10 CRM Quick Wins—and Why Your Sales Team Should Stop Using Spreadsheets and Email Alone

Written by Kathy Kassera Mrozek
10 Quick CRM Wins for B2B Business to Business

Marketers usually don’t need much convincing to use a CRM (customer relationship management system). Here are 10 CRM Quick Wins to help you increase adoption with your sales team.

First, the CRM, especially when linked with marketing automation, ties revenue to your marketing activities. Secondly, it automates so many routine functions you’ll have more time to work on strategy and other higher priorities. A CRM is also a single source of truth. The icing on the cake is that your CRM closely tracks customer behavior and helps you forecast the sales pipeline. 

However, many B2B industrial and technical sales teams have their own way of doing things, and in some ways, you can’t blame them for resisting change. After all, what they’ve done has worked in the past. Yet the world has changed, and the way B2B buyers approach the sales process has shifted dramatically. The rise of technology within sales and marketing has given leaders near “superpowers.” CRMs are no longer considered optional; they’re essential.

Yes, we love spreadsheets just as much as the next person, but spreadsheets and email are no longer the way to keep track of critical sales and prospect information. But sometimes, just by showing a sales team the productivity and automation tools that come bundled with a CRM like HubSpot is enough to get them to see the potential.  Additionally, companies that align their sales and marketing functions through a CRM and marketing automation platform achieve faster revenue and profit growth than businesses that don’t.

10 CRM Quick Wins

Here’s a list of quick wins and benefits you can realize when implementing a CRM. Our list is based on experiences we’ve had helping clients get started quickly vs. spending months to perfect an enterprise CRM for a “big reveal.” These quick wins will save you months yet produce impressive benefits from the start.

1. A single source of truth

This is easily the top benefit of using a CRM. You’ll have a central place for storing critical client information, such as service plan type, sales rep name, past purchases, lifetime value, and even support tickets.

How to get it: Pull together customer data from your disparate sources and combine in a spreadsheet, scanning for duplicates and errors. These data may come from multiple spreadsheets, multiple email systems, ERP systems, or other customer software. Work on cleaning it, but don’t delay the process by trying to get everything perfect. (If you’re missing someone’s birthday, don’t hold up the train trying to track it down).

A note on fields: Don’t be paralyzed by trying to add everything on the first go. Focus on the most critical information you already have for 80% of your clients. Less is more; keep things uncluttered. Here are the most important fields you’ll need in your CRM:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone Number
  • Company Name
  • Job Title
  • Contact Owner (Assigned Sales Rep)

Elect a CRM advocate internally who’s in charge of keeping data clean and updated. And, find at least one person on the sales team who’s an early adopter who can use the system before everyone else. They can demonstrate how powerful it is and how much it’s helping them, encouraging other salespeople to jump on board.

2. Visibility into past trends and future sales performance

Once you have a single source of truth with a consistent data structure, you can start seeing your data. Immediately, you’ll have more information to make decisions with more than your “gut feel.” You can see trends of past customer behavior and predict future sales pipelines.

How to get it: Once you’ve entered customer data into the CRM, the next step is importing or purchasing information. This may be difficult to represent for historical data, aside from manual entry for a handful of your most important clients and deals, so it’s important to start collecting current and future data ASAP. Set up a pipeline for current prospects and deals, representing the stages in your sales process, and tying to expected revenue and close dates.

In a tool like HubSpot, you can assign a value to specific stages in the pipeline. For instance, if they just contacted you and seemed qualified, but you haven’t yet spoken with them, you may give the deal a 15% chance of closing. Once they have a proposal in hand and are talking to you and one other vendor, you may estimate a 50% chance of closing. These percentages can be adjusted to automatically apply to each stage in your sales pipeline, which provides an ideal view of projected future sales, and a visual picture for which deals are most important based on size/expected revenue.

Your pipeline should represent each stage of your sales process and a percentage representing your confidence in closing at each stage. Additionally, each deal should include, at a minimum— client, deal name, expected revenue amount, and projected close date. Keep these fields updated regularly should they change (you may guess that a deal will be a $500k sale at the outset, but as you progress in the sales process, perhaps it shifts and becomes more robust.)

3. Ease of finding contact information

Guess what? After completing step one, you don’t have to go any further to get an easier way to find contact information for your clients and prospects. Instead of a multi-day affair involving numerous people, compiling a holiday card list or getting a crucial email notification to your clients and/or prospects is now a simple export or email sent from within your CRM and marketing automation system.

Once you’ve experienced this, you’ll never go back to living without a CRM.
Even simple tasks like calling a customer now involve one search because you know their phone number will be in the CRM, vs. sifting through numerous emails trying to find the one with their full email signature.

4. Segmenting, filtering, and better understanding client and prospect cohorts

By using consistent fields within the CRM, you’ll be able to filter your group of contacts and/or companies into useful groups for sending a customized or specific message. You’ll also have a better understanding of where the revenue comes from.

How to get it: Create fields on the company level for “prospect” (this may be your default for a new company) and “client” (you can often set up a workflow so once a company has a won/sold deal, the “company type” converts from “prospect” to “client.” Think about what other fields would be most useful to you in sending targeted messages or understanding the value of a group of clients/prospects. “Industry” can often help send targeted messages as well as gain numeric backing for a gut feel that, for instance, most of your revenue comes from the medical industry. Sometimes, once you dig into the data, you’ll be surprised that the sectors you thought were lucrative may not be as strong as others. Other excellent ways to filter: Last contacted date (useful for following up with old/stalled prospects); Associated deals, Owner (account manager or sales rep), region.

5. Easily and painlessly creating a repository of correspondence and touchpoints with current prospects (and clients)

By using email integrations, call integrations and other productivity tools, you eliminate the need for endless copy and paste and duplicate entries, while maintaining a repository of information that helps sales reps be more effective. A bonus: It’s immensely valuable if a sales rep leaves your company.

How to get it: One of the first tasks in setting up a new CRM, such as HubSpot, is integrating it with your email system (Microsoft Office 360, Google Apps for Business, or others). With this integration, you can set all emails to copy to the contact’s record in the CRM or click a checkbox to selectively add the message when emailing a prospect. The former is easier and more foolproof; however, it can add a lot of noise in the CRM if you use your work email to communicate with your vendors, personal contacts and others. HubSpot and other CRMs also allow you to send emails or even place a phone call from within the tool, which logs when that prospect was last called. The log also makes it easier to filter in the future based on the “last contacted date.”

6. Tasks/reminders and general productivity tools and shortcuts

CRM makers know there will be those who resist adopting a new tool. To help overcome that resistance, companies have integrated productivity tools to help show the value early on to busy sales reps.

How to get it: Tasks can be set up for follow up and checked off, and other workflow tools such as task queues, templates and calendar integrations. These allow reps to work faster, focusing more on the content and quality of their communication than on busywork and record-keeping, which we all know is difficult to keep up with, and, let’s face it, less exciting than getting on the phone and winning that big deal.

Our article, B2B Post-Conversion Optimization: How to Turn More Leads Into Sales, explains how to ensure quality leads aren’t lost once they complete your form.

7. Email segmentation and email sequences

Using a combination of the fields, segmenting, and workflow/productivity tools noted above, you can quickly and easily send personalized emails from a base template to a large or small group of contacts.

How to get it: Within HubSpot, you’d simply create a communication template as a first step. Don’t confuse this with an HTML email template, which is often more structured. The idea is to automate sending a tailored email to a specific individual, but have it appear (formated) as an everyday email. Write your template based on the message you want to send to a cohort of contacts, and then add personalization tokens for fields like first name, company name, and others where it makes sense.

Set up a sequence within HubSpot with one step, sending an email based on your template that you just set up. Optionally, you can set up additional follow-up triggers, such as creating a task for yourself to follow up within seven days or sending a follow-up email based on another template.

Filter or sort your contacts and select the group of contacts you want to send your message to. You’ll also have the ability to further personalize each message before sending through the CRM, which takes a fraction of time it would to copy/paste within your email software.

Continue to learn how to use email marketing by reading our article “How Email Marketing Can Put More B2B Leads in Your Hands.”

8. Multiple pipelines

One area of pushback on CRM adoption and integration with a website can be not wanting to add too much junk to the CRM for reps to sift through. Multiple pipelines solve this issue.

How to get it: Within HubSpot, you can easily set up multiple pipelines using any software version above Sales Hub Starter. We recommend thinking through the setup of pipeline stages and pipelines themselves to mirror your current sales process as closely as possible at the outset while aiming to make any inconsistencies more consistent.

Your setup may be different, but one standard method is creating separate pipelines for existing client deals, MQLs, and sales/new prospects (whether they’ve come to you by referral, phone call, or website contact.) New web leads through the website can be verified and vetted by marketing at the initial stage of the sales pipeline before assigning them to a rep for follow up. Conversely, you can have them enter the MQL pipeline first, vet them, and move them to the sales pipeline if they seem promising.

Stalled leads or prospects who show interest but aren’t yet ready to buy can be easily moved from the sales pipeline back to the MQL pipeline for further, more automated nurturing. Once a prospective client has closed an initial deal, follow-on work would be tracked in the existing client pipeline. It’s entirely OK to begin with a single pipeline for simplicity, but there’s value in tracking different types of deals in different workflows (pipelines).

9. Deal source

Some of the most valuable information for marketing is the ability to track which deals came from which marketing channels. More importantly, which deals that are high quality, end up closing, and contribute to a high lifetime customer value.

How to get it: Use your CRM and marketing automation tools to create a regular deal quality report that shows deal source (organic, PPC, social, cold email, paid social, referrals), as well as the specific campaigns, ads, keywords, first page seen and referring website, for every deal created. Most of this information is compiled automatically for you by HubSpot or a similar tool. Review this data with sales and track the quality of the deals from each channel and campaign, to allow you to double down on the activities that are working, and generating quality leads, and reduce spending that isn’t creating quality deals or is wasting salespeople’s time.

10. Lead scoring and activity feed

These two functions give you a seemingly magical ability to sense engagement in a prospect and reach out to them at precisely the right time.

How to get it: Out of the box, you can configure your HubSpot notifications so you’re alerted when a contact revisits your website. You can even see what page(s) they’ve viewed. You can send this email so you can promptly reach out to the prospect. Even if you don’t want alerts and emails, you’ll be able to view a prospect’s activity on your website in their activity feed.

When you set up lead scoring you can assign a numeric value to actions that a prospect takes, such as opening and clicking through a marketing email, viewing a certain number of pages or interacting with gated content. You can create a workflow to send yourself a notification email when a prospect has crossed a lead score threshold (a number you’ve set in advance that suggests a highly engaged opportunity). It can take some finessing over time to arrive at the right number for you, but it will improve over time with your adjustments, and you’ll find that your alerts signify a lead that is far along their path of self-directed research and ready to engage.

A CRM Call to Action

Our 11th CRM quick win for you is more of a call to action. Try any CRM for 30 to 60 days to see how it’ll impact your business. We’re pretty sure you’ll become more efficient, AND effective, while growing faster.

If you try HubSpot, Windmill is a certified HubSpot partner and can help you get up to speed quickly. We see your website and digital marketing as the hub of your marketing; CRM and marketing automation are important spokes in that system.

If you’re ready to augment your marketing or want to implement a tool like HubSpot

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