7 CRM Best Practices For 2017

7 CRM Best Practices for 2017

How would you describe your sales CRM?

  • Easy to use?
  • Insightful?
  • A great time saver?

Probably not, right?

The fact is that most CRMs are a pain to use.  They suck valuable time from your day-to-day and are rarely kept up to date.

In fact, 87% of sales people believe the reason they’re forced to update their CRM is so that their manager can police their activities.

This often results in sales people just checking boxes, and doing the bare minimum to pass off as having completed their “obligatory CRM update”.

use-of-crm-systems-amid-increasing-b2b-pricing-pressures

However, companies who adopt a Sales CRM as a tool for Sales Enablement achieve some pretty impressive results…
Check this out:

crm-results

These results from Aberdeen Research prove that by having the right mindset to using a CRM effectively, impressive results can be achieved… and consistently!

Sadly though, an estimated 25-60% of CRM projects fail to meet expectations.

But fear not…

In this article I’m going to share seven CRM best practices for 2017.  After reading all the way to the end, you’ll be able to identify the right sales solution to guarantee 2017 as your best year yet.

So let’s get into it:

#1 – Clean, Reliable, and Up-To-Date Data

clean-reliable-and-up-to-date-data

Having clean, reliable, and up to date information in the CRM is essential for team collaboration.

But let’s be honest… do you really want to spend your time checking through last month’s data, and cleaning it up?

Of course not…

Which is why it’s essential you choose a CRM that does this automatically.  Some beneficial features that’ll save you time and keep things in check automagically include:

  • Duplication Prevention
  • Lead Age Indicators
  • Deal Movement Tracking – more on this later.

Unless you enjoy data-entry, I urge you to check whether your CRM is capable of all of the above.  It’s 2017 and it’s about time your CRM acted like it!

Related: CRM Segmentation: Knowing Your Customers Better and Preventing Data Clutter

#2 – Company Wide Snapshot

company-wide-snapshot

Another CRM best practice for 2017: Clarity.

“Clarity affords focus.” – Thomas Leonard.

Your CRM dashboard needs to be the first thing you see every day.  It’s the central control and pulse of the company.

At one glimpse you should be able to achieve full clarity over your company’s most important metrics.

As a salesperson this may include:

  • Your sales goals
  • Current leads you’re working
  • How those leads are responding to communications you sent the prior day

As a sales manager you need to be able to see:

  • Your team’s goals
  • Lead sources and their conversion rates for accurate forecasting
  • Top loss reasons so you can support your team in areas of weakness

Ultimately having this kind of clarity and visibility over the company’s performance brings everyone that much closer together, and highlights areas of weakness that you can focus on improving for the most impactful uplifts in performance.

Without it, you’re simply lost at sea.

Related: Sourcing Data from All Angles for Valuable Market Insight and Your Rally Road Book Is Your Sales Forecast.

#3 – Segmentation

Segmentation is the first step towards personalisation.  But taking a step back, lead segmentation is about organising your data so that relevant contact information is never more than a click away.

A CRM best practice for 2017 involves the automation of lead segmentation.

What do I mean exactly?

Let’s say you’ve just finished an initial Online Meeting with a new prospect.

You’ve spent 15 minutes on the call via your CRM’s SmartDialler, and have managed to successfully qualify them into the next stage.

As such, you simply drag and drop the prospect from the “Online Meeting” column to the “Push Column”.

Segmentation

The lead gets automatically tagged, a follow-up task is created, and an email is triggered thanking the prospect for their time on the call.

Automagical.  This is 2017.

Related: Make and Receive Calls Without Leaving Your CRM: Introducing Teamgate SmartDialer and Beyond Sales: How To Make CRM Work For Any Profession

#4 – Source Tracking

This is by FAR the latest and greatest CRM best practice for 2017!

Source Tracking is a great way of accurately predicting sales forecasts based on where a new prospect has entered your CRM from.

For example:

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Bob’s DIY Podcast

….you get the idea.

source-tracking

At Teamgate we’re huge advocates of the Inbound Sales process.  Which means we typically generate the majority of our new leads via web forms.

(By the way, you should be too!)

Now, based on where that lead has come from, we want to know the likelihood of that lead converting to a sale.

Fortunately for you and I, it’s 2017 and a the top CRMs will track this automatically for you.

I can’t stress enough the importance of  making sure your CRM has this capability.

It’ll highlight the lead sources that are most lucrative for your business, so that you can invest more in what’s working, and less in what’s not.

Deal? Good.

Related: Networking and Capturing of New Leads with CRM and Proven Ways to Utilize LinkedIn to Generate New Sales Leads

#5 – Deal Movement Tracking

Ever had a deal slip through the cracks?

Look, I know – we’re busy salesmen and it happens all the time, but there are measures we can take to ensure it doesn’t happen to you and I.

Deal movement tracking is brand new for 2017 and essentially allows salespeople to see the active movement a deal has gone through from stage-to-stage.

deal-movement-tracking

Why is this important?

With a quick look at your CRM’s Deal Movement board you’ll be able to see in an instant which deals haven’t moved an inch.  Allowing you to jump right on them and move them forward.

No more deal slippage!

In fact, Deal Movement Tracking is a real timesaver if you return from a vacation, and want to see what’s happened whilst you’ve been away.

Simply fire up the Deal Movement Board and see all the progress that’s happened whilst you’ve been away – obviously great for sales managers, and highly motivating for salespeople!

Related: How to Stop Being the Second Best in Sales?

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#6 – Geographical Insights

Does your current CRM allow you to see where all of your contacts are based on a map inside your deals view?

Ok, so this one may not be relevant to all businesses.  However, if you’re an international company it’s a great way of quickly visualising which countries are performing best for you.

Not an essential one in my opinion, but a great insights tool that requires no additional input on your part.

Seriously though, it’s very cool.  Just take a look at this example taken from Teamgate:

geographical-insights

#7 – Personalisation

Lastly, and probably one of the most important features of our CRM as we move into 2017 is the ability to get personal.

As salespeople we sometimes fall guilty of making our prospects feel like a number in a system.  Cold callers (yes, some businesses still sell like it’s 1982) have probably a lot to answer for on this front.

However, 2017 is the year to pay extra attention to personalisation.

Why?

It makes our prospects feel like we care because we take the time to care about what’s important to them.

This is a quote I like to use a lot when talking about influential sales tactics.

“People don’t buy when they understand.  They buy when they feel understood.”

Like that?  It’s so true though, right?

So how can your CRM best support this in 2017?

Your CRM should have a contact timeline where all calls, emails, website, and link clicking actions are recorded automatically.

personalisation

 

This means anytime you communicate with a prospect you can see the specific user-journey they’ve been on all right there in front of you.  And as such, you can speak to them in a way that fits the experience you know they’ve had so far.

Conclusion

Like anything, there are two types of people in regards to Sales CRMs.

  1. Those who blame it for their inability to perform to their highest level.
  2. Those who embrace is it as a Sales Enablement tool.

Hopefully these CRM best practices for 2017 have got you thinking about all the things you could be leveraging from a modern day sales tool in your own sales team or business.

In summary, our top performers are going to be capitalising on all of the following:

  1. Clean, Reliable, and Up-To-Date Data
  2. Company Wide Snapshot for instant Clarity
  3. Contact Segmentation
  4. Deal Source Tracking
  5. Deal Movement Tracking
  6. Geographical Insights
  7. Personalisation

Let’s make 2017 your best year yet!

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Vytautas Ramanauskas

Vytautas is a marketing specialist. A writer by day and a reader by night, he is passionate about helping people in all aspects of technology, sales intelligence, online marketing, and design.
Find him on Twitter @vytautasram

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