Yes, You Need a CRM System
You’re probably wondering why we’ve never written about CRM’s before.
It’s right there on our homepage: “Process and tech are the keys to repeatable sales results.”
The tech in question, of course, is your CRM.
But because we’ve been using them for so long, we always assume that our clients (and every other sales team out there) already know about and use them. They’re just maybe not utilizing them as well as they could, or they need help making it work for them.
That assumption is wrong.
Too often, we talk to salespeople, managers, or business owners that have never used one before, don’t think they need one, or don’t even know what they are. Sometimes all of the above.
So before we get into why you absolutely should have one for your business or yourself, let’s first figure out what it is.
CRM stands for customer relationship management. It is a tracking tool used to manage a company’s planned and actual interactions with current and potential clients.
And no, making notes in a spreadsheet is not a stand-in for a CRM.
Most salespeople refer to CRM as the software solution they use to track their clients. In other words, as a salesperson, CRM is a way to outsource your brain.
I know what some of you are saying, “I don’t need CRM software, I have a mental steel trap, and I am killing it. No one needs to see anything about my potential clients.” You are wrong, on at least two of those points. And you may be killing it now, but things will start to fall apart for you or your business if you don’t start integrating and tracking some data.
If you are not logging your interactions and noting your next steps, you are letting stuff fall through the cracks. It may only be little things, and it might be happening infrequently, but it’ll start to add up if you keep letting it happen.
I am willing to bet that you have forgotten to send an email, failed to ask an important qualifying question, or missed a crucial follow-up. It happens to everybody.
Well, it happens to everybody before they start using a CRM. (Not that CRMs will solve all your problems, but it’s close.)
CRMs aren’t just for you, the salesperson, either. They help your company forecast for the future. It helps in training new salespeople about what their expectations are and what process they should use.
And even if your deals don’t close, it helps them see that you’re putting in the work and following the process.
See, CRMs and quotas are two very different things. A quota is just a certain amount deals closed or money made that you’re expected to hit every month, quarter, or year.
But your CRM tracks everything you’re doing to reach that number, and it lets you know if you’re on the right track. Or why you might fail. If you have a system for working both cold and warm leads, which you should, then you need to be able to keep up with where each prospect is in the sales process.
This practice highlights exactly how long your average sales cycle is, from the first contact with a prospect to fulfillment. When both you and your sales manager know that length of time, realistic expectations are easier to set.
Everything starts with a process.
Mapping out every detail about what should happen from finding and identifying a lead to fulfilling the closed deal will help your business run more smoothly and help your sales team create more success.
On top of that, when your process is clearly outlined, then you can document where deals or parts of the process fall off.
And this is where your CRM really comes in handy.
You’ve got your process on paper, and you’ve incorporated it into your CRM. Now you can pinpoint the pieces of the puzzle that are still missing for more sales or a smoother process.
For example, if you’re consistently missing a qualifying question, such as asking if anybody else is involved in the decision-making process, you’ll start to notice a trend pretty quickly when several deals have fallen through because the “partner wants to go a different way.”
Once you’ve noticed that, you’re able to go back, rethink your process, and add additional steps that will close this gap.
Yes, change is hard. Incorporating a new system takes a little time at first. And then you have to build the habit of using the system, which can be challenging for a bit. But the benefits, both financial and mental, far outweigh the initial time spent setting it up.
You’ll see more sales, and you and your team will have less stress when everything is documented for everybody to see. No more steps falling in the cracks, no more angry emails from prospects waiting on an answer, and no more sales managers berating you for not working hard enough to hit your quota.
And yes, some companies use inefficient proprietary CRMs that don’t seem to add a lot of value to your sales process. It just seems like another box the company is forcing you to check.
If you’re in that situation, talk to your sales manager. There are endless CRM choices right now. Working with a CRM consultant, (like me, hint hint), can help your business find the right one for your needs.
The majority of the most successful salespeople, if not all, use a CRM. Nobody should be expected to remember every single step in the process, every time for every prospect, without something to help keep them accountable.
If you’d like to know more about how using a CRM tool will help you hit quota easier and close more deals, reach out. Let’s chat.