Achieving sales productivity isn’t just a case of hiring more sales executives and hoping that extra people will equal higher productivity. Instead, the most effective way to optimise sales productivity is to streamline your processes and workflows and eradicate unnecessary or time-consuming tasks.
Although it sounds simple enough on paper, achieving sales productivity in real life is a different matter. Some of the biggest challenges faced by today’s sales teams include how to best qualify and follow up on leads and how to prioritise sales activities. And without the right software in place, the solutions to these challenges will remain out of reach. As a result, your company’s revenue will fall short of its full potential.
Is CRM the right answer?
We know that selling a CRM system to sales managers and directors is usually a much easier task than getting their sales team to use it. Traditionally, sales executives view a CRM as a way for their bosses to keep tabs on them and just another tool that they have to waste time updating. And while this can certainly be true in some cases, this is usually when a too-good-to-be-true system has been implemented.
These too-good-to-be-true systems usually fall into two categories:
- Claiming to be a fully-featured CRM entirely for free while not having anywhere close to the functionality needed to really help you or your team
- Showing off all the functionality you want in the demo but hiding behind a complicated pricing model that leads to unexpected costs mounting up if you want the system you were dazzled by
As a result, it’s really no surprise when these so-called ‘solutions’ fail to make a sales exec’s day-to-day life any easier.
Don’t give up on CRM yet
There are fully featured CRM systems out there that have no interest in hiding behind complex pricing models. Instead, everything you need to start boosting sales productivity is already included in the system as standard. And where there may be the occasional added extra, the pricing is simple, easy to understand and most of all, affordable. With the right CRM in place, even your sales team will struggle to find something to complain about as the system effortlessly delivers on improving their day-to-day.
But how can you tell if the CRM you’re looking at is going to be more of a help or a hindrance? To help, we’ve put together a list of must-have features that should be on your list when shopping around for a CRM to help with sales productivity.
6 must-have CRM features to boost sales productivity
1) Workflow and automation
One of the biggest complaints of every sales team is unnecessary manual work, such as manually logging activities in a CRM or filling in lead information. This is where a CRM with sophisticated workflow and automation features comes in. Areas that are perfect candidates for workflow and automation include:
- Activity tracking and creation
- Emails when certain triggers occur (such as when a lead’s score reaches a particular threshold)
- Note creation based on status changes
- Assigning leads to the correct territory
- Lead and opportunity qualification
The possibilities are endless, but the key to any good workflow and automation set-up is to remember that simplicity is key. That’s why it’s a good idea to map out the processes that you want to automate before setting them up in your CRM. This way, you can build a full picture, easily identifying any areas that need to be simplified and understanding how they will all work together instead of creating them in isolation from one another.
If set up correctly, these workflows and automations will help your sales team recognise that your CRM system actually reduces the amount of manual data entry they have to do, giving them more time to focus on the task of selling and building relationships.
2) Lead management
The ultimate tool to capture and streamline your leads, lead management was a no-brainer choice for this list of must-have features to help boost your sales productivity. By having a dedicated lead database that is fully integrated with, but separated from, your main CRM database, your sales team are free to efficiently generate new business without compromising the quality of your main CRM database.
A lead management tool also acts as a natural bridge between the efforts of your sales and marketing teams. For instance, with Gold-Vision’s lead management tool, leads are automatically captured from sources of your choice, such as web forms, page visits, social platform interactions, or live chat tools. Working with marketing, your sales team can outline a lead scoring strategy that automatically allocates the relevant score to each interaction. Sales can quickly prioritise their follow-up efforts to focus on the hottest leads, and marketing can understand which assets are the most effective. And if a lead passes your qualification process, your sales executives can promote them into your CRM with one click while still being able to view the full lead history.
3) Communication tools
A good CRM will consolidate all your various communication sources, such as automatically tracked emails (via integrations with Outlook or Gmail), notes, phone calls, and live chat transcripts, into one central view at the account and contact level. With Gold-Vision CRM, you can also integrate with eSign tools such as Adobe Sign. As a result, you can view the status of sent documents, such as contracts or proposals, within the same record.
The purpose of presenting all of this in one view is to help you and your sales execs develop one version of the truth without having to waste time searching through emails, pieces of paper or disjointed notes. Instead, anyone can view those records and easily catch up with all previous communication in the context of what’s been going on. This saves your sales team heaps of time while also providing a consistent experience for your customers because everyone they speak with has access to the same story.
4) Time management
Time tracking and management are traditionally viewed as tools that are just there to help project managers and their teams. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially when we’re talking about boosting sales productivity.
Your sales team can use these same time tracking tools to monitor how much time is spent on different customers, prospects, and lead management activities. By using it in this way, sales managers can better understand where their team’s time is going to plan out how to distribute the team’s resources more effectively.
With an intelligent time management tool, you can also help speed up invoice generation if you work in an industry where time is a chargeable commodity. For instance, you can use Gold-Vision’s Time Management tool to create units, such as 1 day of Consultancy or 2 days of Support, which can be added to quotes with ease.
5) Quick quoting
Speaking of quotes, generating them is usually an extremely manual process without a CRM system in place, pulling on data held in spreadsheets or disconnected ERP systems. This is especially time-consuming if you have specific pricing that is unique to each customer.
However, with a CRM system in place, this is another area where you can save your sales team valuable time and ultimately boost their productivity – especially if your CRM can create quick quotes. In Gold-Vision, your sales team can generate branded and accurate quotes in just a few clicks. They can also auto-calculate customer-specific pricing based on pre-agreed pricing structures.
To take this a step further, integrate your CRM system with your accounting system so that your sales team can take orders directly in your CRM without having to duplicate their effort by updating two disconnected systems. Simple!
6) Reporting & dashboards
With more data available than ever before, there’s plenty of opportunities to really dig into the stats, identify what’s working, and get an accurate view of sales forecasts and new business opportunities. Without accurate analysis of this data, your company is more likely to miss out on opportunities to improve productivity and identify areas where better decisions can be made. As a result, areas such as win rates and conversions rates can drop, and sales cycle length can increase.
However, getting all this data under control and in a format that can be easily understood can be extremely time-consuming if sales managers and their sales executives have to do it manually.
By consolidating all of this data in a CRM system, your sales team will be able to adopt a systematic approach to close more deals. This is thanks to a wide array of reporting and dashboard options and functions that are quick to create and stay up to date automatically. For instance, in Gold-Vision, you can build a live view of your sales pipeline accessible to your entire sales team that can be used to better plan. Individual users can also create their own dashboards to manage their day-to-day activities and personal forecast.
Bonus: Marketing automation
It may seem strange to include marketing automation in a list of must-have CRM features for sales productivity. Still, there’s an excellent reason for its inclusion – sales and marketing alignment. Using a fully integrated marketing automation tool makes aligning these two sometimes opposing teams around common goals and processes so much easier. As a result, the productivity of both teams’ benefits.
For sales, particularly, the benefits of marketing automation include the ability to work with marketing to map out an accurate vision of the customer journey. By doing this, nurture and customer onboarding campaigns can be created that are much more effective and eliminate manual intervention from sales. You can also set up alerts to notify sales when leads reach certain stages in the campaign or complete certain actions, such as clicking a link.
Although it does come with a one-off, extremely competitive cost, Gold-Vision’s marketing automation tool is extremely versatile and can be applied to your customers’ entire life cycle. Well worth the extra investment.
Single point of truth
With the right CRM system, all of your key information can be kept in one place, your sales execs and managers will be fully informed at all times, and decision making will improve tenfold. As a result, boosting sales productivity becomes a goal that is easy to achieve and maintain, rather than an elusive pipe dream.
Speak with a team member today to discuss exactly how Gold-Vision CRM can help you realise your sales productivity dreams and take them to new heights.