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CRM Solutions: The Sales Force and Beyond
Blog / Sales Management / Oct 22, 2013 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 3113 

CRM Solutions: The Sales Force and Beyond

Are you looking for a CRM solution for your sales force team?

A flexible, intuitive CRM solution is crucial for a sales force to survive, let alone succeed.

But that same carefully chosen and well-implemented CRM application is just as important to other key company departments whose input comes before and after sales. Let me explain:

CRM Solutions in the CloudThe Sales Crunch

In companies without a well-thought-out sales process and without CRM that measures full progress of a sale through that sales process, it can often happen that the functions of marketing and customer support get kind of crunched in on sales.

Marketing is the set of functions that precede sales; it is marketing that provides enough viable leads for sales to function. When plentiful qualified leads aren’t available, it is then up to salespeople to spend extra time qualifying the leads they do get, spend even more time trying to chase down their own leads, and then bend over backwards to turn each lead into a sale knowing there isn’t plenty more where those came from. Sales is already a high-pressure job, and a lack of marketing support adds a whole other layer of completely unnecessary pressure.

On the other side of sales, customer service and support functions make sure the customer is happy after the sale has occurred. If the product is not delivered in a timely fashion, or if implementation is slipshod, or if support is lackluster, it not only backfires on the company in terms of repute: it backfires on the sales reps, too. It is often the salesperson that gets the call from a dissatisfied customer; after all it was the sales rep who sold the product to the customer in the first place and caused that customer to believe in the company and its products. Again this is wasted time and additional pressure the sales rep certainly doesn’t need.

A negative company reputation slaps back heavily on sales; prospects have heard bad things and referrals dry up. How much harder does that make a close? To compensate or overcome this type of backlash sales forces often resort to drastic solutions such as slashing prices, special terms and—worst of all—making promises that the company cannot keep.

The CRM Solutions Across the Boards

So how can the right CRM application be of great assistance is solving such issues throughout the company?

By having a proper CRM solution, it can be readily seen if there is a shortage of leads so that a marketing campaign can be corrected or ramped up to increase that number. If leads are not properly qualified, that too will be readily apparent in CRM data as few of them are actually moving along the pipeline. Having the ability to obtain this kind of information in a timely manner is half the battle; following that, marketing just needs to come up to speed to solve the issues.

The sales force and sales management, with a flexible, intuitive CRM solution, is much more able to control sales and readily see problem areas. They can take immediate action themselves where it is warranted and shout from the rooftops if marketing is not fulfilling its duty.

Also within CRM it will be rapidly seen if delivery, implementation or support has not been up to snuff, and corrective action can be taken before it starts bouncing back on the sales reps.

Sales Process and Metrics

For the above to come about, the CRM solution must be easily adaptable to and reflect a company’s sales process. With that done, the CRM application must be capable of providing metrics that clearly show what is occurring as a sale moves into and through the sales pipeline—which of course includes delivery and support following that close.

Such metrics must be carefully thought out so that they reflect movement and can alert management to trouble areas immediately. Some suggested metrics could include leads-to-sales, which would show the conversion rate of leads; pipeline load percentage, which would indicate the value of total deals in a pipeline and whether it is enough to meet a sales goal; pipeline step average times, so places where sales are stalling can be caught and addressed quickly; and percentage of totally satisfied customers on the delivery and support end. There are obviously many more.

The burden of creating plentiful happy customers cannot be borne by sales alone. Implement the right CRM solution and get the whole company moving in a highly successful direction.

See our other articles on CRM solutions and proper metrics.

About Author

A 30-year veteran of the computer industry, Nikolaus has founded and run several software companies. He and his company uptime iTechnology are the developers of World-Check, a risk intelligence platform eventually sold to Thomson Reuters for $520 million. He is currently the founder and CEO of Pipelinersales, Inc., developer and publisher of Pipeliner CRM, the first CRM application aimed squarely at actually empowering salespeople. Also a prolific writer, Nikolaus has authored over 100 ebooks, articles, and white papers addressing the subjects of sales management, leadership and sales itself.

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