Using CRM to Standardize Your Sales Process

January 22, 2020
Using CRM to Standardize Your Sales Process

Consider using CRM in order to standardize a sales process across different teams, locations, or verticals.

Once you’ve established any business process, you need to make sure all of your systems support it. Since we’re talking about a sales process, the most important system to consider is your CRM system.

Having both a sales process and a CRM system enables businesses to make strategic and informed decisions. That’s why figuring out how to make them work together is priceless.

Think about it – if you define multiple ways to generate leads in your sales process, but those lead sources aren’t captured in your CRM system, the system is not supporting the process. Additionally, if you are requiring your sales reps to log information that isn’t relevant to your sales process, it’s probably a waste of time to them.

Using CRM to standardize your sales process shouldn't add a level of difficulty. Use these steps to support your sales process with CRM and vice versa.

How to Support Your Sales Process with CRM

1. Review the process to see where you might collect data

Brainstorm data points with other leaders or some top performing sales reps. What type of information will help to make informed decisions during your sales process?

Additionally, think long term and short term. Certain data may not seem helpful as a single snapshot but could be very lucrative when used to analyze a number of data points through time.

Not collecting the correct data or data at the correct time is hazardous to your sales process.

It could result in bad behavior, such as salespeople forgetting to use certain methods of lead generation because they’re not visible in the system. Or it could result in bad data, where leads from multiple sources all look the same, so management isn’t able to make good decisions about where to invest resources.

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2. Pinpoint clear status changes

Look for when there is a clear (objective) status change, e.g. when you send a contract or Terms of Engagement. Evaluate how you can link these status changes to activities in your CRM system. And, ensure that the CRM has the right fields and options to align with the process.

Additionally, it’s important to consider what data management will need to get out of the sales process to analyze indicators and results and plan for the future. Anything you want to get out of the system, you’ll need to make sure gets into the system first.

Ensure that you have the right fields and options (especially the right required fields) to capture all relevant data without being too overwhelming for the team.

Remember they are salespeople, not data entry clerks.

3. Consider what information leadership would like to see

In this case, leadership could mean your direct manager or the rest of the executive team. What information would help them understand the status of the sales organization?

Depending on your solution, your KPIs can be derived from your CRM using reports and other analytics tools.

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4. Evaluate your forecasting process

Typically, forecasting happens so the rest of a business can plan around the results. With that said, if you need to know how much you'll sell 3 months in advance so you can stock the right inventory or hire the right amount of delivery people, you need to have a forecast that is relatively accurate 3 months ahead.

This means your sales process must have a stage that identifies the opportunities most likely to close 3 months from now. Additionally, you might need to know that you will close 70% of them.

For other businesses, it matters less since whatever is sold can easily be delivered.

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5. Create standardized policies for data accuracy

Data accuracy focuses on data quality and data correctness. This means all data entered into your company’s CRM system must follow the same policies for correct analysis.

Examples of standardized policies include:

  1. Logging dates in one format such as MM/DD/YEAR
  2. Recording US States as either their name or abbreviation ( New York or NY)

In this step, consider where you want data to be entered into the CRM and where you need data to be pushed out of the CRM. Additionally, have protocol for when data must be entered by team members.

Let your biggest takeaway be that your sales process should inform your CRM and not vice versa. If that data you’re collecting does not support your sales process, you must collect different data.

Additionally, remember that your sales reps are not full-time data admin professionals. Don’t require standardize your sales process so much that they don’t have time to do their job of selling.

If you keep all of this in mind, your sales process and CRM will be sure to drive sales success for your business.

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