In the last part of this series, I touched on how easy it was for my sales manager to view all of my activity and pipeline without having to present him with a report every week. This post will focus on how using CRM makes me more productive without growing the amount of work I have to do.
Tracking a Customer Through the Sales Process
One of the things that is great about CRM is that I can track a customer through the sales process. You can assign categories from ‘Not qualified’ if they are just a cold call on a list to ‘Proposal’ if you have qualified them, met with them, and have provided a proposal or contract, to ‘Won’ or ‘Lost.’ Once they are a ‘Won’ prospect then you can easily make them into a customer and keep all of the information you collected in the sales process for anyone who might be taking over the account to have handy. The best part about using CRM for me was that when I was out on maternity leave for two months I didn’t receive a single phone call from the office about something I had been working on because I had documented everything so well in CRM.
Throughout the week I just document all incoming and outgoing calls, emails (straight from my Outlook!), visits (again, directly from my calendar in Outlook), and other customer-facing activity. I can even generate a mass list of calls to make from an Excel spreadsheet list that’s uploaded into CRM.
Opportunities are tracked against the customer and I can assign them a dollar value, weighted estimate on whether they will close or not, estimated close date, and timeframe. CRM generates customizable reports that can be downloaded into Excel as a Dynamic Worksheet. The great thing about it is that since the reports are dynamic, you only have to download it once and it will pull all of the changes every time you open or refresh it. The ways to slice and dice that data are almost unlimited. I currently have several different reports including: Current Opportunities, Future Business, Opportunities Greater than 60% (All), Opportunities Greater than 60% (Close in 30 days), etc.
Future business is a great way to capture something a customer said in passing that they want to do in the coming year. You set up the opportunity as Future Business and then you can assign yourself a ‘tickler’ reminder that pops up in your Outlook Tasks when you should call them again. Those tickler reminders are also great when you call a prospect and they tell you they’re in the middle of closing out their books for the year and could you call them back on Tuesday after 2PM? Set the reminder for Tuesday at 2:15 and you’re set. No more sticky notes everywhere with reminders, no more forgotten customer calls.
The next series in this post will feature little add-on features that we’ve customized into CRM to make non-sales related processes easier.