For those who know me, I fall under the "process-oriented and data-obsessed" class of entrepreneurs (typical for those in the web-tech space). One of the most important decisions I've made since founding Growth Spark has been implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) software to track our sales activities. The data gathered a year after implementing the CRM: 480% increase in sales-driven revenue. Is that entirely driven by the CRM alone, certainly not, but I can tell you that it's made me unbelievably more efficient in my sales process. In this article, I'd like to explain why you should consider using a CRM in your company and what solution you might want to implement.
Why Use a CRM
For those of you who aren't familiar, a CRM acts as a central hub for all things sales-related including follow-up tasks, sales goals, sales projections, sale staff assignments and customer communication. Most people think to themselves, "I do fine managing that sort of information with excel, paper, (insert inefficient tool) . . ." This mindset is completely normal as most people (other than myself) aren't obsessed with implementing tools and systems at every level of their business. However, sales should be your number one priority and gaining efficiency with how you tackle sales should drive that priority. Every dollar you invest or minute you spend creating a more efficient and effective process for managing your sales can translate to a tenfold ROI (or a four hundred and eighty-fold).
There are a number of CRM solutions on the market, with SalesForce probably being the most popular. We've worked with SalesFoces during a number of client projects, particularly those that we've integrated a CRM solution to help track lead generation. I won't down-play the awesomeness that SalesForce has to offer, but many people find that it's at times, 'too awesome' and too robust of a solution. As such, I'd like to present PipelineDeals.
Why Use PipelineDeals
We've been using PipelineDeals for well over a year now and have found it to be a simple yet highly effective tool for managing our sales process. It's an ideal CRM for service-based businesses that focus on fixed-cost 'deals' and low volume transaction-to-client sales ratios. For those less nerdy, if you typically only have a small handful for 'sales' per client, this is you're fit.
There are a laundry list of features PipelineDeals has to offer, but I'd like to highlight my favorites and most-used:
- Email Tracking: PipelineDeals makes tracking all outbound email communication to clients very easy. Simply BCC your dedicated PipelineDeals email address and the email will automatically be associated with any contacts on that particular email. This is a great way to keep a clear record of your follow up activities.
- Deal Tasks: Sales involves heavy communication and material preparation. Staying on top of emails and phone calls you need to make as well as proposals you need to draft can get overwhelming. PipelineDeals easily breaks down specific tasks and events associated with each deal you're working on.
- Goal Reporting: Most companies find traditional 'sales pipeline analysis' with weighted deal funnels and projections too complicated for their business. Although PipelineDeals offers functionality that can cater to data-centric nerds looking for these types of features, PipelineDeals also has a simple 'goals' tools that allow companies to track broader sales metrics such as quarterly revenues or close rates. These types of metrics simple and insightful ways to measure your company's sales performance.
Overall, I'd encourage any organization with a focus on sales (which should include everyone) to consider the value they could gain from implementing a CRM into their sales organization. For starters, I'd certainly recommend using PipelineDeals but would suggest taking a look a number of solutions to determine what best fits your sales process. We're happy to discuss our experiences with sales management with anyone interested, just contact us and let us know what you're interested in hearing.