Modern CRM systems now come equipped with a raft of sophisticated functionality to help you accelerate sales performance and improve the accuracy of sales forecasting. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most overlooked yet powerful features of modern CRM systems to help you sharpen up your sales operations and accelerate growth.
Must have CRM features to accelerate sales performance
- Contact Management: By recording customer data, managing contacts and setting up reminders for the next deal task, you can reduce the sales cycle and improve the rapport you have with prospects.
- Mobility: Cloud-based CRM systems give you the freedom to access your prospect’s details on the move, so you never loose contact with them.
- CRM Analytics and reporting: One of the most useful aspects of modern CRM systems are their analytics capabilities. By giving you a detailed look at your sales data and providing you with reports on past and projected sales performance, you can see how your business is performing and what needs to be adjusted.
- Customisation: A good customer relationship management system should enable you to customise workflows and sales journeys to enable you to progress deals in a way that aligns with buyer’s expectations.
- Intuitive interfaces: Using a CRM system shouldn’t be rocket science and with so many CRM systems to choose from, it is important that you have one with an easy to use interface that helps you get the job done with minimum fuss.
6 benefits of modern CRM systems
1. Contact segmentation. Contact segmentation allows you to split your contacts into organised groups which can be targeted more closely according to their specific wants and needs. Combining segmentation with capturing individual prospect data (such as their needs, hobbies and interests) can really help you deepen personalisation in your communications – helping accelerate sales performance.
2. Managing opportunities. One of the often underused benefits of modern CRM systems is their ability to calculate the potential value and conversion likelihood of opportunities. Most modern CRM systems help you identify and score leads based on engagement levels, helping you streamline and optimise your sales pipeline.
3. Dashboard and reports. With customised reports that give you a real-time overview of your sales performance, CRM systems can keep you informed and navigate your sales pipeline with higher precision.
4. Mobility. With the ability to access data and receive deal alerts on your mobile, CRM tools can now make it a synch to progress deals. Needless to say, accessing deal data on the go can also dramatically improve productivity too.
5. Sales automation. Being able to automate some of the more repetitive tasks in your sales process helps free up time so you can focus on closing more deals. Tasks like follow-up emails and data collection can be automated to also help your business become more organised.
6. Forecasting Sales. Sales forecasting helps you benchmark performance and make more informed capital allocation decisions for the business. Sales forecasting reports available in CRM systems also give you insight into what is currently working in your sales process and what you could improve in order to grow your business.
3 strategies for operating your CRM system
1. Streamlining operations with CRM
Using a CRM tool to enhance and streamline business operations. This approach simplifies your core business processes by placing the CRM at the centre of your business. Here, the CRM solution can help you simplify the lead generation and customer service to help you simplify aspects of your existing business operations.
The three key features of the operational CRM:
- Sales Automation
- Marketing Automation
- Service Automation
When should you invest in an operational CRM?
- If your business has a linear sales pipeline.
- If your company is trying to automate its workflow.
- To improve the administrative side of your business.
2. Deepening intelligence with CRM analytics
If your business is strongly focused on data collection and analysis, more analytics and data-driven CRM strategy might be more appropriate. This helps companies to deepen their customer and sales prospect data and to build their sales processes around individual prospects and customers. By leveraging data like customer engagement, email open rates and clicks, this CRM strategy can help you have a more meaningful sales conversation with prospects and provide a more personalised customer experience.
The key features of an analytics-based CRM strategy are:
- Deep sales and customer analytics
- Contact enrichment
- Data warehousing
- Third party data integrations.
When should you invest in an analytics-driven CRM strategy?
- If your business needs a more personalised customer experience
- When you want to focus on sales performance (using data analysis).
- When you have a complex sales cycle.
3. Integrating workflows and improving collaboration with CRM
By integrating your sales, marketing and customer service data, all business functions can integrate their workflows and operate in a more collaborative way across all channels of communication. This helps improve communications and reduces friction in sales and the customer experience. This approach also enables all teammates to better understand individual customers’ needs.
The three defining features of a collaborative CRM strategy:
- Interaction management
- Omnichannel customer service
- Multichannel sales strategies
When should you consider a collaborative CRM strategy?
- If sales, marketing and customer service need to better integrate.
- If sales, marketing and customer service are spread across different physical locations.
- When your company relies on (but can’t track) cross departmental collaboration.
The 4 key pillars of an effective CRM strategy
- Opportunity Management
The sales pipeline and opportunity management aspect is critical to manage and process deals in a structured way. You can also use sales pipeline data to create sales forecasts and identify deals that are more likely to result in a closed deal. Accurate sales forecasts also enable you to set realistic sales goals to aim for. With a well-defined sales process, It is much easier to onboard new teammates, allowing you to scale up your sales operations with minimum hassle.
- Customer Service and support
Once a prospect becomes a paying customer, CRM systems can enable you to maintain a positive customer relationship with the customer by giving you complete transparency around their customer experience and any issues they have faced – so you can focus on resolving any issues that they have. Customer service reports within your CRM system will also enable you to identify areas for improvement in customer service and the overall customer experience.
- Account and Contact Management
By integrating data across sales, marketing and customer service, you can provide a completely integrated service for your customers. Centralising contact details, order history, deal status and historic customer service issues is also extremely helpful when engaging with a customer to close an additional sale.
- Calendar and activity tracking
Integrating your CRM with your business’s Gmail or Outlook business accounts can ensure that all communications are recorded within the CRM system, reducing the time required to record and update customer and prospect data. Gmail and Outlook integrations also mean that you are able to synchronise appointments into your existing business diary to prevent meetings from clashing.