How to Use CRM Data During Black Swan Events
The novel coronavirus pandemic erupted at a very crucial time — the start of the 2020 business year. As companies cut down expenditures and postpone their purchase decisions, a global financial crisis is looming.
The sales environment, too, is changing as a result.
But the show must go on: work needs to be done, remote sales need to happen, opportunities have to be pursued, and service issues need to be resolved during the lockdown.
Lots of companies around the world are revisiting their strategy and evaluating immediate steps to tackle this situation before reaching a ‘business as usual’ state.
Here’s how CRM software can help you in these times of crisis.
Insights for Salespeople
1. Identifying and talking to prospects who interact with your company
Communication with prospects should never stop, including at a crucial time like this. However, the key is to identify and talk to the right ones.
This is important as there can be many prospects who require a product or service you offer, so every opportunity is crucial during this time. To get started, send all your prospects a check-in email to understand if everything is going good for them, or attach some helpful resources for them.
The best way to go about this is by setting up an automated yet personalized sales email sequence, which most modern CRM solutions come with. This feature helps you send custom automated emails from time to time to your prospects. It can also help you cross-sell or up-sell to your existing customers effectively, based on how they interact with your product and the features they have adopted.
What you can do next is track how your prospects interact with the emails you send.
- Have they opened your email?
- What links have they clicked?
- Have they replied to your email?
You can also track how many people have unsubscribed from your mailing list, understand what could have gone wrong, and fix this in your next iteration. This way, you can find the right prospects to connect with during this time.
2. Keeping everything within the CRM in-sync
Tasks you perform throughout the day should be captured in the CRM to make the most of the software. And while you have to ensure that this is done, a few things may slip your mind as being obvious.
That is why, at a time like this, having your CRM discipline intact is even more critical. Every prospect you reach out to, your conversation with them regarding their requirements, and proposals made to them—all such details have to be captured in the system.
This benefits you and your teammates in multiple ways:
- If you are in the usual office setup, you can simply walk over to somebody to get details of the prospect. Now, you’d have to ping and call them several times, hoping they’d attend your call and give you the answers you need. But if your CRM is up to date, anyone in the team can take over immediately, using insights from previous conversations.
- You can also understand what prospects are interested in, by analyzing the pages they visit or the app functionalities they use.
You should also ensure that some other important attributes, like communication history, follow-ups, and team collaboration, are not affected.
By default, many CRM solutions come with communication history. Each conversation with a prospect via email, chat, or phone gets recorded into the dedicated profile.
This can help anyone in the team pick from where the previous salesperson left off and have context-rich conversations.
Next, to stay on top of business-critical tasks and follow-ups, you can enable desktop notifications. Enabling desktop notifications helps you save time in repeatedly checking your tasks, when these are due, and essential feature alerts, allowing you to be there for your prospects when they need you.
Integrating team-collaboration software like Freshconnect with your CRM helps avoid information gaps, cluttered conversation threads, and slow decision-making.
Having contextual conversations becomes even more critical while working remotely, allowing you to get in touch with anybody in your organization, like the developers, support personnel, or even the legal team — and provide them with immediate context on a deal or even have a group discussion with all of them. This ensures that various personnel are on the same page as you.
3. Tracking missed opportunities
You must understand what your prospects need and be available to help them out at all times. To make this happen, you need to identify sales-ready opportunities well in-time.
Leveraging your CRM for this is easy. A modern CRM comes with the functionality to track what your prospects are viewing on your website or what the most adopted feature of your product is, enabling you to subsequently reach out to them with what they need.
Robust CRM solutions come equipped with scoring capabilities that rank leads based on specific scores. While lead scoring is essentially a way to rank leads to determine how sales-ready prospects are and the interest they show in your business, it can also be used to track overlooked opportunities for leads that were not prioritized for lack of better functionality in the CRM.
4. Keeping track of sales without hassle
A CRM, without a doubt, is the single source of truth for salespeople like you, since it captures lots of relevant information such as inquiries, customer engagement, interactions, and quote-rates and close-rates.
While it can be challenging to reach your targets in the current scenario, you must track and forecast your sales to understand how much you are likely to close in the coming months.
The sales forecasting functionality available in CRM solutions helps you predict how much revenue you can drive in a week or a month. This is then projected in the form of a graph or a chart of your choice.
How can this help you?
Your product and its pricing can be tweaked according to the prevailing situation. This, in turn, can help you increase your average deal size, shorten your sales cycle, and win more customers-for-life.
Insights for Sales Leaders
1. Keeping track of your team’s progress
While face-to-face meetings were the old satisfying norm and were quite satisfactory for teams to stay updated, the new normal of remote selling around the world has posed a significant challenge for sales leaders like you.
So, how do you track the progress of your reps without regular face-to-face meetings?
Over-communicating with your team is one option, but it needn’t be the only one.
Good CRM solutions come with sales activity tracking. This allows you to create and monitor the sales activity of your reps from time-to-time.
Some sales activities that you can track during this time are:
- You can view the open, completed, and overdue tasks of reps
- The number of prospects they have been reaching out to and the conversations over phone and email
- The output, as an overall result, from these activities in the form of reports
2. Optimizing targets based on quote-rates/close-rates
During these sensitive times, it’s good to revisit the targets set for your salespeople to boost their morale and confidence.
You can optimize the targets with the help of CRM-generated reports that analyze a rep’s current performance by aligning it with the past. Many CRM solutions allow you to create custom reports based on previous months’ sales, and this can help you tweak your sales strategy based on projected numbers.
You can also set goals for your team once you have a feasible strategy in place. For one, setting an attainable goal can improve the morale of your team. Additionally, it can help ensure that you and your team are on the right track toward meeting your sales objectives and targets.
Bonus Tip: Identify opportunities that are moving toward closure
A lot of CRM solutions in the market come with powerful artificial intelligence (AI) backed by machine learning models, built-in.
At a time of crisis like this, every deal is essential, and you have to monitor them consistently. AI provides insights for transactions in the pipeline. For example, there may be instances where your reps are focused only on deals that have a high probability of closing, and this is fine.
Let’s say there’s a sudden spike in the activity of a person whose deal in the pipeline has been stagnant for some time. What if this spike—which could be crucial for understanding deal-closure—misses your sight?
AI-powered CRM solutions step in to help your reps out in this situation, by providing them with the best course of action that can be taken, i.e., identify the best deals that are inching toward closure. AI can also help your reps, through prompt notifications, identify which deals they haven’t engaged with in some time.
These are testing times for sales teams around the world, sure, but CRM is one of the most powerful tools they can put to productive use. From being able to track the team’s overall performance to ensuring prospects and customers receive consistent messaging, a CRM’s value-addition during ‘black-swan’ events like the COVID-19 crisis is unparalleled.
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