New technology comes fast and goes, even faster. These days, there’s a new app or widget every week promising to make businesses and their sales reps more productive, efficient, and effective. Although some technology has proven to be more useful than others, one piece of sales technology that’s definitely here to stay is customer relationship management (CRM) software.
A properly deployed CRM system is an extremely useful tool. It tracks and manages all interactions and communication your representatives have with prospects and customers. It also helps to flag opportunities that might require additional nurturing or follow up (among many other things).
CRM literally helps to boost sales!!
Back in 2012, *Tech News World published research, which revealed that more than half of all businesses (54%) expected to improve their sales with CRM.
But, has this happened by now?
Well, #statistics point out to “Yes”, as 2014 saw an amazing 87% increase in the use of Mobile CRM, which is particularly appealing to salespeople who are always on the move.
Talking about the needs, what could be more important for sales representatives than achieving the targets?
According to **The Tas Group, on an average, 2/3 of all salesforce (67%) miss their sales quota.
Meanwhile, the study by ^Innoppl Technologies claims that that 65% of sales reps who have used Mobile CRM were able to achieve their sales quotas, and a staggering 78% of those who didn’t use CRM did not achieve their targets.
Despite all the “pros”, not all salespeople seem to be excited by the idea of introducing CRM in their daily routine. The number of salespeople who misinterpret the value of CRM is 87%, as they think it is adopted by their manager to police their activities. This fear results in them “just checking boxes” in the system, without seeing the true value of this tool.
Even though the benefits that CRM brings to the sales teams may not be immediately recognizable, they are still game-changing if implemented in the right manner.
And since those are the salespeople that need CRM the most, in this blog post I will bring out the key reasons why CRM can help them achieve their sales goals faster and improve results.
Now that you know how CRM brings value to your business, and if your business is ready to adopt one, it’s time to start evaluating your options and to book a demo, email at email@example.com
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The way the world does sales now has changed now.
Customers, especially B2B customers, look for speed and efficiency in the sales process.
Sales teams that are failing to adapt to the now-or-never expectation of their prospects will lose prospects to their speedier competitor.
The businesses that are succeeding in this competitive environment recognize that their tools, expectations, and service need to be top-tier.
Sales have experienced a tectonic shift on a fundamental level — one with the power to change how businesses operate, how revenue flows, how deals are closed, and how every SDR and AE on your team contributes.
So, what is the shift?
And, more importantly, what should you do about it?
Speed to Lead is Dead
We talk a lot about speed to lead.
Is it important? ABSOLUTELY, yes.
Read the right time to contact your leads
Instant leads always close faster and at a higher rate than leads that are contacted even minutes after the form submission.
Dialdesk enables sales teams to turn inbound leads to instant bookings.
In other words, our software has removed the concept of speed and turned it into an instantaneous click-to-call-to-close process.
It is no longer about speed.
Sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth. Speed to lead is dead.
In short, the change is this — even the fastest speed to lead is too slow.
What sales needs now is Instant Inbound.
Instant Inbound cuts speed to lead time down to zero by allowing leads to book a meeting directly from your inbound form, turning your inbound leads into qualified meetings, instantly.
Instant Inbound is the perfect standard of inbound marketing best practices that our customers have been achieving for years, but the market has been stuck talking about speed to lead.
Soon B2B marketing teams will no longer be measuring how quickly they can respond to a lead because anything slower than instant is simply too slow, and, yes, even obsolete.
Instant Inbound: B2C World
Within the B2C sales process, instant inbound has been existing for years.
If you want to watch any MOVIE on Disney Plus, you’re going to go to your Disney Plus app on your TV, find the movie and start watching.
We don’t really wait around for stuff.
We get it when we want it, which is just instant.
Imagine walking into any car dealership asking for a test drive of any car that’s on display on their lot.
The salesperson responds with “Please leave your contact information and I’ll try to get back to you in a few days to schedule a time for you to come back.”
That will never happen. But that’s the rough reality of today’s B2B selling experience.
As consumers, we would expect better.
Since B2B buyers are people too, they want to buy software the same way they want to buy any car or Web series
Although the buying process between B2B and B2C is different, the human component is not. We’re still dealing with human beings who want rapid responses, quick decisions, and closed deals — on both sides of the selling table.
Hence instant inbound is going to be the gold standard, the status quo for B2B sales from here on out.
Meaning of “Instant Inbound” for sales
Here are a few of the standout changes:
By making customers happy, you convert customers into your brand evangelists and that is priceless.
Instant Inbound is The Future of Successful Sales
We believe that because the world is becoming more and more automated
Connection — instant connection — matters more now than ever before.
Even though the way buyers and sellers connect is changing, the buying experience should still feel connected, seamless, and easy.
The DialDesk platform helps people connect with their customers simply, and more importantly, it happens instantly.
The B2B sales experience should be 100% customer focused. And key target should be Customer Delight
And the best way to do so is to satisfy their needs, desires, or problems instantly. That should be the priority.
Your scheduling software should not be a barrier to a thrilled customer. It should be the method of causing that customer to be thrilled.
DialDesk gives INSTANT INBOUND by using a nexus of Human Knowledge and support and advanced technology and that too 24*7*365 so that your customers can get the desired information INSTANTLY
Last month, a miracle happened. Your company’s video went viral. Lead volume shot up by 500%. You were pumped and the office was filled with a spirit of celebration.
Cut to today, and your enthusiasm has been reduced to nothing. Here’s how:-
Week 1 :
80% of your calls have ended with the two fatal words – “not interested”.
Week 2 :
60% of your calls have ended with people telling you they don’t even remember your company’s name and certainly didn’t sign up for a free trial seeing some video.
Week 3 :
40% of your calls have ended with people telling you they’ve already purchased your competitor’s product, thank you very much.
Week 4 :
Your conversion rate has dropped abysmally, and you don’t think you’ll ever be able to reach out to all the 12000 leads yet to be contacted.
Moral of the story? Two words could have prevented all of this heartbreak: lead prioritization.
What is lead prioritization?
Lead prioritization is simply separating quality leads from junk ones so that you can reach out to the ones that are most ‘likely to buy’ first.
Now, how do you identify who is ‘likely to buy’ and who is not? You can use two simple parameters for that:-
Let us delve deeper into what these parameters mean, and how you can measure your lead’s ‘likelihood to buy’ from them.
Closeness to your Ideal Customer Persona (ICP)
This is a static measure of your lead quality and helps you understand how aligned your product is with the needs of the lead.
Defining your ICP
Your ideal customer is someone who is the best fit for your product. Your Ideal Customer Persona is just a set of features that you use to represent your ideal customer.
Here are a few examples to help you understand this better:-
From the above table, it is clear that each business will use different metrics to define its ICP. Besides, one business may cater to more than one ICPs. For example, a travel agency selling budget, as well as luxury packages, will have different ICPs for each of them.
Qualifying leads based on ICP
Once you’ve defined your Ideal Customer Persona, you can use filters on Excel to qualify your leads on the basis of it.
Let’s take the case of a Tier II B-school, for which we have already defined the ICP above. This is what their lead data would look like, before prioritization:-
Now, let’s see what this list looks like after I apply these ICP filters – Profession: IT, Age : 22-25 and Work Experience : 1-3 Years.
However, this is a very basic way to qualify your leads. Manual prioritization using Excel comes with a couple of limitations:
1) It does not allow for leads that match the ICP to be ranked further
For example, in the above case, Lakshmi, Digvijay and Kumar will be assumed to have the same lead quality. This kind of manual prioritization will not work for businesses which generate thousands of leads per day, because even the number of leads that meet the basic ICP criterion will be too high.
Instead, you can opt for a marketing automation software which provides lead quality scoring. For example, using LeadSquared, you can set up lead quality rules in two quick steps :-
Choosing your lead quality attributes
These are the features of your leads that are most relevant for you, and hence can be used to ascertain the lead quality. For example, if you’re an institute providing MBA courses, ‘job title’, ‘work experience’, ‘location’, etc. would be the defining lead quality attributes for you, while ‘marital status’ would not.
You can specify distinct weightages for each of those chosen attributes, or select the option to assign equal weightage to each. For example, as an MBA institute, ‘job title’ could be the most important lead attribute for you, so you could assign it more weightage than the others.
Defining quality scoring rules
You can set how the values associated with a particular lead attribute will be scored from 1 to 10. For example, an MBA institute can set the following rules for the attribute of ‘job function’:
IT – 10
Marketing – 9
HR – 8
Others – 7
Using the weightages & scoring rules defined for the lead attributes, the software will calculate a cumulative quality score out of 10, for each lead in the system. Using this score, you will be able to identify the more conversion-optimized leads even amongst those that match your ICP.
Here’s how the Lead Quality score will appear on the LeadSquared portal :
2) It does not allow for the lead qualification process to be automated
You will have to run these Excel filters each time the lead list is updated.
Again, using a marketing automation software like LeadSquared can resolve this issue, because once you define the rules for calculation, each lead in your system will be associated with a Lead Quality score. You can then filter these leads based on any criteria (for example, Lead Quality Score >8).
Degree of buying intent
The manual prioritization discussed above is an incomplete test of a lead’s ‘likelihood to buy’, as it is solely static and does not take into account the degree of buying intent that a lead has at a point in time. For example, in the above case, Lakshmi matches the ICP, but she may have already enrolled in a college. There is no simple manual process through which a lead’s buying intent can be ascertained.
Buying intent occurs when a person has the desire as well as the purchasing power to buy your product.
Now, how can you spot whether a lead has buying intent or not? By measuring their level of engagement with your business. The more a person responds to your marketing campaigns, or visits your website, or spends time on your blog – the higher are the chances that they’re interested in buying from you.
A marketing automation tool like LeadSquared can help you see the ‘engagement index’ for each lead. To set that up, all you’d need to do is :-
Define the Activity Period
If you’re an MBA institute, your sales cycle will typically be around 1 year (this is the time it takes for students to prepare for exams, give the exams, and then choose from various college options based on their results). Now if a lead was actively engaging with you 2 years back, and it reflected on its engagement score, that would be a false measure of its likelihood to buy because they might be disengaged currently.
That is why; you can specify for what period you want the lead’s activities to be included in the calculation of the engagement score. Because the engagement score is based on the ‘recentness’ of a lead’s activities on your web presence/campaigns, it is a dynamic measure of their ‘likelihood to buy’, as opposed to the quality score, which is a static measure.
Specify the lead stages to include
If you’re in a business that does not see repeat sales (like an institute), you may not be interested in seeing the ‘engagement score’ of a customer. This is just one of the many cases where it is not useful to have the engagement score calculated for all of your lead stages, so using this option, you can specify which stages you’d need the score for.
Specify the lead activities to include
The engagement score is based on tracking a lead’s activities towards your business, and assigning each of these activities specific values depending upon their importance.
For example, if a lead signed up for a webinar, you can define a rule for increasing it’s engagement score by +5. On the other hand, if a lead only opened an email about a webinar, you can define a rule for increasing it’s engagement score by +1.
Using the scores associated with each of these activities, the software will compute the engagement score for each lead in the system.
And we’re done! Hope this helps you get your priorities right in order
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You need to be sure that you’re spending time with the right companies, titles, geographies and so on. If the person sitting across from you is the right profile, only then you have a chance. If your target is not set rightly, all the skills in the world on your end won’t get you a new customer.
Remember, you’re approaching cold customers and have very little knowledge of their needs and problem. You need to ask probing questions to help him articulate his needs (including needs they might not know even exist). That’s why you should have a powerful lead management system. It will help you track, qualify, prioritize leads and send them to the team(s) best prepared to handle them at every stage of the sales pipeline.
In case, you have not established rapport and a connection with your prospect, it is unlikely he will be willing to open up to you. You should establish a connection and build rapport with your customers while uncovering their needs in the first meeting itself.
It will bore your prospects as they don’t even need your products or services (or they don’t know that they require your products/services).
Before approaching your cold targets, study them. You should do a quick Google search for the customer or their company. You should invest in a good lead tracking software. For example, you can use your CRM software to search for any recent action they might have performed previously by your target customer. Make sure you know exactly what your customer needs. Provide insight and offer value during the entire sales process to show him what it will be like to do business with you. If you want to grasp your customer’s attention, let them know the benefits they get by offering their time to you. Try to focus on providing value to your customers.
When done in the right manner, social media platforms can be used as a cost-effective way to grow your brand, generate more leads for your business, and connect with your current customers. While most decision-makers do not respond to cold emails, still a majority of them don’t shy away from having a conversation on social media.
Before you leave your first meeting with the customer, you should always establish the next step. You should clearly define what you believe should happen next – perhaps it could be another meeting, additional information, a discussion letter outlining what was discussed, or could be a presentation. Then take agreement from the prospect that it is a good next step and set a time when the next step is going to take place.
Every sales process takes its own sweet conversion time. Assuming the prospect is a good target for you, plan how you will stay top of mind with him after the meeting. Send them articles related to his industry or situation, send them direct mail pieces, stay in touch, and keep moving him along the buying process. Most of the sales rep doesn’t stay in touch and they let long-term leads fall through the cracks. Don’t let this be you.
Turning cold leads into warm prospects is a journey with a lot of uncertainties. You don’t want to start conversations that never get you anywhere. You don’t want to send emails that end up in the bin. To be successful at getting into people’s nerves, you need to find a way of creating a good rapport with the prospects by delivering value in your conversation, being relevant, and where possible, implementing a paradigm shift in a way that motivates your customers to respond back to you.
Suggested Reading - How Lead Qualification Bridge the Gap between Sales and Marketing?
Research shows that 69% of buyers accepted a call from new salespeople in the past 12 months, and 27% of sellers admit that making phone calls to a new contact is extremely effective.
Did you know that asking between 11–14 questions during a lead call will translate to 74% greater success?
Lead response time is quickly becoming the most powerful determiner of successful contact, conversions, and even bookings and closes for agencies operating in the B2B space. The longer you take to contact a lead after they request information or a demo, the less likely you are to close that deal.
This seems nearly impossible because it is for many organizations using their current processes, but the consequences are actually grave. And according to a study conducted only 7% of the surveyed companies are currently achieving an average lead response time of five minutes or less.
According to a recent study, 78% of customers buy from the company that responds to their inquiry first. That’s how severe the organizational consequences can be of taking a few extra minutes to make a cup of Joe before getting to those leads.
According to another research, there is an increase of 391% sales conversions when inbound leads are contacted within the same minute that they submit a demo. This isn’t an increase in presentation bookings or anything like that, this is conversions. If your organization is able to make this a reality, you would join the top 1% of companies selling B2B, and enjoy the awesome results.
Eighty is the percentage decrease in the odds of qualifying your lead between 5 minute and 10 minute response times.
As per a study, only 55% of companies do not contact their inbound leads within 1 full business week. This is really very bad for the business.
It’s no secret that engaged customers are better customers. Improving customer engagement can strengthen customer loyalty, increase a customer’s lifetime value, and improve and solidify brand perception.
Every customer is willing to engage because:
Acknowledge the fact you know people get busy with other projects and offer a flexible schedule for them to get back to you. Be friendly and open, and they’ll recognize that.
Sometimes leads become stuck because the decision-maker at the company is not on board – yet. If your marketing team sends a regular newsletter and they’re not on the list, ask if they want to subscribe. Your leads will stay on top of your company’s communication and your brand will keep resurfacing. Then, hopefully, when the time is right, they’ll be excited to begin working with you again.
If you’re looking for a way to reconnect with a lead, sending them a piece of content that addresses their exact pain points is a good idea. Send something they haven’t seen before with a note explaining why you’re doing so. This demonstrates that you haven’t forgotten about them or their situation and hopefully opens the door for conversations.
If your company is hosting a webinar, Twitter chat, or in-person event, send a personalized invite to your prospect. The invite will remind them about your company to them, and if they accept, they’ll have another opportunity to learn about your offerings and why they should work with you.