Search has evolved. So has Freshsales.
In a sales CRM, what should Search do?
When we sat down to build Search in Freshsales, that question got us thinking.
Sure, we wanted our users to pick out leads, contacts, deals and accounts on demand, but these were the essentials. Our sights were set on the kind of experience search engines offer users today.
Because if you look at how Google search has evolved, users have massive expectations every time they type into a Search bar—in any application.
In the beginning it was all about verbatim search results. If you typed “tourist attractions in New York”, the top results would have these exact keywords, in the exact order. Soon Google realized websites were spamming users with keyword stuffing and hyperlinks, without actually providing quality content. So the Panda and Penguin algorithms were created. Valuable white-hat content—with earned backlinks and quality interlinking—got its deserved place at the top of the search chain. With machine learning and artificial intelligence going big in recent years, search has gone smart. Google now understands context and provides search results by region, proximity and past search history. And thanks to voice search, you don’t need to type out a query any more. CEO of Google Sundar Pichai said in his 2016 Google I/O keynote address that 20% of all searches on the Google mobile app and Android devices are voice-based.
Sales CRMs in general have catching up to do; at Freshsales we wanted to move as quickly as we could.
Ideas, simulations, many late nights and empty coffee cups later, we crystallized our objectives into 5 points.
Here’s a quick dive into the five:
Search must be simple
Simplicity, the essence of any search experience. Our definition of simple? When you search, what you need is what you get—up front and without going on a treasure hunt.
Let’s say Michael—your Sales Development Representative (SDR)—took a call on his smartphone yesterday. Michael created the lead in the sales CRM and added the number immediately. Today he wants to revisit the lead’s profile, add a few details and enrich the profile.
Here’s the catch: he doesn’t remember the lead’s name.
But Michael doesn’t have to worry. All he needs to do is whip out his phone, locate the call, and start typing the number into the search bar in Freshsales. Voila! His lead springs up right away.
And now he remembers that name—Grofeld 🙂
Search must be relevant
A sales rep should be able to search specifically by certain criteria, so they can get the most relevant results. For instance, searching by email domain quickly pulls up all leads from a company. This is useful when the rep wants a quick recap of all the leads he’s in touch with from the company.
So when Michael searches for “codetotal.com”, Freshsales displays all his leads from CodeTotal. They’re ranked in order of recency; the most recently updated lead is on top, followed by others in succession.
Search must be thorough
This seems like a no-brainer. But it’s amazing when you look at the number of sales CRMs which don’t let customers run an exhaustive search on their records. By “exhaustive”, we’re going beyond leads, contacts, deals and accounts to include personal preferences like custom fields.
Let’s say you just got a signup on your website from Jane. Jane works at Acme. Freshsales makes her a lead in the CRM, but before Michael starts engaging with Jane, he needs to check for duplicates. Is Jane already part of a new deal/closed deal? Has she signed up before? Did she sign up and drop out? Freshsales combs through all entities, and if there are no matching records (and no history with the lead), Michael is sure that he has a clean lead on his hands.
Search must be fast
Another no-brainer, you’d think, but here’s a quick question—how long does your sales CRM take to return search results? Is that answer in seconds or milliseconds?
In Freshsales, it takes 50-60 milliseconds on average. And we’re looking at ways to shave a few milliseconds off that number.
One of the ways we want to get there is by quickly displaying the most relevant data on top. Let’s say Michael’s employer is a multi-product firm. One of his leads—Henry—is interested in more than one product, so he’s a lead in many reps’ lists. Every time Michael searches for Henry, he appears more than once, with the same email ID. How does Michael avoid confusion and zero in on his lead quickly? Freshsales quickly arranges leads by owner, so Michael’s lead is first on the list.
Search must be smart
In the age of smart technology, can CRMs be far behind?
Digital is all about data explosion. If you’re using the sales CRM to manage more data than you can remember, you’re not alone. Every salesperson in the digital age feels the same.
Which is why Freshsales remembers and makes suggestions, on your behalf.
When Michael fires up Freshsales for a new day at work, he can head over to the Search bar and get a list of recently searched items. Michael doesn’t have to crank his memory for that account he updated at 5:45 PM yesterday.
So what does the future look like?
The future looks exciting, because today, the Search bar in Freshsales is hot property.
50% of our users click on Search. For context, that’s higher than the clicks on two of our most important modules: Deals and Accounts!
This number is likely to climb up, as we make the sales CRM more intuitive and user-friendly. In that direction, we’ve got a bunch of updates lined up. Here’s a sneak peek:
Search + Filter: Soon you won’t need to apply filters after you’ve pulled up your search results. You’ll be able to fine-tune your search using a “filter” option right inside the Search bar. So when you’re searching for a lead’s email ID, you can simultaneously restrict the scope of the search by filtering owner (yourself) and territory (North America).
Interface enhancements: You’ll be able to search within custom views, add more columns to the List view (there’s 5 right now), hide the Filters pane and add more filtering operators for every field, including text fields (like “owner IS NOT me”).
Rank by lead score: Besides “owner” and “last updated time”, we figured lead score is an important criterion when you want to pick leads. So we’re bringing this metric into the search results.
Refined search results based on scroll-through rates: When users need to scroll through search results, it could be an indication that the results aren’t accurate. By analyzing scroll-through rates, we want to make the top search results the best search results.
Sort 2.0: At the moment we have a global drop-down for Sort, with a list of sort-by options: Lead Score, Lead Stage, Last Contacted time, Owner, and others. This limitation of sorting by specific fields will be removed; you’ll be able to sort by any field (default or custom). This means you can customize your list view columns to display any field and sort using the arrows in the column.
How are you using Search in Freshsales? Share your hacks in the Comments below.
Just getting to know us? Hello there! And welcome to Freshsales. If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use sales CRM that won’t go hard on your wallet, you’re in the right place 🙂
Thanks to Tarkeshwar Thakur and Sujitha Ravi for helping put this blog together.
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