According to a study carried out by IKO system in 2012, 59% of the working time of salespeople is not directly devoted to selling! This is a stinging observation, which reveals the weight of numerous time-consuming additional tasks: internal meetings, administrative tasks, transport, etc.
Restoring sales to its rightful place within the sales force is therefore a major challenge for sales managers and a necessity for the company in order to develop its profits and optimise the use of its resources.
So how can we turn this a priori unfavourable observation into an opportunity? For example, by exploiting the potential for optimisation available through CRM!
These figures, taken from the very interesting study conducted by IKO system  "Action commerciale: 66 statistiques et infographies", show the unproductive or excessively time-consuming tasks that plague the lives of salespeople:
Is the time wasted on these non-core tasks a fatality for salespeople? Fortunately, no!
Here are 4 ways in which CRM can help you:
- Improve the productivity of your sales teams (and therefore their results)
- Saving your sales staff from a nervous breakdown!
1. Optimising unproductive time
The first obvious area of work is the optimisation of all unproductive time!
For example, working in a taxi, in the metro, waiting for a plane or train, and therefore treating all this unproductive time as an opportunity.
To do this, 2 possibilities are offered by some CRM solutions:
- mobile applications
- the possibility of working offline
ZohoCRM, Sugar CRM, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics, for example, provide mobile applications that can be enhanced based on settings and customisations.
Off-line versions of CRM solutions, on the other hand, are generally based on a strong integration with Outlook.
These are all opportunities for your salespeople to capture their activities, verbatim reports from their meetings, or to set up follow-up and reminder tasks at previously unproductive times.
2. Enrich customer/lead data
All CRM solutions facilitate the enrichment of customer data in different ways:
- standardising this data (e.g. defining and standardising the address format) to facilitate its use (generating reports, setting up marketing campaigns, etc.)
- by checking the consistency of these by functions to check the existence of addresses or telephone numbers.
Two major innovations take this logic further for BtB and BtC:
The first is the complete integration of data from specialised external databases. This can be done by using dedicated interfaces (such as Zebaz, which works with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Yellowbox, Easiware, Marketo, Eloqua or Digatelo solutions) or by providing specific modules: Data.com or Amabis, for example, have created a CRM solution around their company directories (Data is therefore their primary business, but these companies have understood the importance of directly offering the technical solution that enables them to be used). We can also mention the 2I solution from B&C Technology, which offers a single enriched customer view.
In both cases, interfacing allows automatic and simplified import of data, which are directly linked to existing accounts in the database (no duplication of data, thanks to a search system based on similarities, with equivalence rates). The information is updated automatically and in real time.
This makes it possible to update administrative data (address, SIRET, etc.) and qualitative data (activity, turnover, headcount, etc.), but also to enrich contacts: functions, organisation charts, etc., with rich data with high added value for sales representatives!
The second is the integration of professional or personal social networks directly into the contact record in the CRM. This makes it possible to follow the news of contacts in a centralised way in the tool without dispersing and thus to gain in relevance in the exchanges (follow-up of the news of the person and his company, knowledge of these centres of interest and identification of his network of acquaintances for possible contact and recommendations).
IKO System offers intelligent alerts on your prospects, customers or competitors to increase the reactivity of your sales teams.
3- Qualify and score leads
In addition to the solutions already mentioned for integration with external databases that facilitate the search for leads and the import of rich data into the CRM, the major innovation of recent years has been the explosion of marketing automation modules.
These modules, which are more or less rich in terms of functionality (and more or less expensive), make it possible to implement nurturing policies, i.e. to propose personalised content (messages, offers) and to encourage interactions with identified leads (on the basis of Inbound Marketing scenarios) through different channels.
This process enriches the database with usable behavioural data and allows both :
- nurture a prospect's interest in your company/offers
- to develop and deepen the relationship with him/her over time
- identify their interests and habits (behavioural data)
- to accompany them in the maturation of their project and towards the purchase decision
- Establish a lead scoring based on the various interactions to identify hot prospects and deliver them at the right time to the sales team
This marketing channel therefore ultimately feeds the leads available to the sales staff, who then have a database of qualified contacts with a history of interactions. The list of solutions is long and the offer is varied: Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Exact Target, Silver Pop, InfusionSoft, Koban, Act-On, SalesFusion, Click Dimenson....
4- Sharing knowledge and working together
As is often the case, this innovation comes from Salesforce, an innovation that has been adopted, completed and adapted by the majority of CRM solutions on the market.
The idea is toconsider each entity as a Facebook page: an account, a contact, an opportunity.... What may seem anecdotal at first glance is the ability to store unstructured data on accounts and contacts instead of sharing them by email, and thus not lose information and allow a newcomer to integrate customer knowledge beyond the numbers.
Unstructured data means: interview verbatims, organisation charts, data relating to the customer's market and its offers (in a BtoB context), etc. This means data that does not fit into standardised "dedicated fields" and cannot be imported automatically.
By allowing them to be stored and displayed on the page dedicated to the account or contact, CRM meets several needs:
- Keep track of this information and archive this knowledge, which is part of Business Intelligence and has a high added value in the commercial process.
- Share it, so that different actors can contribute to it and enrich it (a member of the customer service or a project manager can glean key information about the customer's decision-makers or projects from his or her exchanges with the customer, which will be of significant value to the salesperson)
- To "historicise" it: to link the rich information obtained in this way to the history of interactions between the company and the client, and thus to enable any person taking over the file to quickly become aware of this information and to take account of the client's past history
The possibility of subscribing to "feeds" to follow the "news feed" of a contact or an account can allow the manager to monitor the activity of his sales staff, the sales person to follow the news of his client...or several members of a team to work together (sales staff working together on the same account, sales team + marketing team + customer service).
This also avoids a dramatic pitfall often encountered in teams not using a CRM: the pure and simple loss of information, or its control by a single person (likely to leave the company).
CRM is therefore a real goldmine for optimising the sales force and developing a more collaborative approach within your company... Provided that it is well chosen and really used! Two essential elements on which we work daily with clients of all sizes from many sectors, such as :
- the health sector: BIOMNIS
- the leisure and event sector: STADE DE FRANCE
- Industry: GPN (Total Group), GEMALTO
- the services sector: GL Events, APICIL
And you, how do your teams use CRM tools? What benefits have you observed and what difficulties have you encountered in implementing such a tool?
To learn more about CRM solutions and to help you with your projects, find all our methods and tools here:
1 ] http://go.iko-system.com/rs/ikosystemtrial2/images/eBook_statistiques_action_commerciale_2012.pdf