Sales are the cornerstone of any business, providing valuable revenue that enables you to go from startup to seasoned entrepreneur. Improving your success rate will lead to growth, but squeezing more sales out of your current budget is challenging. There are two main ways to increase the number of deals you close: hire more salespeople, or help the people already on your team be more productive.
At some point, all businesses should do both. While each route requires an investment, a customer relationship management (CRM) solution can help you maximize productivity for less than an additional hire.
CRM stands for customer relationship management, and is typically used to describe a system used for keeping track of both leads and current customers. Its benefits are twofold. First, a CRM will help your sales team keep track of customer data, touchpoints, and other notes quickly and easily. Reps can set up automatic reminders for following up with a lead or a sale, as well as have access to all the information they need during a call. Second, a CRM will track rep performance, both individually and as a team, so you can adjust strategies to maximize their success rates. It helps you discover and fine-tune the best strategy for sealing the deal with customers — then makes it easy to implement.
The two primary types of CRM platforms are on-premise and cloud-based. On-premise systems require physical equipment, initial setup time and costs, and additional downtime and costs for troubleshooting and upgrading. A cloud-based system, such as Salesforce Sales Cloud, doesn’t require additional infrastructure because it can be accessed across all of your team’s existing internet-connected devices. Because it’s in the cloud, you choose only the services you need and upgrade as needed. Additionally, as your company grows and sales increase, cloud-based platforms for your marketing and customer service departments will integrate with your CRM solution, without any downtime.
A CRM platform can help build your startup sales team by streamlining the sales funnel, crunching the numbers, and keeping you agile.
Most sales reps spend more time forecasting, researching, qualifying, and routing leads, and even doing administrative tasks, than they do actually selling. A CRM platform helps eliminate these additional tasks by:
How many touchpoints does it take to close a sale for your business? Which of your reps is most efficient, and how can other team members learn from them? Is a particular pitch deck really improving your sales? Unless you track detailed statistics over time and analyze them in the context of various strategies, you’ll be in the dark. Using spreadsheets or other manual tools to do that is just one more distraction: Time spent tracking performance is time spent not selling.
With a CRM platform, the important metrics are automatically tracked. You have an analytics dashboard that enables you to create charts, graphs, and reports — tools that create compelling evidence to drive change. It all helps you and your team stay on top of trends and improve performance.
You need to know how long it takes to see results from a new sales strategy, or how quickly the landscape will change, thus requiring new strategies and tactics to keep up. With so much online communication these days, business — and change — happens in real time. Clients want responses immediately, not in a few hours. They want those responses to be personalized and well thought out.
It’s one thing to see trends unfolding. It’s another to see how you need to respond. That’s where analytics come in. But being able to act on the conclusions drawn from crunching those numbers? That’s paramount. A cloud-based CRM platform enables your team to do it all. Updates roll out automatically, giving you new tools and improving existing ones as technology changes. When you are ready to hire additional sales reps, you can easily increase the number of users and give them instant access to everything they need to be successful. With additional integrations for other departments, you can add usability as you grow or opt out of services you no longer need, all of which allows you to stay agile in your marketplace.
The bottom line is that you need your salespeople to reach more leads without making each touchpoint feel impersonal or rushed. You need a CRM solution that works for where you are right now, as well as the option to scale up as you grow. Before hiring more sales reps, help the ones you already have do their absolute best by giving them the tools they need to succeed.
Salesforce Sales Cloud is one of those tools. Learn how you can use it to build your sales team and launch your business ahead of your competition today.