Many sales people are familiar with the concept of having a “database” to manage their list of clients. That said, most sales people fail to use the data once it enters the database. This is where my secret weapon, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system comes into play.
A great CRM will allow you to enter data, use it to manage your sales process, and allow you to close more business by staying on top of your prospects. In fact, I’ve only seen huge improvements in customers who implement a CRM. The increase ranges from 20% to 4,000% increases in sales. It all depends on how well you setup the CRM and actually using it.
I’ve found that there are 5 key steps to successfully implementing a CRM:
1. Choose a platform – I am personally a Zoho fan, but also have a lot of respect for Salesforce.com. I think both are great platforms. Zoho is very simple and easy to customize. It’s also free for up to 3 users. I suggest signing up for a 30 day trial on both and seeing which one fits you better. Then pick one!
2. Map fields to match your sales process – Out of the box, any CRM is “good” to use as is. That said, in order to get the most out of your CRM you need to customize the “fields” in each category. Typically each CRM will have 2 or 3 main categories: Leads and Opportunities or Potentials are the main categories. Each of these categories has fields that describe different steps or stages of your processes. But they NEVER match your actual business. So take the time to modify each so that the technology matches your system.
3. Setup the dashboard – Your dashboard will be the first thing you see when you login to the system. The dashboard populates from predefined reports in your system. I personally like my dashboard to display my sales funnel, how much has closed this month in sales, as well as what I’m expecting to close next month.
4. Setup reporting – Each CRM has predefined reports, but most people need customize them by location, zip code, product or service type, etc. Remember to make a copy of any reports and NOT change the original. This way you can recreate them if you break something.
5. Train your team – Sit down with your team and go through the system as well as what you expect from them. A CRM can be overwhelming and confusing for a new user, but even one hour of training can put your team at ease and set them up for success. However, one hour of training isn’t ideal. Conduct ongoing training on shortcuts and how to use the system.
Remember that implementing technology isn’t always easy. However, the right CRM properly setup will totally transform your sales performance.