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So…. You’ve identified a list of prospects to communicate with, you’ve started to engage directly with these prospects and you’ve started to receive incoming enquiries, which are turning into new sales leads. You’re qualifying these leads and identifying sales opportunities, and you’re progressing these opportunities, some of which you’ll win, others you’ll lose. And along the way you’re sending follow up emails, making phone calls and having meetings with prospects.

That’s a lot of activity to keep on top of!

You might, of course, have a phenomenal memory and be able to remember all of the prospects, leads and opportunities that you’re working on. You may be able to remember all of the follow up calls and emails you need to make.

But I doubt it! I know I can’t.

Maybe you could develop a sophisticated spreadsheet that tracks all the activity for you….. but I wouldn’t recommend it.

To really keep on top of all your sales activity, you need to use CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.

CRM software is used to track leads, follow up with prospects and nurture them through the sales pipeline. It’s also used to maintain customer loyalty by storing key information to boost sales – for instance, by personalising the experience and providing excellent customer support.

There are a multitude of CRM systems out there; some free, some costly, some you access over the internet, some you install on a PC or in-house network, some designed for small teams, some for huge companies, some that link to your email and phone systems, some that automate your marketing activities, some that enable you to raise invoices and control stock items.

The range of options is huge! So where do you start?

Let’s think logically about we need to be able to do to keep on top of our sales activity. We need to able to:

• Track our prospects and customers and all the contacts we have within each company
• Manage these relationships
• Track leads and lead activity
• Track sales opportunities
• Remind us when we need to follow up prospects
• Track how successful we are at closing opportunities
• Enable anyone in the sales team (if we have one) to see what’s happening at any time with any prospect
• Generate Reports on what we’re doing, and our results and how likely we are to meet our targets
• Access our CRM data wherever we are, whenever we need it.

All CRM software providers will offer free trials and demonstrations. Use these facilities; it will help you properly understand the pro’s and con’s of each product and make the selection process more effective.

Choosing the correct CRM for your business is vitally important. Thinking about the topics above will get you started, but make sure you dedicate enough time to the research process to find the best CRM tool for your business. You need to make sure that you choose the best system for your business model. Using the right CRM software will be instrumental in helping you grow your business.

Usage of your CRM system should be mandatory, but sell the concept to the sales team by explaining the benefits to them. It will make them more efficient by automatically reminding them when contacts, leads and opportunities need to be followed up. They’ll be able to see, at any time, new leads that have come in for them to follow up, how likely they are to meet their sales targets and highlight if they need to be doing more to be successful.

Once you’ve implemented your CRM system you’ll be able to track your sales process easily and accurately, and see where you are in the process at any time.

Do your or your clients use CRM? If not, maybe we can help