Keep Your Sales Team Connected With a CRM
In the sales industry, work flow-automation technologies are some of the most important time saving strategies for salespeople and managers.
Customer relationship management (CRM) applications, for example, have changed the way sales leads are managed. Sometimes these applications are also referred to as contact management systems. With a CRM system, sales leads generated through telemarketing, response cards, trade shows, Web forms and other sources are entered into a central database and automatically routed to the correct salesperson.
Features to look for and understand
There are many different software and applications from which to choose - Salesforce, OnContact, SageACT!, Prophet, and AIMcrm, to name just a few. You may also see Relenta, webAsyst, Maximer CRM, TeamWox and Chaos Intellect, plus many more. The variety in possibilities requires research into applicability and what features work best for your business.
CRM software or applications include many features that make it easier for your team to follow up on leads and stay in contact with customers. They can include:
- Email Integration
- Web hosting
- Daily Schedule/To Do List
- Contact/Account Notes
- Mobile Access
- Calendar Integration
- Remote Synchronization
- Dialing Capabilities
Every business also has specific in-house requirements. When looking for a CRM, also consider what you are looking for in compatibility with existing systems and procedures.
Reporting and statistics are a key component of sales lead management software. Most solutions include several standard reports and basic tools to adjust them. Compare the standard reports to your existing reports and you will quickly be able to spot any important omissions.
For more in-depth analysis, some lead management software can be linked to industry-standard reporting systems, such as Crystal Reports. Other packages allow you to export the data and do the analysis in a separate spreadsheet or database.
The sales lead management software should either include or be easily integrated with other common applications, such as a task/reminder system and an email client. Depending on your company's standards, you may want a system that can export data or records in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Outlook format. And for the best integration, look for a system that can connect to your accounting software.
Salespeople are interested in a system that works as it should all the time. What might seem like a minor annoyance during evaluation can cause salespeople to stop using the lead management software altogether.
What is the cost of a good CRM?
When buying sales lead management software, ease of use is one of the most important components to consider. If the system isn't easy to use, your sales reps won't take to it and your investment will go to waste.
The cost of such software and features varies. There are monthly subscriptions that start at $30 a month, to a charge per user. The by user charges range from $45 to $200, depending on the software or application, features selected and other options.
Of course every vendor claims that their sales lead management software is intuitive and easy to use. However, "ease of use" is somewhat subjective. Here are some specific questions you should investigate:
- Is information presented in a clear and organized manner?
- How many clicks it takes to update a record, create a new prospect, or fulfill an information request?
- Is navigation within the application logical?
- How much contextual help is included? Are there pop-up "tool tips" to explain various buttons?
If your salespeople do not feel comfortable using the product, they may never get the full benefit of it, no matter how much training you provide - and your ROI will diminish.
Now that you have a CRM
Managing these leads once they have been routed to your virtual inbox can be daunting, but adopting some of the following practices will help you stay on top of your sales leads:
- Do not let leads pile up in your inbox; tackle them as soon as possible.
- Sequence leads so you can cycle through them in order, whether you tackle the hot leads first or save the best for last.
- Allow ample time to move through an entire batch of leads without interruption.
- Once you connect with a lead and set the groundwork for a sale, upgrade the lead to a contact and start maintaining the record in a database.
- Update your records regularly as you develop a history with a client.
- If working from the field on a remote connection, it might be worthwhile updating your data once a day. If you wait two or more days, the updates will pile up and will take longer to process.
CRM systems have helped thousands of businesses manage their leads. But even like a more traditional inbox, your campaigns will continue to require daily and weekly maintenance to continue adding value to your sales team.Ready to Compare Contact Management Software Price Quotes?