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General Marketing, Sales

4 Ways You Should Be Using Your CRM to Maximize Sales

Posted by Justin Summers on Nov 21, 2017 8:47:28 AM

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Today's sales teams have a tool at their fingertips that can have an immediate impact on sales efficiency. The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is foundational to your sales strategy—it houses all your customer and prospect information and interactions with your sales and marketing teams. While extremely powerful, many modern sellers aren’t leveraging or even aware of some of the most important features that the majority of CRMs boast.

Here are four ways to use your CRM to crush next quarter’s sales numbers and close more deals.

Segmentation

This concept is nothing new to marketers—they’ve been categorizing and segmenting audiences and crafting relevant messages for different audience profiles for decades. Sales teams should take a page from this book and do the same for their CRM databases. When you start to segment and break up your contacts into lists of defined audiences, you can better target your outreach approach and deliver relevant products or services that are most likely to convert, increasing your win rate.

CRM Pro Tip: Use basic filtering such as "Industry," "Job Title," "Company Size" and "Location" to find the contacts who best reflect your ideal customer—then go a level deeper and use factors such as "Buying Authority," "Lead Source" or "Previous Website Activity" to further tailor your outreach and relevancy.

Automation

How many cold outreach emails are you typing a day? How much of that time and energy could be used for meaningful, consideration-stage sales conversations? Not all, but most, CRMs have an automation component  that can save your sales team enormous amounts of time on prospecting, setting meetings and moving customers to the next stage in the sales process. Using the power of your CRM to segment your audience makes automating messaging to contacts the next logical step. One without the other is still a good idea—but one-up the next guy and set up an automation series for your various audience segments.

CRM Pro Tip: Automation doesn’t have to be just email-based. Most CRMs will include automation for items such as follow-up dates and reminders. Automation can also be helpful in passing leads back and forth from marketing to sales by putting automated processes in place.

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring can be a very customized system that requires more upfront planning and thoughtful coordination of the sales and marketing teams. Putting a value on a contact’s interactions with your brand or sales team is an important factor to take into consideration in your overall sales strategy. How are you going to know how warm a particular lead is? What qualifies a web visitor to be considered a prospect, or even a lead? Attributing a value, or score, to contacts based on interactions and engagements will start to give a much clearer picture of where your sales team should be focusing to close likely deals, nurture leads and continue moving them down your pipeline.

CRM Pro Tip: Don’t forget to use passive data such as job function, location or lead source to further separate warm leads from colder ones with implicit data of which you’re already aware.

Pipeline Forecasting 

Your CRM has the power to be one of the most versatile and productive tools in your arsenal—and one of the most impactful may be forecasting your sales pipeline. Using the data you collect (actively and passively) from sales efforts and your own company’s sales cycle, you can begin to get a full picture of weekly, quarterly or yearly sales metrics. Take note of just how many prospects get turned into deals and the vital touchpoints that make these deals happen. Forecasting your pipeline is important to expose weaknesses and identify strengths of your company’s sales strategy—taking note of where the gap between marketing and sales needs to close.

CRM Pro Tip: Keep track of high-quality leads and identify the steps necessary to take a lead down the sales funnel—it's essential in pipeline forecasting. If you know that you need about 20 high-quality inbound leads from marketing to set five appointments—and two of those deals close—you can start predicting future revenue gains, track personal sales performance and, ultimately, engage a strategic approach to how you are currently selling.

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