Friday, September 19, 2014

CRM Tools Help Refine Sales Process

When you are in a growth pattern with your sales team, it is critical that you have the right CRM tools in place to ensure that your leads are turning into sales. Your sales reps need to have a refined process in which activities that lead to a closed deal are clearly identified and routinely practiced.

 If the habits of your sales team are not polished, you may lose opportunities as you grow. In addition, growth generally means new sales reps coming on board, and a clear set of established practices will help you determine whether your new reps are a good fit for your company.

When you are in growth mode, your CRM tools should help you in hiring new sales reps, getting those reps fully productive in a short period of time and establishing a repeatable sales process.

There are three ways that CRM tools can help you refine your sales process and make sure you make the right hires reach full productivity quickly:

Use Activity Reporting to Train and Measure Progress With New Sales Reps

Mobile CRM tools are designed for sales reps to be able to quickly and efficiently enter data immediately following a meeting. With the right app, your sales team will spend little time with CRM, but the information will be high-quality data that you need.

You will be able to set up prompts for your new reps to enter the correct information and direct them to the sales activities that are most important for your team. You will also be able to identify missed steps or opportunities for additional training.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Reporting and Activities

Your sales reps are more productive when they are not spending hours around a conference table debating which activities lead to sales. Your CRM tools will make such conversations unnecessary because the data will tell you which activities lead to sales.

You will be able to eliminate the measurements that are not leading to sales and refine the types of entries that your sales reps make as they leave a meeting.

Get Data About Market Trends to Identify Opportunities and Risk Areas

By prompting your sales reps to ask one or two specific questions, you can get immediate information about market trends. You may find out that certain features of a particular new product you are offering are helping your customers, or you may hear that customers across your territory are considering switching from one of your core products because it doesn’t fit with another innovation they use.

With this type of data, you no longer need to wait for industry polls or a drop in sales to find out what your opportunities or risks are. You can decide what to track to get a better understanding of what is shaping your industry.

With Front Row Solutions’ CRM tools, you can develop a uniform sales process that allows you to train your new sales reps and detect their opportunities for growth. You can also decide which measures you want to examine and eliminate wasted time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

GEO Location Improves Sales Reporting

Your sales managers need detailed, specific information to make strategic decisions about sales forecasting and additional training needs. The right data helps your sales manager make accurate projections, have a clear understanding of the sales pipeline and where your sales team is excelling.

In addition to information about customers, opportunities and promotions, your sales manager needs information about the sales process. You need a clear picture of which processes most effectively lead to a closed sale or a contract. Identifying patterns of behavior of reps in the sales process is invaluable.

For instance, you may have a couple of top-performing reps that you would like to profile for the purposes of training other reps in a “best practice” type of format. You may also have a struggling rep, and tracking their behavior patterns in the sales process may help identify areas for growth.

All of these processes can be significantly enhanced with the use of GEO location, a mobile CRM app that improves sales reporting by providing geographical locations of each entry.

Some benefits of using GEO location with a mobile CRM app for sales reporting include:

  • Ability to view numbered pins of locations of each sales reporting entry by the sales rep
  • Coordinated GEO location data with date- and time-stamped entries
  • Improvement in areas like sales reporting compliance rates, sales productivity, accountability and information flow
  • Ability to make decisions based on large, insightful, relevant information
  • Filters allow for a variety of customizable mapping features, including a date selector
  • The GEO location feature can be enabled or disabled by the sales manager, allowing the sales team the most autonomy possible when desired

There has been some controversy related to the use of GEO location apps on mobile CRM because some sales reps complain that it carries a micro-management feel to sales reporting. However, it is increasingly requested by sales managers for use with their teams.

You might counter the concerns of sales reps with a shared goal. Both sales managers and sales reps want to increase sales, and GEO location is effective at improving sales reporting and sales processes to drive up revenue.

GEO location apps can help identify major gaps in sales reporting. A sales rep that waits to enter information for a meeting until the end of the day, for instance, may miss important details that, when entered immediately, would ideally be captured.

Front Row Solutions offers the only mobile CRM app that allows for sales reps to enter data from a meeting within 30 seconds, with sales reports reaching the sales manager within 60 seconds. Front Row Solutions now offers GEO location, allowing sales managers to work with accurate and detailed sales reporting data. Call Front Row Solutions today to find out how to increase sales with GEO location.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Social CRM Requires Strategic Planning

The world of social media is undoubtedly playing an influential role in business transactions. Many companies are implementing social media into their brand strategy, customer feedback and online reputation management. Known as Social CRM, this aspect of sales management is an important part of increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction.

There are good reasons to implement Social CRM because social behavior is certainly drawn around online activity in the past few years. However, there are key factors to consider when developing a Social CRM plan:

  1. Be strategic in your choice. Before making an investment in a Social CRM solution, take time to define goals and objectives for what the CRM tool should accomplish. You may be trying to drive sales or strengthen a brand message, among other objectives, but take time to refine those goals.
  2. Choose a vendor after you define your needs. Many companies choose software and then try to get it to meet their objectives. Instead, make sure your goals are clearly defined and then choose a Social CRM solution that will best serve your company.
  3. Assign responsibility. Your company should have a point person or team for all Social CRM interactions. Some companies centralize their social media with one contact, while others may want each regional manager, for instance, to handle the social media for their area.
  4. Find out who your targets are. You can identify those with a large following on social media or influencers and find ways to reach out to build relationships. You may find that there are opportunities to drive sales through these relationships on Social CRM.
  5. Haunt Social CRM. To optimize your use of Social CRM you should monitor and seek to improve the response time on social media. If a contact is commenting or asking questions, there should be a quick response by your company. You can also set up key word alerts so that your employees can jump in on conversations about your industry happening on social media.
  6. Manage your online reputation. Social CRM can be used to gather review information to determine how your company’s reputation is faring in the social media realm. Social CRM tools can help your company conduct surveys and measure reactions to new services or products.
  7. Link Social CRM with other CRM tools. Whether you have separate software for Social CRM and other CRM or have it all in one aggregate system, you will want to link the activities. This will help you identify trends in customer satisfaction, key words used associated with your company and other important information.
  8. Use your information to detect trends and offer feedback. Social CRM can help your company identify where you excel and where you may need to implement training to maintain high standards for your customers.
Front Row Solutions offers mobile app Social CRM tools to help your company optimize your connection with social media. Using the technology we offer, you can maximize your sales and manage your brand strategy with the most up-to-date social behaviors driving customer decisions.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

CRM App Offers Valuable Solutions to Sales Teams

For most sales reps, customer relationship management (CRM) is a dreaded chore. After a long day talking with contacts, they cobble together projections of their opportunities from scribbled notes and conversations now fuzzy in their heads. For many reps, CRM is not relegated to the end of the day, but instead to the end of the week or whenever their sales manager orders them to catch up. By then, data may be spotty, at best.

With laptops in the hands of many sales reps, it may be hard to imagine that logging information would be such a problem. However, there may not be time to log in to a computer between calls and laptops can be cumbersome to lug along to appointments.

As a result, the maintaining of CRM often becomes a constant source of frustration for both the sales rep and the sales manager. Both need reliable data and data management tools to do their jobs, but it also should not interfere with the time a sales rep needs to go out and sell.

With smart phones and other mobile devices, however, there is an opportunity for sales reps to have the same information with them on the go that inside sales reps enjoy when they make calls. A mobile CRM app allows any mobile device to accept and display the important details from a sales call.

A CRM app allows sales reps to quickly check customer data before walking into a meeting, and then they can update the account while they are walking to their car. Before they head out to their next meeting, 30 seconds may be all that is required to log notes about the customer or opportunity and review information about their next appointment.

A CRM app also allows all departments of your company to interact and keep one another informed. If a customer had a late delivery the day before, for instance, a sales rep knows before heading into the meeting that they may need to do some damage control to keep a customer relationship positive.

In addition, a CRM app allows your sales rep or sales manager to set up reminders for next steps or updates that can help drive sales. This cuts down on the number of times your sales manager and sales rep need to talk or send emails to check up on opportunities.

A CRM app can help your sales manager use the most up-to-date information when identifying areas that may need training. If your sales reps are updating the customer information immediately after a meeting, your sales manager is better able to determine which parts of the sales process are strong and which may require additional training.

If you are looking for a CRM app that streamlines your sales data collection and frees up your sales reps to get out and sell, give Front Row Solutions a call. We offer mobile CRM apps that integrate seamlessly with your existing CRM tools or can provide a fully integrated CRM solution for your company.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Cloud CRM Provides Agile Solutions

Your company may deliver excellent service. You could have sales reps that are highly informed and experts in their field. Your products and services might be the industry standard. Yet if your technology is lagging behind, your business may be underperforming.

Sales are driven by a multitude of factors, but one of the increasingly important tools for growing your revenue is technology that is up-to-date. A forward-thinking mindset that anticipates ongoing technological innovations for your industry is also critical because hardware and software is updated so rapidly.

As a result, many businesses are investing in cloud technology for their customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Cloud CRM is experiencing a flood of interest as companies recognize some of the benefits of cloud over legacy software solutions.

CRM is an important tool for sales reps, allowing pipeline management, identification of gaps and weaknesses in the sales cycle, and managing current accounts. It can assist in developing nuanced sales plans that drive new business. For this lifeline of the sales team, many managers are investing in cloud CRM for several reasons.

Streamlined, Cost-effective Updates
When it comes to updating software, the process is barely complete before the new version comes rolling out in a legacy system. When a business uses a cloud CRM, updates are less cumbersome and inexpensive compared to a legacy system. Cloud systems are more agile and flexible, making updates far less of an interruption and expense.

Current Technology Allows You to Compete
If your sales reps struggle to keep up with customer communications or there is regular frustration with interactions between customer service and sales, a modern cloud CRM may be the answer. Investing in customer relationships will allow your sales reps to be competitive with other businesses in your industry. As businesses are increasingly looking to cloud solutions, it will be important to keep up with current trends in sales management.

Attracting and Retaining Talent
Your sales team is central to driving business for your company. If you have good sales reps that are delivering on their sales plans, make sure you are supporting them with the technology they need to do their job well. Out-of-date mobile devices and computers are frustrations that may drive your sales team to look at other opportunities where they can be more successful.

Cloud CRM allows your sales team to always be on the cutting edge of sales technology. The tools they need for the sales process, from cold call to closing a contract and maintaining a positive relationship with the customer are all present in an intuitive cloud CRM. With cloud CRM, your sales team will not have any reason to wish for better integration of sales information or process improvement.

Front Row Solutions offers your business mobile CRM that relies on cloud technology. Allowing you to focus on the customer, Front Row Solutions provides strategic, up-to-date CRM that allows your sales team to perform at its very best.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Study Measures CRM Solution Effectiveness

When you invest in customer relationship management (CRM) software for your business, you have a list of objectives that you are trying to meet. You may be seeking to measure and identify weak links in your sales process. Your sales team may be complaining that they need better communication tools with the customer service department.

In many cases, pipeline management and driving new business are two of the main factors influencing the implementation of a CRM solution. Connecting leads with the appropriate sales rep and converting that lead into a sale or contract can be a process filled with pitfalls and opportunities for dropping the ball. A CRM solution is designed to help you manage those leads that come in and convert them to buying customers.

An inquiry from sales software provider Velocify led to a study to explore whether CRM solutions aid in businesses converting leads into sales. In order to find out, Velocify led secret shoppers to submitting a contact form through the websites of CRM vendors.

Some important insights resulted from the exercise that may help you identify whether your company is experiencing similar response patterns:

CRM Solutions provide an edge: Companies that use a CRM solution sent an email response to the secret shoppers three times faster than Fortune 100 companies. They were also twice as fast when it came to making a phone call to inquiring leads.

Even companies using a CRM solution need improvement: A mere 20 percent of the businesses using a CRM solution optimized the contact opportunity by calling the prospect within one hour of the inquiry. Thirty-five percent sent an email within the same time period.

Many opportunities are missed: Less than 60 percent of the inquiries received, at minimum, one phone call and one email. The average time for an inquiring buyer to receive a call was sluggish, at two full days.

Tech companies excel at lead management: Tech companies were 40 percent more likely to follow optimal contact strategies when compared with other types of businesses.

A CRM solution will certainly help your company better manage leads, but it is important to measure the response time to leads and the method of response. Losing a lead that has inquired into purchasing from your business is a major gap that can be addressed.

While many companies purchase a CRM solution in order to better manage their existing customer base, it is important to make sure your company is also making a good first impression. An inquiry that is met with a slow, disinterested response is not likely to excite a potential customer about their relationship with your company.

If you are looking for a way to optimize your company’s response time to potential buyer inquiries, talk with Front Row Solutions. With mobile CRM tools that manage not only current customer relationships, but also new opportunities, we can help you turn leads into sales.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Four Ways Customer Relationship Management Builds Your Business

Customer relationship management can be an important tool for managing your sales team and building your business. Too many systems created for customer relationship management, however, are often not used by sales reps. What could be the central hub of the sales team is instead a dreaded task left for the last minute.

Front Row Solutions has addressed that gap in sales reporting by developing a system created by sales representatives for sales representatives. While many customer relationship management tools are designed by technicians, Front Row Solutions provides a concept that provides an answer to all the complaints sales reps have about traditional reporting software.

Instead of a tasks pushed to the edges of the work week, customer relationship management should be integrated into every sales interaction. It can improve efficiency and drive up sales, providing accurate information to various members of an integrated team.

A great sales team relies on integrated information from receiving a lead in a timely way to following up on an order to make sure that promises were kept and the relationship remains positive moving forward.

When effectively designed, customer relationship management should provide the following four areas of impact for your business:

  1. The full customer picture. In many businesses, each unit operates with limited information about the customer’s contact with the company. When customer relationship management is working for your company, sales staff can access an invoice status, view email history and customer service interactions. Any follow-up requirements can be quickly met.
  2. Customer service gets a lift. A good customer relationship management tool that integrates with the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system allows the sales staff to examine whether a relationship with a customer is remaining positive. When the customer relationship management and ERP are integrated, they can view order fulfillment history, as well as whether the customer is making timely payments.
  3. The sales process is cleaner. The use of a good customer relationship management tool allows for the sales staff and management to measure the effectiveness of various sales techniques. Through the system, management can examine whether calls or personal visits, for instance, result in a higher closing rate. Integration with a phone system means that even phone calls and voice mails are logged for examination.
  4. Reps are freed up to do what they do best. Sales reps do not enjoy tracking down delayed orders or making multiple calls or emails to customer service or operations departments. An integrated customer relationship management tool means that sales reps are selling, which means better job satisfaction and reps that stick around.
Front Row Solutions can provide a customer relationship management mobile tool that streamlines your sales process and keeps your sales reps out selling. Call Front Row Solutions today to see how you can leverage our customer relationship management data to launch your sales team to the next level.