How to Fix These 6 Sales Challenges with CRM

CRM Advice

1. Inefficient & Inaccurate Sales Forecasting

Valuable selling time is lost when sales forecasts have to be manually compiled from a combination of spreadsheets and emails.

Poor reporting is a sure fire way to compromise sales decision making. Sales teams will always be better organised when they have a firm steer on their pipeline and which prospects are most likely to close rather than acting on gut feel.

CRM applications provide clear visibility of sales cycles by tracking prospects through each stage of your selling process.

Dashboards, pipeline charts and sales statistics create insight into actual performance and because this real-time data is available on-demand time isn't wasted collecting sales forecasts, manually compiling reports or making decisions with suspect data.

2. Too Much Sales Time is Spent on Administration

If sales teams spend hours every week on administration activity it’s an expensive drain on productivity.

How many extra deals could be won each month if admin time is cut? How much could the cost of each sale be reduced if sales were completed more quickly and absorbed fewer resources?

An effective CRM strategy releases sales teams from the burden of admin tasks by minimising, or even removing, repetitive processes that absorb time but contribute little profitability.

Sales quoting is just one example where a CRM application can quickly prove its worth by reducing the time needed it takes to create new quotes.

By combining activity & sales data in a single interface, CRM will:

• Store product & price detail so quotes can be more quickly generated - and accurately
• Trigger reminder activities that prompt user action on active opportunities & keep in touch with existing customers
• Track every step in the sales process so the health of the pipeline can be checked at any time
• Profile contacts for effective segmentation & lead allocation
• Share sales opportunity information with other users enabling everyone to keep up to date on individual prospects & team performance.

3. Struggling to Grow Accounts

It’s hard to cross-sell or up-sell if teams can’t easily see the status of each customer relationship.

Instead of working with spread-sheets or separate applications, CRM packages centralise relationship detail including communications across all touch points into a single database that is shared throughout an organisation.

With easier access to relationship detail sales teams are better able to:

• Quickly respond to customer requests
• See order histories to assess customer buying patterns & identify new sales opportunities
• Share communications to improve collaboration with other team members
• Profile contacts & accounts to segment data & plan sales & marketing strategies

4. Neglected Sales Opportunities

Poor visibility and a haphazard allocation of opportunities are often the reason for sales oversight.

CRM systems help sales teams qualify prospects and stay on top of opportunities so nothing is missed.

To avoid sales opportunities falling through the cracks CRM systems sharpen sales processes with functions that include:

• Capturing leads from website forms, Excel spread-sheets & other data sources for prompt attention
• Guided workflows that enable users to easily check recent actions and assess what needs to happen next
• Scheduling reminder activities that prompt timely action
• Automatically allocating leads to route opportunities to the right users people based on location, product and other defined rules
• Workflow processes that automatically trigger email alerts when action is needed to escalate leads
• CRM reporting that monitors how evenly sales leads are distributed

5. Long Sales Cycles

Inefficient processes cause sales cycles to slow and stretch resulting in spiraling costs.

Organisations often decide to implement new CRM solutions to fast track their sales cycle by short-cutting time intensive tasks and developing smarter processes.

By using CRM packages to apply greater automation organisations are able to streamline sales processes through:

• Guided processes that help users qualify prospects, improve data quality & cut training time
• Automated triggered emails that nurture prospects & progress opportunities without the drain of composing & sending repetitive messages
• Placing leads into a sales queue to automatically grade prospects and route sales ready opportunities to sales individuals
• Sales dashboards & pipeline summaries that report the real-time status of each opportunity

6. Sales Teams Are Resistant to Change

Arguably this is the biggest challenge of all and we covered the topic in an earlier post by listing 22 recommendations that will get users to embrace CRM.

Next Steps

One or more of these points may be challenges that you urgently need to address while others may be less of a priority. You’ll need to define what critical issues need to be fixed and benchmark these with shortlisted CRM solutions.

Contact Preact to find out more and get advice from our consultants about how an improved focus on CRM will transform your sales performance.