When you make a sale, the details of that sale can be used to create more sales opportunities. You want to know who the buyer is and what they need, so you can upsell and cross sell. You want to know why they needed your product or service so you can sell to others like them. And you want to know how they found you so you can reach others in the same way.

On the other hand, you also want to know the how’s and why’s of prospects that leak, so you can adjust your approach for a better outcome next time round.

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help you to do all of this, by storing all your customer and sales data in one place. Hence making it easier to track details and make decisions based on data. But it’s not just a magic tool that makes things happen on its own.

The success of your CRM relies on how you set it up and the way in which your team use it. This can be the difference between your CRM being a powerful sales tool and it being a complete waste of money.

Sales are hard to find and easy to lose

CRMs can drastically improve efficiency, productivity and even results among your sales team. But to ensure this, customisation is key.

Imagine a lead comes in and a member of your sales team starts approaching them as a new prospect at the very start of their buying journey. Except they’re not! This lead is actually someone who had previously come very close to buying from you and has now returned to finish the deal.

Your salesperson isn’t aware of this, though, because there was no clear information about the lead’s previous interactions in the CRM. By approaching them as a brand-new client, your salesperson embarrasses themselves (and the business), wastes the buyer’s time and potentially loses the sale.

In this example, your salesperson has used the CRM – but hasn’t benefited from it. If you invest in a CRM but leave it to work as a generic system, this will happen again and again. Without customisation, you will simply:

  • Not capture the right data (or end up with data that’s not useful)
  • Fail to achieve any benefits from using it
  • Have a disconnect between sales and marketing
  • Not achieve desired ROI
  • End up with everyone using their own individual process

Customisation starts with asking the right questions

Customising any CRM takes a lot of work. But when done right, the benefits will just keep on coming.

By setting up workflows and automatic actions based on your sales process and the buyer’s journey, you can make sure all data is recorded and the right process is followed. Every single time.

That means that no matter who is following up a lead – your longest-serving and most successful salesperson or the brand-new rookie – it will be done in the same way. You’ll find a lot of salespeople may not have used a CRM before, so you’ll need to equip them with the skills to understand it and use it properly from the get-go.

Setting all this up is not as complex as it might sound. Your sales team will already have a process for how they approach and follow up leads (even if they don’t realise it). Your workflows simply need to match this process.

To get this process agreed on and recorded in your CRM, prompt the sales team with a few questions that will help build out each stage. Here are some examples:

  • What do you need to know when the lead comes in to determine whether it is sales qualified? What questions do you need to ask?
  • What information do you need to progress a lead and where do you source this information from?
  • How many calls make up the average buying journey?
  • What do you say in a follow-up email/call and how soon do you follow up?

Think carefully about each step your salespeople take when engaging with a buyer – at every stage of their journey. Then, use all this information to customise your system to your exact needs.

Need help with establishing each stage of the buyer’s journey? This quick video will run you through it.

A CRM is a critical component of your sales and marketing engine

Once your CRM is customised and performing how it should be, you’ll start to see the efficiency and performance benefits it offers your sales team. But on top of that, you’ll also be able to use the information stored in the CRM to optimise other aspects of your sales and marketing efforts.

Working well, a CRM can:

  • Capture the right data at the right time and help improve sales and marketing processes
  • Tell you when and exactly where in the journey your leads are leaking, so you can improve stage processes
  • Tell you which leads are closing, where they’re coming from, and how much they’re spending, so you can determine the quality of leads vs. the number of leads
  • Show you which sales and marketing tactics are working best, helping you to optimise your campaigns

It’s important to remember that customising your CRM isn’t a one-off job but a trial and error process. Once initial customisation is done, start using it and make tweaks as you go based on feedback. It’s highly likely what you think you need at the beginning will change as you start using the system and getting a better feel of how it works with your sales team.

Customisation can be a big job when you consider it needs to match your internal processes and be (if possible) synced to your other systems.

A lot of organisations miss out on the benefits CRMs can offer, simply because they don’t have the time or knowledge to customise – or the team buy-in to make tweaks as they go. Are you juggling multiple different spreadsheets trying to maintain data? Or are their arguments in your sales teams about “the right” way to do things? It could be worth getting an expert in to help you out.

At align.me, our digital marketing specialists can help customise your chosen CRM to align with your internal processes, your buyer’s journey and your sales and marketing plan. Click here to learn more about our outsourced CRM and MarTech services.