According to Gartner, the CRM market will reach $36 billion by 2017, surpassing the size of the market for enterprise resource planning (ERP) in 2016. This is a steep growth curve — rising at a compound annual growth rate of slightly over 15% — because companies are realising that CRM can make a strong contribution to the bottom line. Here are a few of the top ways CRM can help boost sales.
1. Monitor Sales Process Compliance
Most companies put time and effort into developing a sales process that they know works well, and they train their sales force on using the process correctly. However, without CRM, there is no way to ensure that reps are actually using the process. By defining the process steps in the CRM system and monitoring compliance, sales management can tell whether reps are following the proven process or not. They can use the insight gained from CRM to guide non-compliant reps back on the right path, or to understand why reps are successful without following the process. This insight can improve the sales process as well as compliance, increasing the company’s close rate.
2. Better Team Collaboration
Many sales require a team effort, and CRM provides the perfect repository for sharing documents, notes and project status so everyone stays up to date and can present a consistent story to the customer. If you work on large or complex deals, CRM collaboration helps make the entire team more effective, increasing the likelihood of winning the deal.
3. Improved Resource Allocation
Even very large companies have resource constraints, but CRM can help ensure that you allocate your best resources to larger deals or those that are most likely to close. A team calendar in your CRM system helps ensure that the right resources are deployed to your best customers and eliminates the possibility of double-booking resources.
4. Targeted Selling
Having consistent information about all your customers and prospects consolidated in a single location allows you to use analytics to develop effective target personas. Once you know who your most likely customer is, you can hone your marketing to appeal directly to each persona. Not only does this increase the ROI of your marketing spend, it also increases the chances that a prospect will receive an appealing offer that speaks directly to his/her needs rather than a more generic pitch. The more on target the offer, the greater the likelihood of closing the deal, so revenue will increase as a result.
In addition, if a prospect doesn’t buy the first time, it is easier to retarget him/her with a revamped message or a different deal. You know exactly what you’ve tried and what worked with similar prospects, so your hit rate will improve.
5. Marketing Automation and Prospect Nurture
Just because a prospect wasn’t ready to buy the first time you came in contact with him/her doesn’t mean he/she will never buy from you. Many reps don’t have time to stay in contact with possible future accounts, which means that the investment in uncovering that lead is wasted if there is no continuing follow up. Yet research from CEB shows that almost 60% of a buyer’s journey is complete before he/she even reaches out to a rep. It’s important to guide buyers along their journey and be there when they are ready,
With a CRM system, you can stay in communication with target prospects with relevant information, deals and announcements on a regular basis. You can monitor the flow of information so they don’t feel as though you’re spamming them, and when the time is right for them, they are more apt to buy from you because of the trusted relationship you’ve developed through marketing automation nurturing efforts.
Marketing automation also allows you to test the effectiveness of messages and change the terms of your offers very quickly. If you find that a particular headline or offer is not working, you can immediately change it and try another. You can retarget prospects regularly with new deals or enticements to buy products they have shown a past interest in — this is an effective way to increase revenue.
By Jeff Nixon is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Highland Solutions. Highland Solutions is a technology services company that offers collaborative, enterprise solutions. Jeff is a proven business leader that has a solid history of innovative leadership, continuous improvement, product development, managing leading-edge technology and delivering excellent products and services.