David Claxton exposes some useful hints and tips on "How to use the Opportunity Management" application in the Trivaeo Crossroads CRM system
This article describes how the opportunity management application may be effectively used so that it becomes the fulcrum of your sales automation.
The storage of contacts and company information is absolutely commonplace in every CRM system for small business. Indeed, in many such offers on the Internet, that’s just about all it does! But, the need to create a “moving process” for sales is the lifeblood of the sale itself. Think about it. Sales leads and opportunities are like sharks, they have to keep moving otherwise they die.
When you first discover that someone has an interest in your products or services, you start to refer to that contact or company listing as a “Lead”. To be honest, that is all a lead is… A contact that has expressed some interest in your business or its propositions.
You will probably already know that Crossroads CRM for smaller business in Organise and in Growth packs has a way to make those leads move along, by producing “Activity templates” that can be applied to each different sort of lead. So, whether it is a lead for a particular service or a lead from an existing client, there is a template that you have created, that tells whoever is dealing with the lead, just what they need to do and when.
But when does a lead become an “Opportunity”?
Building an Opportunity
An opportunity is an opportunity for you to sell something to somebody. It’s that simple. There are two main things that need to be known in order to actually sell something to anyone…
- What exactly do they want?
- When do they want it?
If you know these two things then the lead is no longer just a lead, it is an opportunity and it is time you engaged with this potential customer to move things along. It is now an opportunity to sell and it needs dealing with properly!
Working with an Opportunity
The first thing to ensure is that all of the information you have about this contact or company and all of the extra information you or your sales teams have gleaned during the lead process will follow you in the software… That seems a bit “Captain Obvious” but you only need to look at half of the CRM systems out there to see that most are silo’d applications that don’t allow attachments or information to be passed throughout a process of sales. I know this sound mad… But I didn’t make these other products and some people actually buy them!
As you upgrade your lead from an opportunity, (this is a simple one-click button in Trivaeo Crossroads CRM), you can start to embellish the information you know about your potential customer and her requirements. This is a standard form and you can add as many tabs as you wish to capture any piece of information you need. However, make no mistake about it. This part is the engine of your sales automation. When you create an opportunity, you need to make absolutely certain that the process you use to close this lead is the best process for your business and for that particular client. It doesn’t matter whether your average conversion time is 10 months or ten days (or ten minutes), a properly executed sales process is going to be absolutely key to your profitability, your sales team success and your client’s satisfaction. Once you are done with this sale, you might like to ask your customer one question.. “On a scale of one to ten, how easy was it to do your business with my company”. The answers you get, will tell you if you have built the best possible sales process or not.
Building a sales process
Sales people absolutely hate CRM systems! That’s a fact, and it’s not without good reason. Most sales people feel that CRM systems are just a way for the “Boss to see information” and that they give nothing back to the people spending hours inputting the information. In most companies, I have seen sales people ignoring the need to keep their CRM up to date until ten minutes before a sales meeting , when they scramble to put any old rubbish into the boxes, just to stay out of the firing line. This is how people currently perceive CRM. This situation has come about, because most CRM systems have a rigid process already designed, that cannot be changed, to suit the client or the type of opportunity and as such cannot assist the sales person at all. A good CRM would allow you to personalise the sales process in such a way that it allows you to work WITH the process, adding and changing information in real-time as it happens and the process allows the sales person to become more efficient and sell more in less time.
Horses for Courses
There is no such thing as “a one size sales process fits all”. Every different product you have and every different client type you have need their own process designed to match their needs. Trivaeo Crossroads allows you to design the sales processes you will use and to create as many stages to each process as you need. The stages will denote how mature the sale is becoming and will start to produce real-time “widget” style reports for your own desktop that show where you are in each process. These real-time reports will keep all sales people engaged and give something back immediately for their efforts as they create the sales opportunity information forms. Choosing the right process to follow for the right type of client is easy and will ensure your customers are treated in the best possible way, even when you are not there to check at every stage.
Who is involved with your sales opportunities?
A new sale is an exciting thing. Sales people work on each sale as it drives their earnings. But you must not forget that closing a sale is the responsibility of the whole company. If the only people in your business that input to the CRM are sales staff, then you are missing a big trick. The best sales people your business has are:
- Design engineers
- Finance Managers
- Project Managers
- Quality Inspectors
- Service Managers
To name a few…
The closing of a sale is an event that must be enhanced by a much wider process and in many cases a small army of people. Your clients need to know that you are building their required payment process into the sale, that the Project team are waiting for them with all of the information they need to make a quick start, that the products and services are ready for delivery and, most importantly, that your sales person is not working alone. Now, don’t get me wrong, many small businesses do have very few people working on each client account. But there is nothing stopping you appearing to be big is there?
Automating the sales process will ensure you don’t make mistakes
As an opportunity progresses your client will go through a number of buying stages with you and your reaction at each stage will determine your success to close the sale or failure and loss of that order.
In many cases, the following of a predetermined “best practice” sales methodology is key.
The Opportunities application in Trivaeo Crossroads CRM system allows you to do just that. Opportunities allows you to link service level agreements with the client, to design and agree on the best billing, invoicing and payment terms, to keep the project teams informed that the order is coming, to prepare delivery times and quality follow up visits. All of this whilst seeing, in real-time, the entire pipeline for each business segment and each sales team and how they are performing against targets makes the investment in a CRM for your business a complete “no brainer”!