CRM 2011 Create a Formal Sales Process First

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Do your sales people work on just hot prospects? Are your potential deals stalled in a certain phase? What, you don’t have a phase? Then you may want to create a formal sales process with clear steps and decision benchmarks to turn up the temperature. Without a formal sales process, CRM is just another drive through window where salespeople take shortcuts to enter the bare minimum account information to satisfy their sales managers.

Step 1: Define milestones in the sales process with a requirement that is met before the lead becomes a prospect, then a prospect becomes an opportunity, and so on. Keep a vocabulary consistent with the corporate culture of your company.

Step 2: Survey the sales team on what they need for speed. In CRM, customize drop down boxes, templates, and workflows to automate, automate, automate. Position CRM as an assistant to help them and match the sales process.

Step 3: Different skill sets among sales people? Perhaps one person is a great hunter but has too many warm prospects simmering. Utilize CRM to help the person realize the milestone requirements  based on predetermined activities and workflows. Move projects along by automatic prompting with suggested tasks or emails.

Step 4: Utilize the graphic funnel in each rep’s dashboard showing where their potential customers are parked. Information at a glance is powerful, even to the veteran rep. Include a real time commission benchmark and you’ll really get their attention.  

Don’t think of CRM as your sales process. Think of it as an extension of your sales process. Spend the due diligence and formalize sales criteria, milestones and stages first.  Not only will it pose deeper thinking about your business processes, but it will contribute to a more focused implementation. 

by Ginger Edwards   Intelligent Technologies, Inc., a Greensboro, NC Microsoft Dynamics Partner

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