Quick Disclaimer - In this article we’re going to be talking a bit about CRMs (Customer relationship management is a technology for managing all your company's relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers - SalesForce) Now, I have used CRMs in the past and haven’t been a huge fan. And I’m not entirely sure why. As simple as they try to make it, I have yet to find a layout that’s organized to the way I like it and most of the time I feel frustrated trying to learn the new tool rather than letting the tool work for me. That being said, we’re going into today’s article with a totally open mind and hope to find some CRM information that helps me choose a new tool for our company. So if you’re new or uncomfortable with CRMs but still respect the work they can do, this article is perfect for you.
Building Your Sales Funnel - Now that you understand the visual representation of a Sales Funnel let’s get into how you can actually use it to:
Help your business contact prospects at the ideal times
Reach out with the ideal content
Stop leads from slipping through the cracks (this one’s huge for my team and I)
When building out your Sales Funnel it seems to be the most efficient use of time to utilize a CRM software tool. These tools are literally built to do all of the monotonous work that sucks time and fun out of the sales equation. Yeah a reverse fun sucker, how bout it! Your CRM basically takes all of your top of the funnel audience, all your prospects and starts organizing them based on the data you have on each lead. It organizes them into 3 main categories:
Step 1 - Capturing - The first action a CRM does for you is capture all of this data and information that is available on your leads. Name, phone numbers, emails, website urls, the basic business profile points. It can capture leads that visit your website, fill out forms, interact with your socials, or open your emails. It then moves the leads through the Sales Funnel over time by capturing and recording when and how you interact with these leads.
Step 2 - Qualifying - One of the longest trials of the sales process is qualifying your leads. Each lead is different and the only human combatant for qualifying leads is experience over time. Until you gain the proper amount of experience this can be a long process of trial and error in which you go through the entire list of leads attempting to rank or qualify each one’s capability of working with you.
Not anymore! With new technology such as AI, “the CRM can qualify the leads for you based on the lead’s property, interest and behavior; saving you time and energy from scrambling inside the funnel.” (-Fresh Works)
Step 3 - Engage - Okay now that you have successfully added and ranked the quality of all your prospects it is time to commence the Sales Process. You can start by reaching out via phone or email to the top ranking leads in your database OR you can take full advantage of the CRM and set up email templates that you can quickly send out and even automate to be sent out to new prospects that meet the criteria of your lead qualifications. Pretty nifty.
Most CRMs will track your conversations (in a totally non creepy way though) and make note of when you last reached out to a lead, if a lead has opened and read your most recent email, or if they’ve liked any of your recent Social Media posts. This can be extremely helpful for gaging the interest and effort that a prospect is bringing to the table. It can save you from wasting time on reaching out to people who never engage or open your potential interactions.
Honorable Mentions and Helpful Tips
Keep your Sales Funnel full at each stage. It starts at the top. If you aren’t always adding people to the top of the funnel then eventually the middle and bottom will dry up as well.
You have to move leads from one stage to the next. CRMs only track the information that they are given or can find. It’s still up to the Sales team to sell and do their part to move leads from one stage to the next.
Don’t rely on pure memory. Everybody forgets to follow up or touch base with leads after a while. Utilize the CRM tool to send out automated emails if you haven’t heard from a lead in a while or to send you reminders of when to initiate follow up engagements.
Pick a tool that appeals to you. It’s important that you like the look and layout of your CRM since you’ll be spending a lot of time leaning on this tool. If you end up dreading logging in to your CRM then you’ll eventually develop a negative connotation with your sales activities and we don’t want that. Sales is what keeps the lights on and the fridge full!