How to use a CRM to improve sales productivity

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Most businesses succeed or fail depending on the number of sales they bring in, which is why boosting sales figures is one of the main aims of any CRM tool. However, improving the productivity of your sales personnel may not be easy. There could be a whole range of bottlenecks holding back conversion - and any slowdown gives time for a customer to consider their options and potentially go with a competitor. 

The best CRM software won’t let that happen and includes a range of features that are designed specifically to make things easier for your sales team. Although CRM tools do have other functionalities - they can be a great marketing aid, for example - helping your sales team deliver optimal results will be one of their primary functions. 

Whatever industry you’re based in - from insurance to real estate -  the productivity of your sales team is hugely important. Many companies are still failing to get the most from their CRM software, but the below guide should help. We’ve outlined several ways of using a CRM that will result in a supercharged sales team and skyrocketing sales. 

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A guide to using your CRM to improve sales productivity

Embrace automation


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One of the biggest drains on productivity within a sales team is the need to carry out mundane, manual, repetitive tasks. Fortunately, many CRM platforms come with IT automation features to remove this burden from sales personnel so they can focus on adding value instead. 

Take Salesforce, for example. This CRM has an AI-driven automation feature called “,” which begins collecting data on your activity and deals as soon as it’s activated so it can conduct lead scoring for your team. Then employees can direct their focus on the leads that are most likely to convert. 

Some of the other sales tasks that can be easily automated also include the sending of personalized emails, creating follow-up tasks, pipeline management, contact management, and more. Anything that speeds up workflows for your sales employees is likely to bring conversion closer and lead to a better experience for customers at the same time. 

Closer integration

Something else that can hamper your sales teams and lead to lower numbers is the existence of workplace silos. With the rise of hybrid work - and the fact that not all personnel are even based in the same location - this has recently become worse in many companies. CRMs can help break down these silos - but only if they offer close integration with other solutions that make up your IT stack. 

Integrating your CRM solution with other tools is easier with some platforms than others. For instance, one of the major strengths of HubSpot CRM is the way that it provides integration with several third-party solutions, including Slack, Gmail, and Facebook Messenger. This means that sales teams won’t be left in the dark regarding previous customer interactions or marketing initiatives. 

Integration means that sales employees form part of a holistic workflow rather than a distinct business unit. Customers are bound to appreciate this as there is little more frustrating than speaking to someone at a company who seemingly doesn’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Integration means sales is part of a broader ecosystem, so your employees can get the information they need wherever it is located. 

Centralize your information

Another way that CRM platforms can boost productivity is by providing a central repository of all the relevant information that your sales team needs. It’s easy to let a sale slip through your fingers if you can’t find the information you need, whether that’s contact details, purchase history, or anything else. CRMs provide a way of centralizing documents and storing important information. 

Streamlining the sales process is about having a clear system in place. Many of the best CRMs, like Pipedrive CRM, are designed so your documents don’t end up stashed away in some forgotten folder. In fact, its Smart Docs feature makes it simple to send trackable quotes, proposals, and contracts directly from within the CRM platform so your sales team always has the resources they need close to hand. 

Turning information into insight

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If things are going well, businesses will have to manage a huge amount of data with every customer providing more and more for sales teams to consider. Given the deluge of data, it’s easy to get lost with sales teams having little idea of how to turn the huge quantities of information into useful insights. 

The dashboard of your CRM can really help your sales personnel here, providing charts and reports that store, collate, and analyze the information you have. Analytics features can then transform the sales data into useful insights that can be used when engaging with existing or prospective customers. Some common insights that you are likely to find within your CRM dashboard include leads organized by source, the number of deals in your pipeline, the average time from lead to conversion, and your closing ratio. Data is helpful - but only if it can be put to good use.

Foster collaboration

Closing deals can be sped up when multiple members of the same sales team can all work on it. CRMs include a number of features that help with collaboration so individuals can work on the tasks that suit them best before passing on the next part of the sales process to another team member. 

Some of the CRM features that aid collaboration include the option of tagging team members in comments so they can get involved in a deal. Alerts can also be set up so nothing slips through the cracks. Notifications can inform colleagues that it’s time to take over a task or that additional information would be helpful. 

Small business CRMs are especially good at fostering collaboration as these organizations often rely on everyone chipping in to get a deal over the line. It also means that sales personnel can take a break from a particular sale to avoid burnout. Collaboration is about creating an environment where members of the sales team know when to support their colleagues by helping out so they can take a break or step back so they can let their strengths shine. Use your CRM to think about productivity in terms of the team - not the individual. 

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.