The very definition of what drives success in the sales world has changed today. Deals no longer come down just because of a personal relationship – at least not necessarily.
Customers have started to make better choices because they have access to information & data, and more importantly, in comparing apples to apples, data will have them going for your competitor’s products/services over yours.
In essence, purchase decisions are no longer made solely on trust – so neither should your company’s business decisions.
What Is CRM Data?
A CRM is a Customer Relationship Management tool… which means it is bucket full of data and insights about your customers.
Most CRMs are equipped to handle sales funnels and some parts of your marketing processes too, which means that a customer enters the system even before they turn into a lead.
Usually, your CRM data comes into the picture the minute a lead is generated on any of your landing pages or touchpoints – these could be web forms, telephony numbers, messages on tracked email IDs, etc.
Your CRM picks up lead data from all these systems and assigns those leads within your sales team.
As soon as it is done, you already have the personal information your lead has submitted, as well as information on which channel, they discovered your brand through.
As each lead steps in your sales pipeline, you get even more information. When qualifying a lead, for example, you learn about their pain points/aspirations and what attracted them to your product.
These insights help you form a better picture of your customer base and hence your target audience, so you can better target people with an optimized marketing strategy.
Your CRM data, in general, will not only help you make better marketing decisions but better product design decisions, better sales decisions, better distribution decisions, financial decisions, and so on to maximize small business growth.
Business Areas You Can Use CRM Data to Optimize
Let’s look at a few areas – and a few ways – in which you can use data from your CRM to make better decisions for your growing business.
1. Build Better Marketing Strategies, Improve Returns on Marketing Investment
As we said above, a CRM is a great way to get insights into which of your marketing efforts are actually giving high-value sales results.
If one of your marketing channels is bringing in higher-end sales when compared to others, all you need to do is take a glimpse of the lead qualification report in your CRM and you’ll know – you’ll then be able to boost your investment in that channel.
Similarly, let’s look at the different data points that usually come with a CRM that will help you make better marketing decisions:
Lead Source Report
Most CRMs provide you with regular reports on where your leads come from. So, if you have a web form on your website, a web form on a campaign landing page, a virtual number on a hoarding/billboard for people to call, and a chatbot or say Facebook Messenger where your audience can get in touch, your CRM will tell you which one of these is bringing in the most leads for you.
If you combine these insights with data from your sales report (also generated by your CRM), you also have insight into the whole pipeline – which marketing channels are bringing you more end sales, and proving most profitable.
You can then optimize your marketing spend to invest in the most viable platform, and stop investing time/effort/money on others.
Lead Qualification Report
Lead quality always trumps lead quantity. A lead qualification report tells you all about the quality of leads coming in from the different channels.
If you’re getting more qualified leads from your website then the report will show you that. You can then stop investing the (invariably large) amount of marketing spends you are in other mediums, because it may only bring you quantity and not the right quality of leads.
Plenty of CRMs today help you build robust, thorough lead profiles for better consumer insights.
While some lead generation sources help the CRM fill out basic details automatically, a lot of other data can be recorded by your sales professionals too.
Basic lead data, for example, can be supplemented by LinkedIn and Facebook profiles – helping you round off the demographic information with psychographic information too.
Many CRMs, in fact, will then help create insightful reports that reflect a holistic breakdown of your consumer profile to better inform your marketing decisions.
2. Make Better Sales Process Decisions for Improved Resource Management & Efficiency
Whether you’re running a company or you are a sales head, one of your most important areas of results and growth is to optimize sales processes.
When your sales team runs as a smooth, seamless function of your company, it is reflected in your sales numbers – leads get handled better, data gets stored in a cleaner manner, the number of cold leads reduces, and so on. In short, you see a direct impact on your sales figures.
Let’s look at the different data points in a CRM that help you make better sales process decisions:
Lead Pipeline Analysis
Most CRMs allow you to set up customized pipelines i.e., customized pipeline stages based on your business’ buying cycle.
If, in your lead pipeline analysis report, you realize that too many leads are getting lost at the “demo booked” stage, for example, you can conclude that there is some potential problem in either the way the demo is being scheduled or conducted…the demo experience needs an overhaul, and you have the data to prove it.
Lost Deals Report
There are many reasons why deals are lost and cancelled, and a fair few of those reasons are out of your control.
The lost deals report from your CRM will tell you at what stage a deal was lost, who the attached prospects were, the steps and activities undertaken by the sales professional up until the deal were lost.
This allows you to do a thorough analysis of potential reasons why deals are getting lost (finding patterns in the data), and modify and optimize processes at your end – how often follow-ups are done, at what point, meeting/calls best practices, etc. – to minimize deal loss.
One of the biggest factors affecting your sales success and sales processes is your sales team’s productivity.
CRMs usually come with dashboards that give your team a list of follow-ups as soon as they log in, and there are usually tasks & reminders configured to ensure that no sales activity is left unattended.
That said, a CRM is only as effective as the salesperson using it – keeping their productivity up and ensuring sales processes are being followed requires a bit of monitoring on your/the sales manager’s part.
Productivity reports usually help in this regard by telling you where the team is collectively and individually spending time (in which activities) and what is getting left by the wayside.
Productivity is one element of efficient sales processes, but the real difference is made by the effectiveness of your salespersons.
Performance insights tell you how effectively your salespersons are conducting the numerous sales activities set in your sales processes.
If a particular salesperson is consistently losing leads in a particular stage or is consistently falling behind targets, if your team as a whole is lagging on expected revenue targets, and so on, your CRM will be able to keep you informed well in advance so you can resort to course correction as needed.
Call Reports & Listening
Do you find that a particular salesperson’s churn numbers are higher than the others? Or perhaps you find that one particular customer service sales executive has an excellent track record in retention and upselling.
One of the ways in which you can dissect and analyze your sales team’s selling skills is by looking at call reports and listening to call recordings.
Most CRMs offer this as a standard report or feature, based on hierarchy level – managers, for example, will have access to listen in on calls or barge in on calls, but peers won’t have the same liberties.
This is an excellent way to help convert a lead while the call is happening, as well as go back and dissect why certain expected outcomes are not being met.
3. Improve Conversion Ratios and Create Better Sales Outcomes
The most important metrics for small business growth are your revenue-led metrics: Your conversion numbers month on month, the sales targets you’ve set and achieved/not achieved, revenue from upselling and cross-selling, etc. This is also where you can best leverage your CRM data.
Reports to Help Improve Conversion Ratios and Create Better Sales Outcomes
Managing a business without the data is like going on a holiday with no destination. It might be fun in the start but you’re unlikely to end up where you want and you may lose opportunities along the way.
Keeping track of all the activities in your CRM is the first step to improving your business decision processes based on data. Kylas is one such CRM that can help you with that. The earlier you start measuring the data using SaaS software, the more information you’ll have to back up your decisions.