Maintain your Pipeline and Nurture your Leads18 Nov 2019
A CRM system exists to help a business manage their relationship with their customers. This process usually kicks off with the acquisition of said customers…that’s right, we’re talking about sales today. Specifically, how your CRM solution will help you nurture those Leads so they become customers AND maintain your pipeline to make sure you stay in business.
Before I get started, what do I mean by nurturing leads and maintaining a pipeline?
In the CRM world, a pipeline refers to the potential business you and your sales team are trying to win in a particular time frame. In order to maintain the pipeline, you want to make sure you have enough potential deals lined up (and moving through your sales process) to make sure you meet target. Nurturing your Leads, on the other hand, is all about building the foundation of a relationship with the person you are trying to do business with.
So how can a CRM help you and your sales team with your pipeline or your leads?
In my opinion (and there are plenty of other ones out there), a CRM solution plays a very specific role in a business. You’ll see it shorthanded as a tool for “organisation” or “efficiency”—in reality, a properly implemented system does so much more than that.
To help explain, I’d like to go through two things you MUST do and two things you should PROBABLY consider doing in your CRM system if you want it to help with either.
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Essential #1: Good data in, good data out
Your CRM solution is only as good as the data that goes into it. That’s not just the original data, so the names of your Leads or the original estimated details of your Opportunities. It also means the data that is regularly put into the system and managed appropriately. So details of when a call took place and what was discussed, how an Opportunity has changed, etc.
Whether you’re nurturing a Lead or trying to maintain an accurate pipeline, having the information in your CRM as accurate as possible is essential.
Essential #2: Pay attention and stay focused
Once you’ve got your good data into your CRM system, the tools there will help you stay focused on the task at hand…or possibly the task that isn’t at hand, but that really could do with some attention from you.
This is done through the use of things like your pipeline graph, customised dashboards, custom views (i.e. data segments), and automated reports. What all of these things do can be described as “distilling” data into something useful. So all that great data goes into the system and now you and your sales team are able to take action off the back of it.
It is essential that you set up these analytical tools in your CRM…after all, how does your sales team know which Leads to nurture or which areas of their pipeline to focus on, unless these are highlighted?
The flip side of this, of course, is that all of these elements will also feedback to the management team, so they also know what the sales team are up to…as well as what they maybe SHOULD be up to. Fingers crossed they are the same thing!
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Optional #1: Share and share alike
Every sales team is different but being honest with each other and sharing at least some of your information can helpful. This in some ways goes back to my first “essential” point…if you don’t know what someone else is doing, how do you make sure you aren’t duplicating the work?
Now this is easier said than done if you’ve got a competitive sales team. You know the ones, battling for every Lead and pouncing on every potential Opportunity. In these cases, setting up some ground rules or permissions within your CRM can change that competition to cooperation.
By setting up sharing rules that allow viewing, but not editing, you can control what people are able to do with each other’s records. Pair this with some automated round robin record assignment and you take away the need to fight with each other…suddenly the focus shifts to everyone working together instead of working against each other.
Optional #2: Branded communication
I’m not just saying this because I am on the marketing team and part of my job is making sure everyone is using the same logo and font in their emails. It really is important that every single communication that comes from your business looks, sounds, and feels the same.
How else do your customers (and more important, your Leads) KNOW that it’s you, after all? Through your brand.
Your CRM system, using tools like email, pdf, and mail merge templates, give you as an administrator control over everything that leaves that system. Pair this with the standardisation of information that comes through the sharing of these kinds of templates and you can suddenly be confident that everyone on your sales team is making the same kinds of promises to your customers.
For example, if you ask a CRM provider what their back-up policy is, one of their sales team can send out an email template (maybe with an informative PDF) that examples the details of this. You can feel confident that the information you’ve received is accurate and your potential provider knows that they’ve nurtured their Lead with their expertise.
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I hope I’ve given you some ideas about how a CRM solution can help you and your business maintain your pipeline and nurture your Leads. If you’d like to chat more about how you can implement OpenCRM with your team, please just click the chat icon on the right of the screen.