Getting the Most Mileage from Your CRM
Most salespeople use a CRM, but many use it reluctantly. The best salespeople, who invariably are also the most organized people, love their CRM. Why? Because they appreciate it for its two functions.
A CRM is a project management system. It is the official archive of every sale you ever worked on, each of which can be thought of as a project. But a CRM is also a pipeline management tool, revealing the small percentage of the total archive that can realistically be counted on to close in the next 30/60/90 days. Those sales are your path to the goal. Viewed in that way, your CRM works like a “sales target GPS” always pointing you in the right direction.
Consider these 4 principles:
1) Filing System vs. Finding System
Have you ever lost something you filed? Most people think the goal of filing is to put everything in its own file. But the real goal is to be able to find it. If I treat every sales project as if it were a viable prospect, I will end up with so many records that I’ll be unable to find “the real” prospects. However if I’m honest with myself about the likelihood of any prospect closing, then I’d realize how few real prospects I may actually have at any given moment. If I am only closing 10% of my CRM opportunities, then I need to find those 10% (the ones that are most likely to close) as early as possible so I can maximize time with them and minimize time spent with the others.
2) Catching vs. Fishing
If fishing were called catching, fishermen would sit on a boat with a bucket at their feet and fish would jump out of the water into the bucket. That’s not the case, so it’s called fishing for a reason. We first need insight into: Where is the right place to fish? What is the right bait? The right strategy to land a big fish? What strategies have worked in the past? What are the patterns of those successes? What are the patterns of opportunities that didn’t work out? By using the right data points found in the CRM we can find the right patterns. I recommend looking at conversion rates (First appointments>proposals>closes), negotiation efficiency (value of proposals vs. value of contracts), and sales cycle (opportunity creation to closed date).
3) Forecasting vs. Hoping
Your path is your forecast. That path should be conservative and low-risk with a total value equaling 1.5x-3x the value of the goal. Once you have more than 3x the value of your goal in your path you may be less critical about each opportunity. To be sure, only count on sales within the normal sales cycle that have a scheduled next step in place.
4) Confident vs. Desperate
When you have the right view of the path to goal, then you know how to manage your own time and prioritize your activities. You feel confident enough to fully qualify each potential opportunity and you end up working with more qualified clients. Those are the ones more likely to renew and upsell.
Companies with a fully utilized CRM system will undoubtedly increase sales. But remember, any system is only as valuable as the information that goes into it.
Are you getting the most mileage from your CRM?
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.