopt a CRM is to keep better track of customer and prospect touches (emails, calls, etc). But, beware: Many CRM applications require salespeople to copy and paste their email outreach into the system or even upload call recordings.
These extra steps can be maddening for salespeople who are making 50 or 100 calls every single day, and it leaves room for human error. Look for a software that does this step automatically. HubSpot CRM automatically logs calls made and emails sent, and posts them in a timeline-like view on a contact’s record page:
A CRM system is only as good as the insights it provides. Be sure that your CRM provides reporting features that make it easy to export and distribute the trends that the system reveals.
Sales reps have seen productivity increased by 15% when they had mobile access to CRM applications. Tying reps to a CRM system that can only be accessed via laptop is bound to annoy them, especially if they’re in a role that requires travel. The majority of CRM systems today allow salespeople to log on to the application from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones -- make sure the ones you’re considering do as well.
9. Integration with Marketing Automation
And last but not least, integration between your marketing and sales platform is crucial. After all, the underlying concept of “customer relationship management” is to provide a complete lifecycle view into each prospect and client. A gap between marketing automation and CRM can lead to lost information and lost opportunities.
To reap the full benefits of a CRM, you have to choose one with the features that are right for your business today and that can grow with you as your business evolves. Think about your company’s growth goals, and consider both your short-term and long-term needs when investing in a CRM platform. Keep in mind, a CRM is not only a financial investment, it is also a time investment for your sales and marketing organization. Picking the right system, implementing it, and enforcing best practices around it’s usage will pay dividends as your company continues to grow and scale.
Do you want a step-by-step guide showing how I get appointments? Here is a course that teaches you to get leads and set up an email sequence that lands appointments. No fluff, follow my video and screenshots to get a campaign built and sent in one day from scratch. Have it forever and use it as an onboarding tool for new sales staff.
Turning great business operators into Great Business Development Managers
Like most of my friends here on LinkedIn, I've gone back and forth on the quantity versus quality of my connections. Is it good to be connected to many people I don't know or a few people I know well? As I venture into my new career in a new industry, I am wondering if I should bring out the ax.
At the beginning, I was like most. I was looking for a job and this was my online resume. Later I thought maybe I should shed some not so connected connections and keep it to people that I have actually met in person. The last year as a Financial Advisor, I used LinkedIn to find associations to people I wanted to meet. I also used it as a news feed and to spread the word on my favorite charities. I don't think this will change much in my new field, but I do realize my 600+ connections are weak.
So what do I do? I figured more was better until recently I heard a webinar from The Oechsli Institute. They have some great ideas as well as a process that works. On the subject of quality versus quantity, they simplified it to this. If your connection wouldn't take a phone call from you, delete them. This isn't a popularity site, it's a professional business site.
If you're reading this, you might just get a phone call from me in the next couple months. Hopefully, you will take my call and we find out that we can add value to each other's network, but if not, you may be on the chopping block!