A quality CRM tool is crucial both to the operation of a sales force and, factually, of a business itself. But as a sale travels further up the pipeline, the precision of that CRM application increases in importance. By the time you’re well into opportunity management—that stage of a sale in which a sales rep is heavily engaged—your CRM solution had better be fully supportive or you run the risk of losing those opportunities.
Here are 6 qualities a CRM tool should possess for it to fully empower opportunity management.
#1: It should allow complete and accurate rating of leads
When leads are assigned to various salespeople, the sales reps need to be able to tell instantly how valuable the leads are, and be able to prioritize them as to which to pursue first. An accurate lead rating system—one fitted to the specific requirements of your industry and company—is the only way this is accomplished. This facility should be basic in CRM.
#2: It should allow for complete data about the prospect company
A salesperson not only needs to know all about your company’s products and processes; if your product is to be sold, the rep must possess plentiful data about the prospect company. In addition to information about the general industry, your CRM must allow for data input on the nature of the prospect’s buying patterns, who each of the decision makers are, which individuals or sections of the company can influence the purchase, a company’s relationship with competitors and more. Right CRM tool should allow for rapid entry and easy retrieval of such information.
#3: It should allow for flexibility of salespeople
Today forward-thinking companies are granting their sales force latitude and judgment in moving a sale along to a close. If salespeople see that they need to make exceptions to steps in the sales process, they are being allowed to do so. Concurrently a CRM solution should not only allow for this, but it should enable notation that it has happened, and otherwise fully support the sales rep throughout.
#4: It should contain full facility for the analysis of lost opportunities
It’s not just the wins that need to be taken into account in analysis—it is the lost opportunities as well. A leading-edge CRM tool contains functionality for pinpointing actual causes of lost opportunities, enabling sales management or even sales reps themselves to make necessary adjustments to lose fewer deals.
#5: It should be completely adaptable to your sales process—and any changes in your process that may occur in the future should reflect in your CRM Tool
Today it is mandatory that a CRM tool exactly mirror your sales pipeline management and your sales process. The degree to which it doesn’t is the degree to which there will be time wasted in having to work around CRM tool to make sure all data is available for controlling and analyzing sales pipelines.
But beyond reflecting the sales process, a CRM application must also be extremely flexible and quickly allow for changes in the sales process. It’s a dynamic business world, and the best sales processes are those which are dynamic, too. As market, industry and economic factors change, so should the sales process. And as the sales process changes, so should the CRM tool easily and rapidly.
#6: It should allow for placement of applicable documents in each pipeline step to which they apply
There are numerous types of documents that sales reps will need to refer to as sale proceeds along the pipeline. This would include best practices; sales reps are always refining and making advances in the way they are conducting sales, and the remainder of the sales force should benefit. A CRM tool should allow for the placing of best practices in the exact sales process steps to which they apply for easy reference by all reps.
Various pipeline steps often utilize specific marketing collateral materials. A sales rep should not have to go hunting through directories or emailing Marketing to get them when they are needed; they should be available in CRM at applicable stages of the pipeline.
Most companies evolve anti-competition strategies, some of which occur at key steps of the sales process. Documents that contain the strategy to ward off competition should also be available in the pipeline stages at which they’ll be needed.
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A flexible, intuitive CRM tool is the backbone of your opportunity management. Make sure yours allows your sales force to proceed rapidly, confidently and successfully.
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