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For any business worth its salt the main way of making a stable profit is through sales. While there is an increasing number of ways of reaching out to customers, we are way beyond simple marketing. The goal has become to create an integrated experience that will guide your customers through the sales process. We are here to discuss the ways CRM technology can streamline your sales funnel.
The sales funnel
Before we delve further into the matter of CRM technology, let’s get a few things straight first. The sales funnel is a buzzword that has been around for a long time. Funnel is an interesting word; it conjures up a mental image that appropriately describes the journey a potential customer takes. A funnel is widest at the top, as is the potential audience that we are looking to turn into customers. This doesn’t only apply to online businesses, mind you. However, online businesses have always looked for ways to boost their e-sales, and small companies have proved exceptionally creative. Sales funnels always had the goal of attracting and converting any type of lead to a customer. Leads used to be window shoppers, and now the focus is on website visitors.
Through the lens of changing technology, we have seen many other trends emerge. While the main focus in the 80’s used to be customer satisfaction, we have progressed far beyond those simple concepts. Companies are now moving towards customer experience as the main goal that should permeate the entire business. Customer experience is integrated into website design as the first point of contact with prospective buyers. Cursory interaction is the widest point of our sales funnel, but it must also reflect our business and its values.
The typical sales funnel has the following stages:
- Leads – Our future buyers will have a need or look for solutions to a problem they may have.
- Prospects – The middle part of the sales funnel has the buyers considering different options and contacting sellers.
- Customers – Buyers have made their decisions and have found the solutions for their needs and problems.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, it is a methodology that includes technology, software and processes to manage contacts. The types of contacts and relationships that are managed by CRM don’t necessarily include only customers. Internal, as well as external contacts, are managed, directed and tracked through the use of CRM tools. CRM is the fastest growing software market, and places like MoversTech CRM are offering ways to manage your business as a holistic unit. The ways CRM technology can streamline your sales funnel works for large companies, but also for small and medium-sized businesses. Automated data creation and streamlining the process of taking a potential lead all the way to a paying customer will benefit any company.
CRM technology and strategy
Before we are able to reap the benefits of powerful tools, we first need to understand how to use them. There are numerous ways CRM technology can streamline your sales funnel and interact with your entire company; however, we must understand what those tools represent. CRM on its own isn’t an advantage or a way to solve problems, but when wielded properly it can do wonders. Make sure to nurture user adoption of CRM in your company to get the most out of what these tools have to offer.
- CRM technology – these are the tools that you will use to enable communication and tracking of all contacts. They provide the framework through which information can be acquired, shared and used.
- CRM strategy – these are the ways of integrating the technology into our organization or business. We need to use the technology to enable our strategy, but also to find ways to standardize and optimize the use of the tools that power it.
Most common CRM features
Make sure you understand the power of the data granted by CRM and how to put it to good use. Everyone needs to be fully trained and comfortable in its use. Acting on leads is the only way to guide customers down the sales funnel. Choosing the right software for your business is more important than ever. There are many features that make CRM stand out.
The most common CRM features are:
- Contact management
- Tracking interactions
- Setting up reminders
- Email marketing
- Funnel monitoring
- Data analytics
By far the most important feature of CRM is contact management. Being able to coordinate and communicate with a growing base of customers will lead to customer satisfaction. Happier customers lead to more sales and a better bottom line. Collecting, coordinating and using data will let you create a tighter and more functional sales funnel.
What we have learned from CRM
CRM technology is growing and evolving. Many business owners are acting like evangelists constantly singing praises about the power of CRM tools. By now the ways CRM technology can streamline your sales funnel have become obvious, and last year’s statistics support this claim. Let’s dive a little deeper and see what we have learned about CRM and its use. Sometimes it is best to let the numbers speak for themselves.
- Market growth – In 2010 CRM was a $14 billion industry. Since then it has seen a constant and steady growth and is projected to be an $80 billion industry by the year 2025.
- Effectiveness – Following leads and nurturing sales has seen growth in several key areas. Stand out figures are sales boosts of 29% and forecast accuracy increases of a whopping 42%.
- Return on investment – studies show that the ROI has been high and consistent, going as high as $8.71 per dollar spent, and a 2% total revenue increase.
As you can see there are many ways CRM technology can streamline your sales funnel and improve your company’s organization. However, at the end of the day you need to be realistic – it is just a tool. Any tool will only be as powerful as the use you put it to. A skilled artist can draw a masterpiece with a B2 pencil, while others can merely draw scribbles. Make the most of any technology you invest in, and use CRM to stay ahead of the curve.