The usability of a CRM tends to be the first sacrifice made when attempting to account for every sales action and task in a sales cycle. Though it may seem like a necessary sacrifice at first, you will likely come to find that the data within your CRM suffers as a result.
More specifically, you may discover that sales reps will only enter information in your CRM at the end of a sales cycle in order to circumvent the pesky data entry experience. Not only will your forecast be inaccurate, but you will also lose the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the success of your sales process as a whole.
Fortunately, if configured thoughtfully, you do not need to sacrifice the usability of your CRM to handle the complexity of your sales cycle (or cycles!). Below are three important things to consider during your configuration process.
1. Quality, Then Quantity
You’ve probably heard that a CRM should not have more than “insert number here” custom fields. But while quantity is important, quality should be your first concern. Focusing on quality will not only ensure that your fields are meaningful, but typically results in a manageable amount of fields as a result.
For example, you may ask yourself, how do we currently segment our customers? By size? By location? A field for the answer is likely necessary in your CRM as you should be able to easily filter your prospects within your CRM by these qualifications.
Another useful question: how would you describe your best customer or prospect, and what information do you know about them? Fields pertaining to your answer should likely be leveraged within your CRM as well.
2. Big Buckets
When it comes to the milestones within your sales process, quantity becomes more important. Though your sales process may be multifaceted, try separating it into fewer, larger buckets.
For example, if there are many steps your reps – or even non-sales employees – must take in order to register a new customer, you probably don’t need a stage for each step. Instead, try a general “Customer Registration” stage with custom fields to capture each of the important steps on the way to this larger registration milestone.
Now, with a clearer distinction between stages, and firm exit criteria between them, your sales reps will always know where they stand in their process, no matter how convoluted it may be.
Without a guiding north star, all the thought put into the configuration of your CRM could be rendered useless. Especially with a complicated sales process, your sales reps need a clear goal to refer to when things get cloudy.
This goal should be obvious within your CRM, whether it’s on the dashboard or in reports. Some of our customers leverage the Sales Goal report, casting it live on their sales floor. No more mass data entry at the end of a deal cycle; instead, your representatives will know their goal and be motivated to enter in forecast data to see how they are tracking toward it.
Configuring a CRM to handle the complexity of your sales cycle without sacrificing usability may seem like a daunting task. The tips above should help in the process; however, your CRM can only be as “user-friendly” as the CRM software you use.
Moreover, your reports and forecasts are only as accurate as the data within them. Your CRM will only contain accurate data if it is easy to use. With thoughtful configuration of a user-friendly CRM, you will not only increase the accuracy of your forecast but likely your sales in general.
By Rose Serafini via Business 2 Community.
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