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7 ways to use CRM to dramatically increase sales.

Updated: Jan 16



Is it possible to 2x your sales opportunities by changing a few CRM habits?


I think so and that's what I'm going to show you in this blog post.


A CRM system is an unbelievable tool for a business, but you have to ensure the sales team uses it correctly! In this blog post, we'll go over effective strategies for using CRM so that you can close sales and keep all of your customer contacts organized. By the end of this post, you'll be a CRM ninja and know the best practices for using CRM.



1. Enter contacts into CRM immediately

Having a sense of urgency about entering a customer contact into CRM is more crucial than covering tomato sauce with a paper towel in the microwave! In sales, there is always something that needs to be done, but after meeting with a new customer, make sure to enter the new customer's information into the CRM before moving on to the next task. 


The best practice is that all of your customer contacts are entered into the system immediately after you meet them. It's also important to ensure you get all the relevant information related to that customer contact. You want to have the products they're interested in, what applications they will use the product for, where they're located, and their contact information. 


Having this information together in one spot allows you to conduct different activities with marketing outreach that is segmented and targeted toward particular customers. Otherwise you could be sending a Star Wars promotion to your Battlestar Galatica customer base and that is obviously, ahhh... sorry I just realized I'm geeking out here, let's move on...


You'll also have a record of all of the activities or quotes that have gone out to a specific customer. This helps ensure that your pricing is consistent and allows you to have historical records to analyze purchasing trends for a particular customer.



2. Keep customer contacts updated regularly.


You must regularly update the contacts in the system. This could be deleting outdated contacts, changing addresses, and removing email addresses that get bounce-backs from marketing programs. The integrity of the data in your CRM system is essential to making it effective. 


Performing a cleanup of your customer contacts once a year can turn into a massive undertaking that nobody wants to do and probably won't get done. Just like cleaning out the... uhhh, I guess just like cleaning.





So it's better to stay on it daily, and whenever you're running a marketing program and you get feedback on the contact information that's out of date, make sure to edit it in CRM immediately.


Staying on top of this data also makes your marketing efforts much cheaper, as sending out mailers to addresses that are no longer relevant is a waste of resources.



3. Quote customers immediately. 


Interestingly, when I considered replacing a bay window at my home. I had contacted several contractors to come out and give me estimates, and one contractor never even sent a quote. Another contractor sent me a quote a week late, making me suspect that everything else would also be late if I gave them the job. 


It's common for salespeople to have a fantastic meeting with a customer, get excited about the opportunity and then take that excitement to go grab a delicious lunch and completely forget to send out the quote...


Research shows that delivering quotes quickly to customers increases the number of items quoted monthly and leads to a higher quote win percentage. (Rayon et al., 2013). So, make it a habit to send a quote to a customer after meeting with them. That way, you get it out of the way and leave a great impression.



4. Immediately set up a follow-up calendar reminder. 


Sending out a quote is great, and getting it to the customer immediately is even better! But if you want to stand out, ensure you have a follow-up at the appropriate time. Create a calendar alert for that follow-up to make sure it gets done. 


The effectiveness of follow-ups to gain business depends on the products sold, but having a courtesy follow-up after sending someone a quote shows that you're interested, organized, and professional. Giving the customer this impression goes a long way to trying to earn their business. 



They know that if they have a problem, they'll be able to reach out to you, and they should be able to get an answer back quickly, which will separate you from the pack. One note, though, with the follow-up. Just one is enough. You don't want to annoy your customers by being overly persistent.




5. Stay in contact with a personal touch.


Some businesses are truly one-sale type businesses. Still, most companies look for recurring revenue from the same customer base (like how Cinnabon has me every time I walk in a mall), and the goal is to expand that active customer base. To do this, businesses give customers an excellent buying experience. 



As a salesperson or marketer, you can add to this customer buying experience using CRM by sending your customers notes that celebrate specific days of interest to your customer. You can send holiday cards, or a anniversary card for the first time they purchased from you.


You can send any type of personalized card that marks something interesting. Also, implementing humor into this card can help differentiate you in the customer's mind. All this goes a long way toward creating an excellent customer experience and can be used to build your brand. It doesn't necessarily cost much money; creativity can sometimes exceed a large budget.



6. Use detailed customer information to provide value


A very sound business strategy is to provide customers with value for free to demonstrate your capabilities. Your value will show the customer the professionalism and capability you can provide as a salesperson or a company. 


For example, I received different pieces of marketing collateral from Financial firms, and typically it puts me to sleep. It's usually broad-stroke information about how they service their customers and some information about how they're differentiated from their competitors. 


This is good information, and it's marketing 101, but what would really impress me is if they sent me sophisticated market data that was some of the secret sauce they use to make investing decisions.


Some people might say "Oh, they're giving away the information they create from resources that they have. The reason for signing up with our financial firm would be to gain access to those resources, so they're giving it away without any payback." However, if you look at many businesses online, they're constantly providing value without asking anything in return. This is one of the most successful marketing strategies in the market today. 


What you're doing when you're providing a lot of value is demonstrating the level of professionalism and capability that your firm has, so the more information that you give out, the more impressive you seem to a potential customer base, and I believe that this strategy will yield much greater sales results than keeping a lot of that information for current customers only.



7. Use calendar reminders to see the customer 

This step might sound a little presumptuous for a sales technique, but let me share a story that might change your mind. 


The septic service company we use stopped by unannounced to check on our septic system. They stopped by because they had done some repair work about a year earlier, and it was getting to the time when they needed to make some final adjustments after their initial repair. Instead of calling and setting up an appointment, the owner's son stopped by. He said he was in the area and wanted to come and check on the septic field. I was blown away; it demonstrated a level of service that I don't see with many businesses. 


Businesses are often so busy that they don't believe in-person visits will make a big enough impression to justify the time, but it does. Your customers are people who like to be treated with high service levels. 


The interesting thing about the septic company that stopped by was that I was considering using another company to do the rest of the work. I wanted to get a second opinion on the repair work that was done about a year earlier. But when the owner's son dropped by to check in, I was so impressed that I decided to stick with this original company because I believed in their dedication to doing a good job. 


Just like the difference between drinking wine or rum all of these tips are about the same thing: providing a very high level of service and professionalism. A CRM is only a tool; to really get the most benefit from it, you have to have a sense of urgency, prioritize the customer's needs, and give a level of service that goes beyond normal expectations. 


References


Rayon, A., Damodaran, P., & Ghrayeb, O. (2013). Improving the quotation process: a lean case study at a job shop. International Journal of Rapid Manufacturing3(4), 248-265. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJRAPIDM.2013.055966

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