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Five reasons why you can’t afford to procrastinate on CRM!

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 10 Apr 2009 Comments: 0
By James Carter, President, Path Marketing, Inc.   

1. Leads cost money, and your team is probably dropping more than you think! According to a major study of top US firms conducted by CSO Insights, over 50% of leads are not properly followed up, and only 20% of all leads are actually followed up in the recommended fashion!

2. Do more with your existing database! The existing database is the single most neglected asset in most small to medium enterprises! It costs 500% more to get a net new customer than it does to nurture and up-sell or cross-sell an existing one. But for some reason everyone is addicted to the “what’s new” dogma! What’s new is right in front of you, assuming you have a CRM system from which you can effectively mine and execute marketing campaigns.

A second part to this is re-engaging leads. Without a coordinated marketing database, leads that are not qualified are generally discarded. Studies have shown that over 50% of disqualified leads may just not be willing to purchase today, but could result in a sale eventually if you make the effort to keep your brand in front of them. In this way, a CRM database can be a two-way bridge between sales and marketing efforts, ensuring that leads that are not immediately sales-ready are still being nurtured with e-mail newsletters and relevant information.

3. Accurate reporting and better coaching Okay, that’s more than one reason, but a well implemented CRM system can not only deliver reports in real time and tell you where things are, it can also be set-up to reinforce best practices every time.

Reports can now be dynamic. No more excel sheets: opening up a report means a sales manager can drill down on an opportunity and immediately see:
  • What decision makers were contacted and when?
  • What are the defined next steps?
  • Have client’s needs been captured completely?
  • Is the deal really as far along as they think it is?

A good CRM system can completely change the dynamic of a sales pipeline review from one where the sales manager asks the same questions over and over again:

  • Who’s the signing authority?
  • Did they say that we were the top pick?
  • What were their top needs?
  • What is the business case/ROI and who are the competitors?

Leave micro-management to the system. All these questions are captured in the opportunity record so that weekly meetings can be much more strategic; that is, “how can we win this deal?”

4. Increase per-rep effectiveness and goal-focus with dashboards A properly configured CRM system can not only help reps be more effective at closing business, but can also help them keep the funnel moving with real-time dashboards. Products like can actually set-up a dashboard for each rep.

It is a great exercise to sit down with a rep and set-up the dashboard goals in relation to the plan. They really love the dashboards, and it transfers some ownership of goals to the rep so that they don’t get a nasty surprise at quarter-end when they don’t meet their quota. Instead, every day, they can see if they’re on track.

5. What if every deal was done “the Right Way?” Most people admit that after about every fifth sales meeting, they walk out and say “I did everything right today!” Sales is not a skill so much as a science—a series of steps that will get you the result you are looking for. If you have a well defined idea of what these are, using a CRM system to map them into a sales record can mean dramatic improvements in your closing rates.

A well constructed CRM system can map your company’s sales practices to ensure that all these key steps are being met every time.

  • Budget
  • Needs
  • Authority to sign off
  • Decision makers
  • Influencers
  • Etcetera

If you even think you might need CRM, you’re already leaving thousands of dollars of revenue on the table! At a minimum, every customer we work with who says “yeah, we might benefit from CRM” will see a lift of 10% in top-line sales by doing so.

James Carter is President of Path Marketing Inc., one of Canada’s leading CRM consulting firms for SME to Mid Market. As and ACT! Certified Consultants, James has helped over 300 companies to increase sales, customer retention, and many other factors attributable to successful CRM implementation. If you think it’s time to get your CRM tuned up, or you’re just starting out, you can find them at Path Marketing.