CRM Best Practices for Sales Opportunity Management
What are the best practices to increase the CRM maturity of your business processes (sales, marketing, customer service processes, etc.)? After introducing the sound practices that will improve your customer service management, we continue this series by providing you with practices that will maximize the management of your sales opportunity. The efficiency of a company relies greatly on the effectiveness of the tools used to manage opportunities, in other words, to push each opportunity towards the sales cycle. The more you provide your team with the right methods to track the progress of prospects being converted into customers, the easier it will be to evaluate the resources needed to plan your production and/or service delivery. In this article, you will learn more specifically how to optimize your sales pipeline management and more accurately predict which opportunities will result in a sale.
Evaluating the efficiency of your sales pipeline management
Most companies use a sales pipeline (or funnel) to control their sales cycle. If the pipeline is managed efficiently, your sales director will be able to measure the demand for products and services and accurately predict the resources needed. If the pipeline is well managed, your sales team will always be able to accurately track the progress of potential customers until the purchase has been made. We emphasize the word “if” since in reality, the sales pipeline is not always applied efficiently. This is the reason why it is important to evaluate the efficiency of your processes and identify the gaps that are slowing your business down.
Identify the hindering factors of good sales pipeline management
Poor management of the sales pipeline will lead to inaccurate predictions, which will increase the losses of your company. Companies can lose up to 12% of their profits due to data errors that can be avoided by implementing better practices. It is essential to identify the practices that are causing these losses and errors. Here are a few indicators:
- You do not have processes to centralize information and avoid data errors in the same CRM
- Due to a mobile CRM application, your representatives do not continuously enter information in the CRM.
- You do not have control over the follow-ups of the next steps in CRM.
- You do not measure the development of your sales cycle via your CRM.
- Your managers do not use CRM as an information tool to validate the work of their representatives and to train them to accelerate a positive conclusion of the sales cycles.
- You do not use predictive analytics to predict your needed resources by considering external factors.
4 good practices that will optimize your pipeline management
To improve your opportunity management processes, the first essential step is to centralize your sales pipeline information into a single CRM. You must also ensure that the information is accurate and can be consulted by your team in real time.
Here are 4 practices that you must apply to optimize the management of your pipeline:
1 - Automate your actions
Identify all the actions that need to be performed for each step of your sales cycle, from the prospect to the customer. This will allow you to automate certain follow-ups or create reminders to facilitate the work of your sales team.
2 - Make data entry available at all times
Provide your team with a CRM application so that your representatives can enter information into the system while they are on the road. This will ensure that the sales pipeline data track changes in real time. Furthermore, your representatives can review the next actions to be prioritized according to the probabilities of closing a sale.
3 - Document lost opportunities
Document the factors that led to an opportunity loss. An example of this would be to include information about the competitor to whom your profit was lost. This information will be valuable when your team meets to review your marketing campaigns or when they reassess the effectiveness of opportunity management processes.
4 - Use predictive analysis for better planning
Optimized CRMs offer predictive analysis tools, which are operated by the advances of artificial intelligence. These features will allow you to accurately assess the probability of closing an opportunity and include external factors to quantify your resource requirement. For instance, your CRM will consider weather factors, which influence customer buying behaviour or less popular days of the week to calculate your future production.
9 benefits of a good sales pipeline
Optimizing your sales pipeline management will enable you to do the following:
- Document your prediction accurately
- View information about your opportunities accurately
- Monitor your sales objectives with ease to see if they have been achieved
- Give autonomous access to real-time information without asking your representatives
- Standardize processes to avoid loss of information in case of employee turnover
- Automate data entry
- Easily communicate sales cycle information with other departments
- Accurately predict your resource or product needs with predictive analysis
- Include external factors when predicting your production (e.g. weather)
Want to know more about best practices for managing your sales pipeline? If you have questions about how to improve your business processes or optimize your CRM, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts who will be able to offer personalized advice. Please note, this is a more detailed article meant to complete our online tools that will help you identify the CRM maturity stage reached by your company. If you have not already so, refer to our 5-stage maturity matrix and measure the progress of the different types of processes in your company.