These days, a simple contact list database won’t do. With sales teams so closely aligned with marketing, they need more than the basics when it comes to understanding their leads. CRM systems are cloud-based software which allows sales teams to communicate among one another to create and update contact details and centralise any information they generate.
Saying this, generic sales data is still relevant – it’s a given that in order to record customer data you need information such as name, contact number, an address and so on – yet a CRM system goes beyond this traditional narrative.
The benefits of a CRM
A centralised database makes it easy to understand sales goals and to keep everyone in the loop on client statuses. Automation of repetitive sales tasks makes life so much easier for your marketing campaigns. Creating templates and workflows will help out your sales team so they can focus on what they do with the data, rather than how they can target people. Differentiating between what can clearly be taken over by marketing will greatly help your sales efforts focus.
Also, long gone are the days of duplicated data. You certainly don’t want to run the risk of getting in touch with the same person twice!
As your client base grows, you can sometimes find yourself swamped in acquiring new business, so it’s important to have a CRM that clearly displays data in order to strategise more effectively. When another department wants in on your sales data, it’ll be easily accessible and readable for when they need it.
Is there a downside?
Centralisation can be costly, so make sure you have enough process and planning behind your sales activities. With variable subscription costs, you’ll need to carefully evaluate how many users you need controlling the system, and how many contacts you need to have stored, in order to pay the right price for what you need. If you end up investing in the wrong package, you may be limiting your sales potential and possibly hindering your sales team in the process.
CRM systems can focus too much on pleasing management, with sales figures benefitting sales managers with targets rather than generating useful data for sales representatives. The data in a CRM system plays toward management as it contributes to overall sales data and activity, yet does not influence the how of sales. However, this issue doesn’t seem to persist in smaller sized businesses, as there tend to be fewer sales team members leading activities, and you may find there to be less of an intricate sales process.
What’s the verdict?
Any CRM system runs successfully off the back of a successful sales team. Its benefits can only reach peak performance if you have the ability behind it. While a lot of its functionalities depend on proper set-up, a CRM doesn’t automatically grant your business good quality data and analysis.
A CMS may automate your processes, but if you don’t set it up to automate the right data in the first place, then you’ll develop summaries of poor data! Because of this, your sales team will be hindered as they don’t draw out the right information that they need.
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic! What’s often the case is that businesses either hire more in-house specialists to give them a helping hand or they pass over the reigns to an agency to look after.Whichever way you choose to operate your CRM, it’s only as good as your sales team!