Software can help your sales process in a number of ways, and there’s a wide range of options to choose from. The systems are usually Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Management (ERM), or are included in many of the Accounting software packages available.
Although a CRM can bring more automation, tracking, insights and transparency to your sales process and team; it can be a challenge to choose the right solution with the available options having varied feature sets.
Most CRM systems help with the acquisition of new customers, and the retention of those customers.
Customer Acquisition in a CRM is usually based on the model of the sales funnel. Customers that have shown (possible) interest come into the wide end of the funnel as “Leads”, and progress through the funnel when the sale becomes more defined, and eventually agreed upon with a new customer. Throughout the funnel, there are “Drop Outs” where a potential customer decides not to progress.
Why not just use a spreadsheet?
You can, and that would be a form of CRM, but it’s not giving you the benefits of some of the more specialised solutions can provide. For example:
- You're missing out on some opportunities for automated lead capture, such as account sign up / contact / quote forms on your website. Or integration with other lead generation solutions.
- Creating reports on the data contained in a spreadsheet can be a manual and error prone process. The insights around where potential customers are dropping out are visualised in automated reports in most CRMs.
- Communications with customers over email, social media or phone are siloed in their respective systems. This can affect the scalability of your customer relations. A CRM can track those touch points and their content so they can be easily referred to. Having the communications consolidated like this can improve the quality of your relationship management, as it makes it less likely you’ll forget something that was discussed; bringing new team members on an account up to speed is also smoother.
A good starting point is to map out your current sale process, as this can help identify where software can help, and if the benefits will out weigh the costs. From that point, a suitable choice of software can usually be determined by the size and type of your organisation.