Machines taking the place of humans is not just the premise of a sci-fi novel. It’s a reality that today’s sales managers should embrace. Optimizing each part of the process often results in more sales, bigger sales, less waste, higher profit margins, or all of the above. Automating these processes takes two things: the right software and the ingenuity to make the best use of the software.
Selecting The Right Software For Your Business
In general,the functionality found in customer relationship management software, or CRMs. In these systems, business processes are automated and data is gathered and analyzed. Essentially, these are databases of your clients, products, and sales, all living in one piece of software.
Over the past five years, we’ve continually developed customizations and functionality that keep our website in tip-top shape, but having the correct software is only half the battle. Coming up with creative ways to use it, knowing what data to interpret, and knowing which automation can help your business is the crux.
Reduce Staff And Payroll
Data entry is a time sink for staff. A CRM can automatically create a client file in your system and log activity. The client’s contact information and previous messages and orders are all stored in the database. A quote can be customized and sent out with a click.
Automation through an enterprise resource planning module (ERP) pulls your sales and product data into reports ready for use in a variety of formats. This will save time spent on accounting, bookkeeping and sales reports. At GoPromotional, in our first 18 months of customizing and automating our process, we saved 50% overhead on the sales staff.
Take a hard look at your email process and we guarantee you there are more notices that can be automated. Some creative places to look: email payment reminders, feedback requests, and follow-ups on an initial quote. Having the email conversations tracked inside the CRM saves time from hunting for information, as well as documents the communication. A manager that can view all activity in one piece of software can certainly manage more staff at one time.
Keeping The Sales Process Moving
Automation is positively brilliant to prevent your sales process from stalling. Consider some basic steps in the sales journey: inquiry or lead, sales quote, follow-up, an order placed, order fulfilled, check-in with the customer, repeat order. In every single step, you run the risk that a human will drop the ball or forget. Use reminders and reports to alert the salesperson or manager when this happens. Has it been five days since the quote went out with no further emails? A flag to the salesperson reminds them which quotes need follow-up. A report to a manager alerts them which salespeople are missing the follow-up step. We call this report “Flight Delayed,” where, at a glance, I can view any product quotes that are still active but not moving forward and follow up with my sales staff.
Find Out Where You Can Improve
Any solid CRM will offer plenty of reporting with a few clicks, though each will have different configurations or the ability to customize reports. Before our sales meetings, I can print out a snap report with the number of quotes this week, percent closed, the value of sales by salesperson, hot products, and YOY and MOM comparisons. This forms the basis of our meetings, shedding key insight into what is working and what is not. A report on profit margins by product leads sales staff in pushing higher profit items and directs the marketing team to focus on those items. It could also highlight a vendor you could convince to give you a better price.
We analyzed the email addresses of all quote requests, sorted by percentage closed and value of the sale. We learned in just a few moment’s time that free email accounts, like Gmail and Yahoo, close at dramatically lower rates. We now use email automation to quote those leads and label them in our system as potentially lower quality so sales staff can focus on higher quality leads first. We also added a classification of each industry that requests a promotional product quote or completes an order. When we sort by industry, we learned that government, education, and design agencies had a higher close rate and higher tickets.
Motivate Your Team
Having all of your data in one place makes it much easier to produce quick analyses to guide your business decisions. Remember, it’s not only about having the software, you’ll need to think about what information to pull out of it. For example, we print a monthly “Top Products Hall of Fame” on the wall to highlight to our sales staff, our high profit, trending, and commonly ordered items. Try having your system display a dashboard on a monitor with sales tallies, conversion rates, and best improvement. Putting up a visual is highly motivating and increases accountability.
Whether you invest in a large CRM and customize it or try a free version, the benefits should pay for themselves. If you’re anything like me, you’ll treat it as a game, always looking for ways to tighten your belt and increase sales.
Ci3 delivers next-generation on-demand enterprise business applications for major industries. It’s a robust and scalable business solution that can handle big data and complex business processes with ease!
Why Ci3 is the #1 choice for your business?
Ci3 is a robust, scalable & flexible ERP solution that provides a comprehensive set of features based on industries’ best practices to bring the best experience at all levels of the organization.
Why Ci3 is not just an ERP system?
Our ERP software not only offers business processes based on industry best practices but also streamlines your work through our creative and intuitive AI solution!