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5 Reasons Why CRM Should Matter to Sales

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For as long as there have been CRM tools in existence, salespeople have been suspicious of management’s motive for insisting their sales teams use the software. Sure, when everyone on the team is using a CRM the sales manager’s job can be made easier, but what’s in it for the rank and file salespeople? If you're a manager trying to get your salespeople on board with using a CRM, here are five reasons you can give them that convey what's in it for them.

1. Keep track of prospects' contact information.

I think Rolodexes breathed their last breath about the same time as the rotary dial telephone. If you’re collecting business cards, then the size of your wallet probably rivals George Costanza’s or they’re accumulating in your bottom desk drawer. It’s great that you're collecting business cards, but can you quickly find the name, email and phone number of your prospect when you actually need it? It really is so much easier to simply query a database to access all the information you need in just seconds. "But what about all of the data entry?" you say. Data entry can be cumbersome. However, today’s newer CRM tools are streamlining or even eliminating the need for data entry all together. If that’s your only objection, it’s time to take a fresh look.

2. Keep notes on past conversations and set alerts for next steps in the sales process.  

I’ve had some salespeople tell me that their mind is like a steel trap and they never forget really important information. They would never forget what was discussed in the needs analysis meeting with a new prospect or when they promised to deliver a revised proposal. More power to you if that’s the case. The reality is, though, that if you can really keep track of every prospect’s sales process and action item, then you’re probably not working enough deals. Can your memory keep up if your pipeline grows? Maintaining a comprehensive account history can be very helpful when you’re collaborating with others to build solutions and brainstorm ideas to close a deal. CRM systems are also very helpful in managing workflows. Know for sure what the next step is with a prospect and set alerts to remind you about pending deadlines for your action items.

3. Make sure “not-ready-to-buy-yet” leads don’t fall through the cracks.  

Most salespeople have tunnel vision on the deals they close this month or this quarter. If it’s not an immediate opportunity, they simply don’t give it much thought. That’s fine for this quarter, but what about next? Where are those deals going to come from? Don’t rely on Marketing to nurture all of your leads. Certainly, marketing has its role to play, but so does Sales. Today’s CRM tools make it easier than ever to set future call backs and nurture long-term leads. Many even make it simple to build custom lead nurture email workflows that can be designed, executed and managed at the salesperson’s level.    

4. No more preparing weekly activity and/or monthly forecast reports.  

Are you still filling out daily or weekly activity reports or updating sales forecasts in an Excel spreadsheet? Ugh! CRM tools offer a better way. If salespeople enter their notes and update all of the appropriate data fields in CRM, then management should always be able to access information they need. Your manager will never have to ask you to update your forecast ever again.      

5. Do more in less time.  

Improved productivity has always been one of the stated benefits of CRM tools. Unfortunately, early editions and complicated execution under delivered on that promise. However, newer CRM tools have come a long way. Some CRM tools are easily integrated with Outlook and Gmail. A salesperson can quite literally perform multiple activities with hundreds of prospects in a day and never leave their email systems--and all of their activity ends up stored in their CRM. In addition, things like email templates, sales collateral repositories, call recording functionality and calendar management links are new features that are taking sales productivity to the next level.

So it’s okay for salespeople to wonder if a new CRM is worth it, but encourage your team to have an open mind as well. Encourage them to take a close look at the features and start to envision the impact they may have on their productivity and performance. They willl find that a good CRM will not only make their jobs easier, but also help them blow this year’s quota out of the water.

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Topics: sales management, crm