One of the most important things that I’ve learned as a swim coach of over 25 years is the importance of having confidence in your structured swim season plan. As I developed confidence in our coaching staff’s processes and stuck to the effective structures of previous seasons, our team consistently performed better than the year before.
With a structured plan, the swimmers knew what to expect and were patient during the duldrums of the season because they trusted that the process would result in better times and team success. I have found that coaching a sales team and having confidence and structure with CRM processes yields the same great results year after year, just like the swim team.
One of the most critical processes in sales strategy development is how sales teams use CRMs, or Customer Relationship Management systems. Ask yourself, at a high level: What’s most important in your CRM? Or more specifically, where is consistency of data input critical to ensuring that you are measuring and reacting to the correct information?
Everyone’s heard of garbage in, garbage out. It’s a phrase that indicates that if you input bad data into any software system, bad data will come out and—even worse—bad decisions will be made. Although it is easy to blame the CRM system, often it’s the data and the processes that are the problem.
To improve your CRM with structure and confidence, consider these four critical processes:
1. Input Lead Source:
Organizations use CRMs to keep track of their leads, which usually means they input basic information like contact, phone number, and the product or service they are interested in. With structure around your lead entry process, you can get at information even more important—where the lead came from. Understanding where leads are coming from is a critical component for growth.
2. Populate Account Information/Profile Fields:
Sales strategies should evolve, and the most effective way to evolve those sales strategies is with real-time customer and market data. Creating a structure on the types of questions and information that you want your sales team to capture enables your sales lead to develop more efficient and successful strategies.
3. Create Opportunities:
Winning new business is what it’s all about. With structure in your opportunity process, shortening that sales cycle becomes part of your culture. Having clear understanding by your team on when to move sales prospects through the sales cycle helps you identify where opportunities are stalling. It allows management the ability to help sales with prospects through coaching and new techniques.
4. Analyze Metrics:
CRMs are the best way to manage your sales group towards its growth objectives. Structured reports and dashboards allow every member of your sales team to know how they are performing. These reports identify where they are doing well and where they need help. Lack of structure and changing metrics can leave your sales team focused on the wrong things or—even worse—not even paying attention to their performance at all.
Growing B2B inside sales consistently requires structure to have confidence in the overall sales plan, year after year. Use these four processes to confidently improve your structured CRM processes.
A version of this post appeared as an article in the Delaware Business Times.