Friday, December 2, 2011

Five Ways CRM Can Help Your Salesforce

When companies purchase a customer relationship management (CRM) system, they are often surprised to find that the new solution is not always immediately embraced by the salesforce.

In fact, some sales reps believe that the primary purpose of CRM is to enhance sales management functions such as performance reporting and forecasting, and that it does little to make the day-to-day activities of the salesforce easier and more effective. Others may perceive CRM to be too complicated, and fear that the solution will add a new layer of complexity to their jobs.

But, for many businesses, CRM has clearly demonstrated its ability to provide immediate value to the salesforce by improving their ability to sell, and significantly increasing their success rates. In fact, a recent survey conducted by research firm CSO Insights found that almost 72% of firms surveyed indicated that

CRM was having a positive affect on salesforce performance.

CRM can benefit the members of your salesforce in five key ways:

* Increased Productivity
Almost every salesforce is burdened with numerous routine, cumbersome, manual procedures that can disrupt sales cycles and interfere with actual selling time. A CRM solution can streamline and automate pricing, order processing, and other administrative tasks, so reps can focus their efforts on those activities that directly impact revenues and profits, and spend more time working with potential customers.

* Stronger Relationships
CRM solutions provide highly-interactive analytical tools that empower a salesforce with valuable, timely, and accurate insight into buyer interests and needs. This allows reps to have better, more productive conversations with their prospects so they can build stronger, more personalized relationships with buyers which can help shorten sales cycles, increase the number of deals closed, and boost revenue-per-sale.

* Best Practices
With a CRM solution, a company can identify the activities that are most likely to result in sales success, and use that knowledge to implement and share a best practices methodology across their entire salesforce. Sales reps can gain insight into proven processes, and receive step-by-step guidance throughout the sales cycle. So, new members of the salesforce can get up-to-speed faster, and more seasoned reps have the tools and intelligence they need to close more deals.

* Enhanced Communication
CRM systems can help close the communication loop between the salesforce and sales management, as well as the support teams who will service the customer after the deal is closed.
This ability to share critical, time-sensitive information about a sale in progress (for example, a rep may need to request approval from a manager before they can offer a discount to a prospective buyer) can help make the entire end-to-end sales cycle more efficient, and help the salesforce close deals and earn their commissions faster.

* Reduced Costs
A CRM solution can reduce sales costs by increasing the accuracy and effectiveness of related processes. For example, when the dollar value and product mix of deals are forecasted more precisely, inventory costs can be dramatically reduced.

Additionally CRM can minimize order errors, saving the salesforce significant amounts of time by reducing the need to re-process incorrect orders, and eliminating the costs associated with replacing incorrect items that have been shipped to customers.

By conveying the key benefits of the new CRM system to your salesforce, you can help them realize the tremendous value the solution can provide them, and help increase adoption and usage rates.