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Sales Management 101

A handy guide for sales managers to help build a productive sales process, manage the sales pipeline, and use CRM software to increase sales opportunities.

What is sales management?

What is
Sales management?

Sales management is an important part of a company's business cycle. Regardless of whether you are selling a service or a product, the sales managers are responsible for guiding the sales force, setting the goals for the team, planning and controlling the entire sales process and ultimately ensuring the implementation of the visions in the team. More than any other group in a company, the role of a sales team is probably the most important as it directly affects a company's sales.

One of the most important roles you have as a sales manager is setting up and implementing a sales process for your company. Let's take a closer look at how to develop the perfect sales process for your company.

What is a sales process?

A solid definition of a sales process would be:

A planned set of activities at each stage of your sales pipeline that will serve as a roadmap for the further development of the sales. The sales process starts with contacting a lead and ends with closing.

No company is the same, and the same logic applies to building a sales process. Ideally, your sales process should emulate the entire buyer interaction, and it should be clear and self-explanatory so that it can be understood even by a newly hired sales rep. As a sales manager, you should define a sales process that ensures that you achieve your specific goals at every stage and that leads can move freely through the system.

To understand where the sales process fits into a company, it's important not only to understand the marketing and sales funnel, but also to understand how a lead goes through the entire funnel.

Establishing a sales process for your company.

As you can see in the marketing and sales funnel illustration above, sales play a huge role at the bottom of the funnel, and it is vital for you as a sales manager that you have the right process of converting the leads from your marketing team forwarded to you. Below is a step-by-step explanation of what to do at each stage of the sales cycle to maximize your chances of converting the promising leads in your pipeline.

A step-by-step guide to building an efficient sales process

  • 01 Qualify leads
  • 02 Find out the prospect's requirements
  • 03 Address the problem
  • 04 Introduce the solution
  • 05 Explain sales value
  • 06 Negotiate and get a deal
  • 07Efficient implementation

Qualify leads

Once a lead has been identified as "qualified" by your marketing team, it is your sales team's responsibility to convert the lead from an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) to a SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). This makes it clear that the lead should be followed by the sales reps. During this step in the sales process, your team qualifies leads through a process called lead scoring.

Lead scoring is the way your leads are rated and ranked based on a set of criteria set by the company's sales managers. Commonly used criteria for evaluating leads include email engagement, whether marketing materials have been viewed, the lead source, the possible scope of the deal, and the number of link clicks.

Find out what the prospect's requirements are

Once your sales team has qualified the leads in the pipeline, it is the job of the sales manager to match the qualified leads with the sales representatives. Allocation of leads can be based on a variety of lead parameters, such as: B. Country, industry, size of the company and number of users.

Allocating the leads ensures that the right leads reach the right sales rep. Once the sales rep has been assigned a lead, it is their duty to understand the prospect's requirements so that the best product solution for the company can be recommended. Start with the most basic questions about your industry, and then dig deeper to learn more about their business.

Address the problem

As soon as you have established the first contact with the prospect and have clearly understood their requirements, the next logical step as the sales representative is to address the problems that the prospect is currently facing in their system. Remember, every sale is a solution to a problem. Your customers can give you clues about the problems they face on a daily basis.

For some prospects this can be too high a cost, for others it can be the time it takes to complete activities, and for others it can be the struggle to meet deadlines due to an inefficient process. As a solution provider, you need to identify the root cause of every customer problem and try to find a solution that your product offers. If it's a problem that your product doesn't solve, prospects can look for a more suitable product in the market.

Present solution

Sales reps need to remember that they are selling solutions to business problems. Once you understand a prospect's current problem, the sales reps need to create a compelling presentation that demonstrates the product's problem-solving abilities.

Schedule a convenient time to demonstrate your solution. Review your presentation ahead of time so that you avoid last minute setbacks. Using application examples, explain clearly what the use of your product will bring in the day-to-day activities of the interested party and for their company. Give prospects the opportunity to take notes about your presentation and ask questions if necessary. Show how your current customers have resolved similar issues with your product. In this way, you can increase the confidence of your future buyers.

Explain sales value

Selling is not just about promoting your product. Today's customers have a multitude of choices when looking for a product solution in the marketplace. Prospects can judge other competitors and it is your responsibility to highlight the value of your product to the prospect's business.

As a sales rep, you should always highlight the value of your brand. Show how you stand out from the competition and what elements make your brand the best buy for the company. In this phase of the sales process, your prospects clarify their doubts about the product or service you are offering. Sometimes buyers can feel like they are being pushed to make a purchase. As a sales rep, you need to make sure your sales pitch is less intrusive and more value-driven. In this way, you leave a lasting impression on your prospects.

Negotiate and close

You have worked hard to demonstrate the value of your product. The buyer is considering a purchase and you are only one step away from completing it. At this stage of the sales process, you and your potential buyer decide on the terms of use, validity and services that will be offered as part of the deal. The buyer can request a discount at any time, and sales representatives must negotiate within the company's existing discount policies.

It is also important that your pricing model remains fair and open so that the prospect can easily understand your pricing. This will also reduce the time your sales reps spend negotiating. It is important that negotiations in your sales pipeline don't take long. Learn to let go when your negotiations lead nowhere and celebrate success when it comes to win-win situations.

Efficient introduction

In business life, you are not just closing a deal, you are creating an opportunity for lasting customer relationships. The actual value of the purchase is achieved by the buyer through the use of the product. Ideally, this leads to additional customers for your product. You need to make sure that all of your product updates reach your customers at the right time. Always make an effort to inform your customers about new features. Send out surveys, find out how satisfied your customers are with their purchase, and impress them with a quick response to complaints.

Selling in the digital age

Like every other aspect of business, sales has changed over the years. The way customers buy has fundamentally changed. Customers no longer wait for a sales rep to walk them through the buying process. Research has shown that around 81% of shoppers do an online research before making a purchase. So it's especially important that sales teams are where their customers are.

If the corporate standard becomes a digital standard, your company must meet these requirements. The use of today's digital sales tools - for researching customer information through to predicting a possible deal - has enormous potential for positively influencing corporate earnings. The digital age has opened up a variety of ways sales teams can interact with their customers.

Benefits of digital selling

  • 37%

    Increase in customer loyalty

  • 32%

    More interactions over the internet and
    via mobile devices

  • 30%

    Increase in customer sales

Source: State of Digital Transformation Report, Altimeter Group, 2016

The CRM system as sales management software

"If it doesn't exist in the CRM system, then it hasn't happened."

Sales are all about getting the right data at the right time. The CRM systems have vastly improved the ability to achieve this goal by providing an organized sales pipeline for every company. In addition, all information entering or leaving the business cycle is simply recorded in a CRM application so that you do not miss any important information when dealing with customers. For example, with a CRM system in place, a sales rep can ensure that an unannounced call / visit to a lead doesn't get boring by becoming familiar with all of the relevant customer information.

Increased sales team efficiency, higher lead conversion rates, more automation and improved customer loyalty are some of the benefits of using CRM software for the sales management process in companies.

We've listed some key CRM features that can help companies significantly improve their sales performance.

Lead evaluation

It is not enough to simply generate a large number of leads. You need to be able to evaluate them effectively. As mentioned earlier, lead scoring should be the first step in your sales process. It is therefore extremely helpful to have a system that automatically rates leads as they enter your pipeline.

Lead scoring helps sales teams see the real value behind the various leads in their pipeline and set realistic goals for themselves. You can also find out which types of MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) are most transformed.

Live chat

Live chat is another area that has changed the way businesses interact with website visitors in real time. Live chat software ensures that sales teams qualify leads in real time and personalize their sales presentations before moving on to the next step in the sales process.

Integrated telephony functions

Unsurprisingly, sales reps spend the majority of their time communicating with their prospects. It is very difficult to establish effective communication if the interested parties do not have a telephony system that is integrated into their CRM. A cloud telephony system supports the sales representatives here. Many cloud PBX system providers (as they are usually called) integrate with popular CRM systems so that salespeople can call a prospect from their sales management system and provide comprehensive lead information every time.

Process management

CRM supports you in creating a sales process specially tailored to your company. As your business grows, it is important that your sales management process becomes scalable. This can be easily achieved with a scalable process creation tool in your CRM. With the process plan created in this way, the sales representatives can concentrate on the potential customer and are always informed about what to do at every step of the sales pipeline.

Email for sales reps

Sales reps can easily miss important emails with a traditional email client. However, if the email and CRM systems can communicate with each other, you'll never miss an important sales email again. This way, the most important contextual emails are displayed first, rather than in order.

AI for sales

Artificial intelligence is no longer a buzzword. It is now an important part of the modern sales strategy.

As a sales manager, you want your sales reps to spend less time manually entering data and more time communicating with prospects. With the help of an AI-enabled sales assistant, you can automate most tedious data entry tasks.

Territory administration

When your sales team is spread across multiple geographic locations, territory management becomes a top priority. The built-in CRM territory management function helps you define a sales plan and allows you to structure your team based on parameters such as geography, type of business and expected revenue.

Commission management

Nothing motivates a sales rep more than a reward for a job well done. Establishing an effective commission management system as part of the sales process is one way of rewarding your sales reps. A CRM system automates this process instead of having to manually split, calculate, and allocate commissions.

Sales analysis

What is the use of data without doing analytics? When collecting massive amounts of sales data, it's important to have sales management software that will help you track sales, identify key trends, and ultimately make decisions. As a sales manager, you can keep track of your key performance metrics, pipeline, and monthly goals.

Sales automation

Automating your sales process is key to increasing your productivity. Thanks to automation, sales representatives spend less time on administrative tasks, but have more time planning and executing their activities. Here are some key areas where automation can help you be more productive:

  • Reviews
  • tasks
  • Workflow
  • proposals

Have you ever lost an order just because you didn't ask at the right time? This is likely to be the case if you are not using sales management software to keep track of your priorities, just a traditional database management tool. By using a CRM system to manage your reviews, you ensure that you are interacting with every qualified lead in your sales pipeline.

Sales (like everything else) can be broken down into a series of regular activities. The ability to automatically create and update tasks pays off when you consider the amount of time sales reps spend on routine tasks.

Automated workflows help save time and ensure that sales reps can quickly complete a series of steps without manual intervention.By having workflows in place for each stage of your sales pipeline, you can effortlessly accelerate your sales process.

Automated, proactive suggestions from your CRM system can significantly reduce the time you spend on each lead. Examples of this include providing the best lead time to contact, predicting a success rate for the potential deal, and suggesting an appropriate email template.

Sell ​​on the go

Your CRM system should be ready for use anywhere. With a mobile CRM system, you can add and update data while commuting between business meetings and even offline. From trade shows, business meetings and networking events - both during a flight and on the move - you can use the apps for sales management to close deals while on the move.

Have you already found the right sales management tool?

Zoho CRM has been used in the enterprise software industry for more than 13 years and is now the first choice of sales teams around the world. Millions of salespeople in every major industry and vertical market trust Zoho CRM to close more deals in less time, and we believe Zoho CRM can be a great solution for your business too.

Zoho CRM comes with a built-in AI-based sales assistant that could potentially completely eliminate manual data entry from your sales process. Our other popular features include SalesInbox, an exclusive email client for salespeople, SalesSignals, a real-time medium for customer interaction, and Blueprint, an end-to-end process creation tool with an integrated analytics engine that you can use to make data-driven decisions can.

Allan Teruel, CEO, JusCollege

"With Zoho CRM, JusCollege's revenue grew from $ 1 million to $ 20 million in just two years. We are ready to make bigger investments in Zoho and increase our use of workflows and automation."

Chester Hull, Founder / CEO, Prosound

"Zoho CRM saves us a lot of time and allows us to have smooth, fast interactions with customers so we can get more work done every day. I recommend Zoho CRM as often as possible."

Arian De Maupeou, Co-Founder, Selectra

"Zoho CRM is the brain of our company, so to speak. It holds all of our memories. My executives can generate workflow loads and custom functions on their own. It is incredibly useful for us. We can now implement new initiatives faster."

Get started with the full featured free trial of Zoho CRM today.

We promise you will be delighted. Become one of 150,000+ companies that are doing more deals in less time.

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