What is CRM?

The basic information you need to know before purchasing one for your sales department.

So, what is CRM?

CRM is short for Customer Relationship Management. It is first and foremost a business strategy that is facilitated via a software tool. This means that first your company should implement the process of working according to the CRM strategy and only then install the software.

So, in this article, we will cover the basics of working as a CRM-oriented sales operation and how software can cover of that process. We will look into practical examples of which functionalities of the software cover the sales process, using SpinCRM and its functions as examples.

CRM sales process and challenges

There are clear steps in the sales process that can be quantified pretty easily. It has its challenges too, so first let’s go through the main sales steps, so we’re all on the same page:

  • Lead – a contact that comes through variety of sources: marketing, direct contact, networking, etc.
  • Analysis – hearing and evaluating the requirements of the lead and pricing them accordingly. This process can be long or short depending on product or service being sold.
  • Offer – based on that analysis, the first price offer is presented.
  • Negotiation – in this stage, second, third or even more offers will be made depending on how much room for negotiation there is.
  • Contract – this step happens when the lead agrees to the offer and signs the service or product sale contract.
  • Sale – in this step, the lead becomes a client and moves down to process line to customer support.

Each step in this process has challenges that every company with a sales department will eventually face:

  • Lead – unknown exact number of leads. How many did the sales representative contact today? How many did they contact last week? Last month? Where do these leads come from?
  • Analysis – unclear information on the requirements of the lead. Offers priced wrong. The analysis phase takes too long.
  • Offer – on this step, a lot of sales processes fall off. First offer is rarely a successful, can be priced wrong or there is no follow-up from sales representatives.
  • Negotiation – another common fall-off stage. Not only there isn’t enough follow-up, but negotiation doesn’t go well, sales representatives disregard the lead needs and offer wrong products or services on each new offer.
  • Contract – some leads have a tendency of putting off signing anything and the processes stops again. This can be solved by sales representatives following-up at regular intervals, but it a bump on the road more often than not.
  • Sale – while this step is generally viewed as success, if any other step fails, a sale won’t happen. If your company also runs a customer service, a sale can be viewed as a failure if the customer constantly complaints or the customer service doesn’t receive all information it requires to successfully tend to the client.

As you can see, each step of the sales process meets its challenges. There are also post and pre-sale processes that we will cover in future entries, but let’s focus now on this simple process.

Every single challenge mentioned in this list can be solved by implementing process step checks, goals and easy access to information. All of this and more can be facilitated by the CRM software and of course – SpinCRM.

Software solutions to challenges

As with everything in this world, right type of software is usually the answer to a lot of questions and challenges. Well-implemented CRM software can save you a lot of money and help you manage and deal with these challenges immediately.

Let’s go through each step and their challenges again and see how a CRM software can solve them with examples from SpinCRM:

  • Lead – hard to say how many leads there are, how to contact them and what was done to sell to them. A CRM holds the entire information about the lead in one place. Not just the contact information, but the size of the offer, the steps of sales process that have been made, where the lead has come from, etc. Best example is the Lead Management functionality of SpinCRM.
  • Analysis – determining the right price and needs of the lead sometimes involves a lot of teamwork. Other departments, like development, supply, production, etc. might need to get involved. In this case, a CRM can create a digital space to discuss these needs. In SpinCRM’s case, that can be achieved via Email Integration, as it can be used internally, without leaving the software. It will also retain all the information that was discussed for future reference.
  • Offer – when the first offer is made, rarely does a sale follow. Sometimes the price is not right or some demands by the lead have not been met. On this challenge, a CRM can help by facilitating the exchange of information between colleagues and leads until the correct offer is reached. Commercial offer templates also speed up this process, as well as the possibility of tracking sent offers and responses to them.
  • Negotiation – a step that can take the longest to go through. This is also the step that utilises the reminders and meetings functionalities the most. CRM software functions like calendar, reminders and activity monitoring links everything to the lead. This way, the sales representative has all the necessary information about the lead and what was done to sell to them in one place while negotiating with them.
  • Contract – can be a delayed step or a bump in the process if not followed up in time. Setting up meetings to sign the contract is one way. SpinCRM helps with this step by having contract and VAT invoice templates in the same digital system.
  • Sale – a step only successful if the customer is happy with the product or service they purchased. SpinCRM automatically solves the issue of storing data about the customer by already providing the information of what happened during the sales process to other departments. The sales analysis is also important to determine which sales rep did the best job and to view the sales situation from a broader perspective. SpinCRM provides this data in graphical format.

All these points shows how CRM is a strategy first, a process second and a finally – a tool. A good software like SpinCRM will be a fine tool, covering the entire sales process and will help maintain the strategic CRM course of business action.

Final notes on CRM software

So, what is CRM? We covered that it is first a process, centred around information about the lead that becomes a customer. We also covered that the CRM software is a tool that should be implemented on top of the process. This tool should cover as many steps of the process as possible. Our SpinCRM covers everything a sales process needs and can be successfully implemented into almost any sales department.

Some final notes on CRM software will cover questions of implementation and change in perspective you should consider. We always recommend our customers to keep in mind these 3 things:

  • A CRM will force you to take a broader perspective on your company. It’s not just sales that will eventually need access to the information on your customers and products or services that have been sold to them. All departments have to contribute information about each customer so you could get a clear picture of successes and challenges that customer brings.
  • Implementation phase is important. When choosing a CRM, keep in mind that your company will likely have the same processes as 80% of all companies. Especially when it comes to sales. The remaining 20% are the implementation costs that each CRM provider charges – even SpinCRM. These will cover small adaptations of the CRM to your company’s demands, include training so you wouldn’t have to waste time not knowing what to do, and will make sure you can start working with your own document templates and email addresses.
  • Bespoke CRMs. Sometimes, a CRM can cover only 50% of your processes. This is where additional development will be required and only you will benefit from it. However, it also means that, just like ordering a bespoke table, only you will need to pay for it. Nobody else will use the table you ordered specifically to fit the colour scheme, size and décor of your office. Same with CRMs. It’s best to choose the CRM provider that matches the most of your processes and talk to them about developing further functions based on that. SpinCRM can be developed further upon request.

If you have any follow-up questions about SpinCRM and how it can cover your processes, please contact us for more information. We will be happy to discuss with you everything you want to know about it and help you pick the right plan for you.

If this post has answered most of your questions, pick a plan that is suitable for your company, try out SpinCRM for free and see how well it covers your sales process.

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