In this seventh blog of our 10 part series on Top Tips for Progressing Your Sales Leads, our VP Sales, John Macleod explores the next step in maximising the returns from your marketing efforts, and progressing ‘sales ready leads’ through the sales pipeline. The seventh step: Update CRM.
Now that the lead is firmly in the hands of the salesperson, it is important that the progress made and actions agreed are updated in a central CRM database. Most people working in sales will wait for a significant change in the opportunity before updating the record, such as a change in the stage, forecast date or value. However if you want your leads to stand the best chance of progressing, updating the record with every detail will help take a far more disciplined approach to ensuring that the lead reaches is maximum potential.
So who benefits from a regularly updated CRM relating to each lead?
The marketing team have often gone to great lengths to generate the lead in the first place, and to have visibility of the progress the lead is making is of great importance to fine tuning marketing campaigns going forward. Many marketing departments work with a specialist outsourcer; as part of this relationship they are often in regular communication and are required to give feedback on progress, in case any further actions are required. If they log in to CRM to view a lead that was meant to be engaged with by now and see no information, it makes it very difficult to manage campaigns and outsourced relationships effectively.
Sales management also has an invested interest in ensuring this process is followed. If you manage a sales team and spend most of your time chasing your team for information so you can find out where leads and opportunities are in the sales cycle, not only does this waste your time, it wastes the sales consultant’s time also. Both resources are far more valuable in managing and progressing sales cases. By implementing and managing a rigorous process for regularly updating CRM, it gives instant visibility as to the stage of every lead, and time is spent much more effectively by focusing discussions on the opportunities that need attention now, to influence a deal being closed or progressed to the right stage.
The benefit to updating CRM systems doesn’t just sit with marketing and management, the Sales Consultant themselves experience a huge amount of value in keeping an up to date, detailed account of every lead in CRM. Think back to the preparation that has already been done up to this point as you read the lead and research the lead. All the information identified in this process is of significant value as your progress through the sales cycle. The likelihood is that you will forget some, if not most of this information if you don’t have it documented in a central CRM. The ability to call upon this information at any point in time could make the difference to being selected by the prospect, or not! Not only that, by reducing the time spent by marketing and management in chasing sales for updates, you are enabling even more leads to be generated for you by marketing, and more valuable inputs received from your management.
Last, but never least – the ultimate gain rests with the customer. A customer who is undertaking the timely, and costly process of selecting a new solution/service provider, is often forced to engage with less than competent sales reps and time wasters. DON’T BE ONE OF THEM. Demonstrate value to the customer by showing them that you have done your research, followed a meticulous process, have their interests at heart, and have considered the best possible solution to their needs. By being in the mind set and practice of documenting every detail and step of the sales cycle in CRM, you are always thinking of what else you can do to progress this case one step further, add another layer of value, and ultimately take a prospect on a journey to becoming a delighted customer.
Stay tuned for our next blog in this series of 10 top tips for maximising marketing leads through sales.
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