Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are digital platforms that enable businesses to manage their contacts. Customer and prospect details are stored and tracked within a CRM, and data is gathered that sales teams use to inform their strategy and make more sales.
An effective CRM system is the backbone of your sales process
Your CRM is there to record communications with contacts and prompt your sales team to take action at the opportune moment. For small to medium businesses, this is a vital resource. Without a large brand name to fall back on, you can’t afford to sit and wait for new customers to find you. Your CRM allows you to build up a base of leads, with a defined process for nurturing them over time.
What should a sales CRM system add to your business?
Put simply, a sales CRM provides your team with a structure for making successful sales. It gives them visibility of the activity required of them, plus access to the relevant supporting information. It flags opportunities and allows your team to prioritise leads effectively in order to win more business.
This structured approach to selling is time-efficient for your salespeople and has a higher success rate. It’s also a secure way to manage your contact base, all from one place. This means that if your best sales person suddenly walks out the door, they don’t take all your customers and prospects with them!
Building an effective sales CRM system
– the common pitfalls
In our work helping SMEs to improve their sales processes, investing in a CRM is one of the key suggestions we make. And over the years, we’ve seen many successful integrations of CRM systems. But we’ve also seen our fair share of errors too…
But don’t worry! It is completely achievable to design a robust system that works for you. To help, we’ve outlined the mistakes SMEs most commonly make when designing their sales CRM, so you can avoid making them too.
Mistake #1: Failing to consult the end-users
You can invest in the most advanced CRM on the market and adapt it to do all sorts of clever things. But, if you haven’t got the support of your team, they simply aren’t going to use it. To avoid this, scope out the project alongside the end-users.
Involve them by gathering their ideas and feedback. And if your team are resistant to the idea at first, sell it to them by educating them on the benefits of an effective CRM system. Tell people about all the ways it will make their lives easier! Spending this time initially making sure your team is on-board will massively increase the likelihood of your business adapting to the chosen platform.
Mistake #2: Not investing in proper training
Using a CRM isn’t rocket science. But it does take some understanding of the product’s interface and functions to get full value.
It’s a fact of life that some of us are more technically capable than others. And you shouldn’t assume that your team are going to take to the new system like ducks to water.
Instead, invest in proper training and create easy-to-follow user guides. This will mean your team feel equipped to use the platform properly and don’t feel alienated by it. It also means no one has an excuse not to be using it as they should be!
Mistake #3: No clear guidance on how it should/ shouldn’t be used
CRM systems need to be fed clean, up-to-date data that’s handled consistently. It’s important that you set rules and guidelines regarding how you expect data to be inputted and managed within the platform.
For instance, if you regularly get in-bound phone enquiries, make it clear these are to be added into your CRM and state which fields should be filled out when they’re added. Without consistency in the way people use the system, contacts or key information will end up slipping through the net. Initial set up is so important, as all activity follows on from it.
Mistake #4: Leaving gaps that allow users to cut corners
The beauty of a sales CRM is you can limit user error. If someone’s writing down information on a post-it, they only record what they think is important in that moment. But, if you set data input rules, you can prompt them to ask specific questions and avoid human error.
For instance, if you know a sales person needs information like job role and the last date of contact in order to follow up, stipulate these as a required fields. This means that no one can update the contact without the correct information present and correct.
Rich data is what makes a sales CRM tick. Think about what information is crucial and avoid leaving gaps that allow users skip fields. This will keep your data accurate and actionable.
Mistake #5: Not creating a development plan
The best sales CRM’s grow with your business. You should think about how you want to use your CRM in the future, at the point of scoping it out. Without doing so, you might find you hit a developmental brick wall when you come to amend your platform down the line.
The best approach is to write a plan for what features you’d like to add in the future. Assign an employee to be your CRM champion and make sure your team feel able to suggest activity that could be built into it. This way, your CRM will become a valuable asset to the whole business.
We hope this has provided a useful starting point. If you’re exploring the idea of investing in a sales CRM system for your business, why not talk to us? We help clients create and implement sales effective processes that increase their conversion rates and boost sales. You can get in touch by calling 0113 394 4559 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.