Sales force automation seems to be the buzzword these days in optimising sales processes. Even with great tools like this, it is important for good salespeople to follow a disciplined sales process.
Cloud-based sales automation applications (like Second CRM) can be powerful tools for managing that process, but they can be overwhelming to understand—let alone use effectively to manage that process. This post is designed to be simple, basic and instructional. Let’s start by defining the basic sales process and how Second CRM is organized.
The basic sales process
- A good salesperson identifies leads (or marketing supplies leads) and “works” them. Typically “working” is contacting via phone, email, social interaction, in-person or all of these. Consistently working many leads through this process can literally mean hundreds, if not thousands, of individual activities.
- Once a lead becomes a potential deal, or what’s called an “opportunity” (you’ve discovered they’re interested and you may be the right fit for their needs), then working this opportunity becomes another process, to which there are many stages.
The key components of Second CRM software
- Leads are not connected to anything else in Second CRM.
- When the Potential for a business opportunity is discovered, the lead can be directly converted to a contact, an account and a potential.
- Calendar: where tasks not completed yet are organised as To Dos (calls, demos, email, social interactions)
- Calendar List: All tasks, completed and upcoming.
Let’s marry the sales process to how Second CRM is organized3>
Working a lead
This is a lead in Second CRM. You can see upcoming activities on the top right, or see a full list of activities past and future under the [Activities] tab on the right.
Here’s how we get there
- You’ve identified a prospect—perhaps on via a campaign—and entered it as a lead in Second CRM. Now you want to begin your outreach. You make a phone call and leave a voicemail. Log the call by clicking “Add” under Activities and enter it as a call:
- Set up a follow-up reminder by checking the [Hold Followup on] box and selecting a date and time. Every time you complete an activity you should set up the next task. By doing this, you don’t have to remember the next step in your process.
Second CRM will remind you of all your tasks for the day when you login. This ensures you don’t forget and it frees your mind.
Keep good notes when you log an activity and you’ll be able to efficiently reach out to hundreds of prospects without losing track of where you are in your outreach process.
- You can email directly from Second CRM or use your own mail program (Outlook, Google, etc.) and track this in Second CRM. Using sales force automation tools like scheduled emails is also a great way to engage with customers with minimal hassle.
Converting leads to opportunities
After a couple of weeks of out-bounding, you discover a lead is interested, has the budget, authority, need and timing for when they’d like to implement a service like yours. Great! Now is the time to convert this lead to a contact, account, and a potential.
It’s simple, click [Convert Lead] and follow the prompts. The lead is now a Potential, and working from this record updates all records associated with it (accounts, contacts etc.).
Closing the deal
Your process now changes from an out-bounding process to managing the potential through the close. Activities work the same under potentials as they did as you worked your lead. Now, you’ll move this potential through the stages. Second CRM helps you with defaults (though these can be customized to your business).
Consider your timeline as it relates to the stages, working backwards. For example, if the deal needs to close in a month and you still need to analyse needs, provide a proposal and price quote, negotiate, and get paperwork through the legal department, how will you manage your time and tasks to this end?
Second CRM allows you to input the likelihood of closing the deal successfully in percentages (1-100%) This is for forecasting purposes. For example, if you’re at the negotiation/review stage then you should expect a 90% chance of successful closing. Use your tasks to manage these stages, giving yourself enough time to close the potential. For example: If you have a closing date of three days from now and you haven’t provided a proposal/price quote then it’s unlikely you’ll get through the other stages in time to hit that close date. Be realistic and set tasks so you’re following up regularly and moving the opportunity through the stages.
Keep thorough records
Keep as much information in Second CRM as possible. It’s your record of everything you’ve done and plan to do to close the deal. Add notes, descriptions, track emails, social interactions—everything. By doing this, you’ll keep yourself and management informed on everything that’s going on with your leads and potentials and free up valuable brainpower.
You’ll know who to call in the morning because you already scheduled it, giving you peace of mind that you have your sales process under control.
Maintain a disciplined sales process
Sales has many crucial aspects, but a disciplined process is the most critical. Consider that process, manage that process, and use Second CRM to keep you focused and on-track. You’ll be more efficient, in control, and confident in what you can do.
Check out Part 2 of this article here!