CRM / SFA That Accelerates Sales The Sales Process Integration Approach

Has your company struggled with Sales Force Automation (SFA) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software? If so, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that between 65 and 80 percent of all system implementations end in failure*. Sales people don’t like working with software, and each rep uses the system differently. Customer/prospect data is inconsistent and poorly maintained. Management doesn’t get the forecasting and reporting visibility that it needs. Instead of being a productivity tool, CRM systems can easily end up being a drag on sales team performance.

Does this description sound like what’s happening at your company? If so, it doesn’t have to be that way. Imagine a CRM system that provides your sales people with a valuable tool for increasing their productivity, and growing your company’s sales.

Sales Process Integration means taking a holistic, “Best Practices” approach to building an effective sales system that is repeatable, easy to understand and follow. When done right, a CRM system immediately starts increasing sales pipeline visibility, lead follow-up and close ratios.

The key to CRM success is laying a solid foundation, before you select or install any software. Here are some key steps to take, whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping an existing system:

  • Develop a detailed description of your sales process, including sales stages, actions to be taken at each stage, sales/marketing tools to be used, responsibilities (Marketing, Inside Sales, Field Sales) and timelines. This can be easily done in a matrix format.
  • Use Visio or other software to create a flowchart of your sales process. By defining your process in this visual format, you and your team will develop a complete understanding of all possible sales scenarios, and how to effectively manage prospects through each stage of the sales cycle.
  • Assign a probability percentage to each sales stage that everyone can agree to and follow. A simple list of probabilities looks like this:

Unqualified Prospect 0%
Qualified Prospect 10%
Proposal Sent 25%
Decision Imminent 50%
Verbal Commitment 75%
Purchase Order Received 100%

  • Define your sales reporting and forecasting requirements. Develop a detailed description of each report to be run, task responsibilities/dependencies, the information to be captured, and reporting frequency.

*Source: Aberdeen Group

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