It’s a good sign that you’re researching CRM software: it means you’re paying attention to what’s happening in the world of sales. With customers able to research anything they like online, in their own time, without talking to a salesperson first, the game has changed.
You have to be a part of their research, and you have to nurture them as they stroll through their buyer’s journey to make sure that when the time does come to buy, you’re top of mind. A good CRM software solution should account for this and go deeper than just maintain lists.
CRM Software is the key to growing a relationship with your leads
There are two broad things you need to keep in mind with selecting CRM software. One is whether you’ll actually be able to use it efficiently — and we’ll get into that later. The other is whether it has the right features, which means understanding what it has to do for your situation. If you’re embracing the new world of sales, this means you need:
- A place to maintain categorized contact lists
- Workflows to manage new contacts
- The ability to publish blogs
- Social media channel integration
- Landing page publishing
- Mailing list capabilities
- Robust reporting for all features
The New Sales Process CRM Software Enables
Blogging allows you to share educational information with customers researching solutions. A constant stream of targeted helpful content means your site ranks higher. Social media integration allows you to seamlessly share and promote this content to optimize your reach. Your blog posts lead to landing pages which allow your readers to convert into leads as part of offers.
Now that they’re leads, your job is to nurture them through the CRM software. They might not be ready to buy quite yet, but they’ve entered a relationship with you, and it’s up to you to manage that.
Nurturing the lead
Setting up a website that encourages readers to share their email address is one thing, but there’s a whole lot more work to do — and you need to be able to do it efficiently.
CRM software that has all of these features allows you to track and learn from the contact’s behaviours at every stage of the process. You should be able to see what turned them into a lead in the first place as well as how they respond to follow-up communications to build a firm understanding of what it’s going to take to win them as a customer.
Features are important — so are logistics
It’s one thing to have a powerful system capable of accelerating your sales but if you can’t use it effectively, you’re in no better a position than you were.
Some CRM software options have a hard time integrating with other technologies. Take an inventory of your existing infrastructure. You may need connection with everything from accounting to content to your web CMS, so make sure all your mission critical processes are clear before you move forward to ensure it can be deployed at all, and that you can get it ready as quickly as you need it.
Then, pricing varies based on features, users, and size of contact lists. Do you need a handful of users, or is your sales team a lot larger? Are you going to need enormous contact lists to manage a ton of leads, or do you work with smaller numbers? Does it have extra features that you don’t actually need, but have to pay for? CRM software will often charge based on these factors, so keep that in mind.
Sales team: meet CRM technology
There are two things to consider with your sales staff. First, the CRM software needs to be easy to use. If the software isn’t a breeze to use, you’re going to have a hard time motivating them. You need to spend the time to get familiar with the platform so you can be that internal evangelist able to demonstrate the benefits in obvious ways.
The other issue isn’t about the CRM at all, but the culture, the attitude, the willingness to adapt. Salespeople with experience in the traditional ways may be hesitant to buy in to this new CRM software because they haven’t been sold on the new process. They may be reluctant to share their leads, worried that they’ll lose out on their own sales.
But what’s it all about at the end of the day? The company increasing sales. Exceeding quotas. Smashing old records and leading the way in the new world of sales. That’s the kind of sales enablement you’re looking for from CRM software, so you’ll need to make sure it’s conducive to helping your salespeople adapt to this new way of thinking. Listen to their concerns, involve them, and work to produce a process that allows everyone to work effectively — and rewards them for it.
Our CRM Software Choice: HubSpot
There are many choices out there, but our favourite is HubSpot. We’ve used it to successfully help businesses throughout Canada and the US boost their sales and work more efficiently. It has a slew of must-have features all designed to produce an effective, repeatable sales cycle without bloat.
It’s also easy to pick up, user friendly, has social media publishing for the big three — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn — and can publish blogs and create attractive landing pages. It’s tailor-made for the new inbound sales paradigm.
Using it, we’ve helped more than 60 B2B organizations across Canada and the US and are always happy to meet for a quick advisory call.