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What is Sales CRM: A Complete Guide

The art of selling in this post-modern age has become a lot more sophisticated than non-sales people would expect.

General sales that you would naturally think involves a straightforward process of getting customers and selling to them has morphed into a tech-based and data-driven process that sales managers and reps have to abide by to generate sales.

Due to the numerous product or service options and offers available to customers daily, it has become imperative for businesses and salespeople who are passionate about increasing their customer base and revenue to learn how to build and maintain strong relationships with their customers.

If you have been an ardent follower of trends and new practices in sales, you would understand the significance of customer relationship management (CRM) to lead generation, sales prospecting, and closing sales deals.

For this reason, sales managers and reps use sales CRM software to streamline the sales process, monitor the performance of the sales team, and manage leads as they move through the sales funnel. This type of CRM manages the entire sales cycle and enables task automation to give sales reps more time to focus on more demanding tasks.

In this guide, we will cover what a sales CRM entails and help you understand how integrating a sales CRM software in your sales process can help you achieve better results.

Keep reading!

Table of Content

  • What is Sales CRM?
  • Challenges faced by the Sales teams and organizations
  • How can Sales CRM Software benefit your sales team?
  • What is the impact of CRM on sales activities?
  • Factors to consider before choosing a Sales CRM software
  • Basic features of Sales CRM software
  • 8 best CRM Software
  • How can Sloovi Outreach help your sales teams?

What is Sales CRM?

 sales crm software

Customer relationship management software is used by sales teams to compile and save customer data, generate leads or prospects, and manage them as they move through the sales cycle.

Present-day sales require that sales reps build and manage strong relationships with their customers in the sales pipeline and follow up with them consistently to drive sales and organizational growth.

For sales teams to meet and exceed their sales targets, they have to do more than just close deals. After closing sales deals, sales reps have to develop sales strategies that will help them improve customer relationships and retention.

For this reason, sales and marketing teams use a CRM system to get a birds-eye view of their sales pipeline and prioritize tasks to drive success.

A sales CRM tool helps sales teams to perform a variety of tasks from sales forecasting to prospecting, lead generation and scoring, contact management, sales pipeline management, sales performance tracking, and managing the entire sales process.

Challenges faced by the Sales teams and organizations

 crm sales

Considering the truckload of tasks that lies on the desks of sales reps in addition to the countless follow-ups they have to do, it would be counter-productive and seemingly impossible for them to achieve their sales goals without CRM software.

A sales CRM software helps sales reps manage multiple sales pipelines, streamline the processes to close deals, and improve customer retention.

In this section, we will be identifying some of the challenges that sales teams and organizations face without using sales CRM software.

1. Disorganized Prospect list

A successful sales prospecting requires that the prospect list is organized and regularly updated to help the sales team track how they progress in the sales pipeline.

When sales teams enter this information manually, it would be difficult to track their progress with the prospects, prioritize which prospects to call, and update the list as they move to another stage in the sales cycle.

Imagine having to manually enter over 500 customer data weekly without a sales CRM tool to automate this and create patterns to study how prospects make decisions, It would surely be difficult for the sales teams to meet their targets and achieve sales.

2. Managing timely follow-ups with prospects

Effective communication and follow-up with prospects are key to helping them progress on the sales pipeline.

With the numerous list of competitors that are most likely sending your prospects similar marketing content and promotions, the only way a sales rep can win those prospects is by building and maintaining frequent communication with them.

Without a CRM software that tracks the sales process to notify sales reps when and how they should reach their prospects, doing this manually can increase frustration and cause sales reps to lose their valuable prospects and customers.

3. Internal Communication issues

Communication is important for the success of the operation of every team – sales, marketing, customer service, business development, and strategic management teams in an organization.

Sales and other sales supporting teams such as the marketing and customer support teams have to be on the same page to collaborate and convert prospects to paying customers and encourage customer loyalty.

Without a sales CRM software that shows the sales team the stage that every customer is at in the sales cycle and assigns tasks to reps, it can be difficult for internal teams to agree on tasks. Check out the guide related to sales qualified leads.

4. Difficulty tracking individual performance

Performance tracking is important for sales reps to monitor their activities and the progress of their sales efforts. Without tracking how they are faring and the number of deals they close, it would be hard for sales reps to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

As they say, you can only work on what you know, without the weekly or monthly tracking of their performance, they won’t be able to identify what they are doing right or wrong to improve their sales results.

5. Hard to determine the tasks to focus on

One of the benefits of using a sales CRM tool is its ability to manage and prioritize tasks to help sales reps know which prospects need to be called or sent content for sales, etc.

Since manually managing various sales tasks can be overwhelming for sales reps to handle, using sales CRM software can help them to automate tasks and notify them of their pending tasks or prospects that need their attention in the sales pipeline.

6. Difficulty meeting sales goals

As explained earlier, a structured sales process and regular tracking of the sales activities and performance can help sales teams meet their sales target and increase revenue.

Without sales CRM software, it would be difficult for sales managers and representatives to plan their activities, prioritize tasks and effectively interact with their prospects and customers to drive sales and achieve their sales goals. Find the difference, gross sales vs net sales.

7. Identifying market trends

Data is critical for the success of every sales effort. To sell to your prospects and customers, it important that you are well-informed about the market trends in your product or service industry to understand how you can improve your products or services to fit the current market demands.

Without sales CRM software, it would be difficult for business leaders and sales and marketing leaders to understand what they need to work on in their products or service to make them attractive enough for a customer to buy.

How can Sales CRM Software benefit your sales team?

Sales CRM software is indispensable in modern-day sales generation. A versatile sales CRM software can help your sales team improve their performance and achieve better sales results.

In this section, we will identify some of the ways a sales CRM software can benefit your sales team.

1. Simplify the lead generation process

Lead generation is a very important process that sales teams must go through to get customers and drive sales. It is the process of compiling lists of individuals who have indicated an interest in your product or services.

Lead generation is the first stage of getting customers. To convert leads to customers, sales reps have to nurture relationships with them to move the leads through the sales pipeline.

With CRM software, you won’t have to spend long hours compiling a list of leads and nurturing them to initiate sales, you can automate the tasks to nurture leads.

2. Forecast sales

One of the significances of sales CRM software is to help the sales team predict future sales by monitoring market trends and customer behaviors to identify when customers will buy.

Considering all the tasks required to close a deal, you don’t want to waste your time on the wrong prospects or customers. 

A sales CRM software can help you identify the qualified leads and customers that are likely to make a purchase soon.

3. Manage sales operations

The present-day sales process requires a lot of effort and active follow-ups from sales reps to encourage customers to make a purchase.

Looking at the amount of work that sales reps have to put in to make sales happen, CRM software will help them manage their tasks and entire operations from lead generation to prospecting, handling field sales, communicating with leads, and tracking results.

4. Monitor sales performance

Sales CRM software is crucial for tracking sales activities and monitoring the performance of the sales reps in a given period – weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.

For sales reps, this will help them track how they are faring – the number of deals they close and the revenue generated – to help them improve their performance. 

Performance tracking can also help sales managers to make data-driven decisions on sales training and appraisals.

5. Increase profit margin and revenue

The ultimate goal of the sales team is to help the organization maximize profits and gain more revenue.

When sales teams are well-informed about the factors that influence sales and have data on ways they can improve the sales process and convince prospects and customers to make a purchase, they can achieve their sales goals and drive organizational growth.

With a sales CRM software, sales teams can automate tasks, improve communication with customers and shorten the sale cycle, they can increase profitability and revenue.

What is the impact of CRM on sales activities?

 best sales crm

The sales process consists of the stages and activities that sales teams perform to move prospects through the sales cycle. 

Sales CRM software can be instrumental in helping prospects and leading progress on the sales pipeline.

In this section, we have listed the six (6) sales activities that sales teams use CRM software for.  

Activity 1: Prospecting

Prospecting is part of the first stage of the sales process. It is the discovery stage where reps generate leads and separate quality leads from unqualified ones to move them to the next stage of the sales cycle.

The major challenge with this is that the large number of leads you get can make it difficult to identify and separate qualified leads that will most likely purchase from the ones that are not ready to buy from you.

A sales CRM software can help sales and marketing teams to identify leads that they should prioritize and communicate with to enable sales.

Activity 2: Lead Management

Lead management is the next step after identifying quality leads. It involves managing leads to help them make the purchase decision faster. For this, sales teams must stay on top of their game to reduce the possibility of losing leads.

The challenge with this step is that the large number of leads and tasks that sales reps have to communicate with and perform can increase the risk of losing quality leads when they are not given enough attention.

With sales CRM software, you can prioritize communication and follow-ups with your most qualified leads to encourage sales and eliminate the risk of losing valuable prospects. 

Activity 3: Contact Management

Contact management is the process of managing your prospect and customer list to ensure that the list is up-to-date, organized, and accessible with a customer database.

The challenge with this step is that when sales teams do this manually they risk making mistakes, and errors in sales data can be fatal.

With CRM software, sales teams can create and manage their customer database to make the contact information up-to-date, organized, and accessible to everyone in the sales and marketing teams.

Activity 4: Sales presentation and pitching

Sales reps have to make sales presentations and pitches to their clients to move the sales discussion forward.

The challenge with this is that lack of data can mess up sales presentations or fail to convince the prospective customer about the products or services.

With sales CRM software, sales reps can access demos and get the right information about their clients to convince them to make a purchase.

Activity 5: Closing

This is the last stage where sales reps push for sales – get prospects to make a purchase or lose them. Even when you can get prospects to this closing stage, it does not guarantee that they will eventually make payment.

Timing is crucial at this stage. Lack of information on when a prospect is ready to close the deal can impede this stage.

With sale CRM software, sales reps can keep track of the timing and tasks that they have to complete before closing the deal.

Activity 6: Sales reporting and analytics

Sales reporting and analytics are crucial for performance management and growth management. By tracking and analyzing sales data, you can measure your performance and develop strategies to improve their performance.

Without sales CRM software, it can be challenging to measure this accurately. A CRM software can handle data analysis and help sales teams convert customer data into real-time reports that will provide them with information on how they can improve their performance.

CRM software can also help sales teams track and measure their sales performance. This will enable sales reps to see how they are doing in the pipeline to help them develop strategies where necessary to achieve better results in future transactions.

Factors to consider before choosing a Sales CRM software

 what is crm in sales

Sales automation is one of the biggest benefits of using sales CRM software to manage sales operations. Before selecting a CRM system for your sales team, there are some key factors to consider. They include;

1. Ease of use

A sales CRM software can only help achieve the expected results when the sales team finds it easy to work with. Don’t make things worse for your team by choosing a CRM software that is hard to navigate or has a complicated way of visualizing the data.

For this reason, you need to make sure that the CRM software you select is easy to use and has a simple interface that won’t stress your team out. Consider checking for workflow demo when selecting one.

2. Customizable features

The next thing you must consider when choosing your sales CRM software is its customizable abilities. Check how easy it is to customize the following;

  1. Setting dashboards for individuals and teams.
  2. Ability to add custom fields and lists.
  3. Ability to modify sales pipeline and customer lifecycle.

3. Value for money

This is one of the most important factors that you must consider when choosing any sales CRM software. What can your sales team achieve with CRM software? What features and functionalities do the CRM tool have that can help you generate more revenue and drive business growth? How well does it fit into your budget?

The above are the key questions to ask yourself before committing to any CRM tool to ensure that regardless of the amount you spend on getting the software, it can help you achieve twice the value for that money.

4. Personalized support

The next thing you want to consider is the support system of the CRM software team. How easy is it to reach the team? What’s their average response time? And What have they put in place to guide and support your performance offline.

You won’t want to work with a team that will mostly be unreachable and unwilling to help you when you need them.

5. Integration

When selecting a CRM tool for your sales team, you must check its stance on external software and file integrations. 

Your CRM software must provide you access to some add-ons, allow you to add your existing contact list to the customer database, allowing you to link to some of your in-house sales tools, schedule meetings, create forms and invoices, etc.

If your CRM tool doesn’t allow any of this, you are better off with something better.

Basic features of a Sales CRM software

 sales automation CRM

The main reason you use a CRM system is to help you achieve some of the advanced and sales integration tasks. Thus, you must ensure that when choosing your CRM software, it can help you perform the following tasks;

1. Streamline your sales process

Your CRM system must be able to help you streamline and improve your sales process. It should be able to simplify your workflow, build a sales pipeline, and analyze data.

2. Manage customer touchpoints

Your CRM software must be able to help you manage customer interaction touchpoints – chats, social media, email, and website to help increase your customer base.

3. Sales automation

Your CRM software must enable you to automate your sales tasks. It should be able to help you manage your inventory, track team performance, help schedule team members’ tasks, and plan for busy times.

4. Lead tracking & generation

Your CRM software should help you identify sales leads, track the activities of the leads on your platforms – social media, emails, and website – and help you compile a list of the qualified leads.

5. Lead management

Your CRM system must be able to help you manage leads, prioritize them based on their behavior, and help you schedule tasks to manage the leads to reduce the risk of losing potential customers.

6. Contact management

Your sales tool must be able to help you create a contact list – a customer database – organize the list, and update it as you get new leads or move them to the next stage of the sales cycle.

7. Account management tools

Your CRM software must have account management tools to help your sales team manage their accounts by monitoring sales activities, pending sales lists, and payment status.

8. Quotation management

Your sales tool must be able to help you generate quotations and keep track of the pending sales payment. This feature is essential for sales forecasting, customer segmentation, and operational management.

9. Opportunity management

You must ensure that the CRM system can help you spot potential sales opportunities, and provide you with quick action plans on how to build and make good use of the opportunity.

10. Proposal management

Lastly, you must ensure that your CRM software can help you manage sales proposals and track projects, quotes, letters, messages, and contracts.

Eight (8) best CRM Software

Considering all the valuable information we have provided you in this guide, it would be incomplete without sharing some of the best CRM software for you to choose from.

In this section, we will be listing eight (8) best CRM tools to choose from.

1. Sloovi Outreach

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Sloovi Outreach is an all-in-one CRM platform that enables your sales teams to smash sales targets, reduce costs, and improve sales productivity by tracking your daily sales workflow, creating customized and intuitive reports, scheduling more meetings, and prioritizing leads with dynamic Smart Views.

Sloovi Outreach also allows sales managers to keep track of the performance of every member of the sales team, as well as manage the communication and sales activities that go on in the sales pipeline,

2. HubSpot CRM

crm sales software

HubSpot CRM is one of the foremost CRM solutions available for sales teams. It manages the sales process, enables lead management, and allows sales teams to ensure cross-channel customer interactions.

HubSpot is free and allows unlimited users on the software. It also has a paid sales Hub that uses artificial intelligence and high-end automation to generate customer insights and generate real-time reposts on sales activities.

HubSpot’s marketing and sales Hub payment plan start at $50 per month.

3. Zendesk Sell

 crm for sales

Zendesk Sell is a sales force automation software that unites the sales team and customer services teams to improve customer experience. The sales automation feature allows sales reps to work on more demanding tasks, while it manages and schedules menial tasks.

Zendesk Sell helps sales teams find new qualified leads and help them identify sales opportunities with action plans on how to make the best out of the opportunities.

Zendesk sell is perfect for sales prospecting, conversions, scheduling customer follow-ups, and improving customer retention.

4. Salesforce

 what does crm stand for in sales

You’ve probably heard a lot about Salesforce and how it’s preferred by many big shots in the business services industry. Salesforce has a CRM app that is customizable and helps sales teams streamline the sales processes, collaborate and enable integrations.

Salesforce has a very robust sales CRM software that helps sales teams and sales managers to automate several tasks and decision-making processes. Salesforce’s essential feature enables sales reps to import data, track prospects and deals, and improve customer relationships to drive sales.

The salesforce’s essential plans for sales and support start at $25 per month.

5. Salesmate

free sales crm

Salesmate is a very easy-to-use and adaptable sales software that helps sales reps improve their productivity and manage customer interaction with its customizable and interactive sales dashboard.

Salesmates features allow sales teams to schedule phone calls with clients, track sales deals, enable sales forecasting, reporting, and analytics, and automate sales email sending.

Salesmate CRM also allows integration with external platforms and apps. Its starter plan starts at $12 per month.

6. Zoho CRM

 sales crm meaning

Zoho CRM is a household name in the sales CRM business. With its simple interface, customizable features, automation, and social media functions, Zoho CRM offers services to clients of all sizes and types of business.

Zoho enables integration with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to help sales reps reach and engage with their prospects easily. Zoho CRM tools also enable sales reporting, lead management, sales automation, customer support, and analytics.

Zoho has a free version for up to 3 users, while paid version price starts at $14 per month.

7. Capsule

 sales pipeline CRM

Capsule CRM supports effective customer relationships management that helps its client’s businesses grow.

Capsule helps salespeople manage their daily tasks, monitor the activities in the sale pipeline – customer data generation, lead generation, sales bids, proposals, etc. – and suggest action plans with a timeline to guide sales reps.

Capsule CRM also makes it easy for sales teams to find specific customer information from the customer database or exported contact list. Like Zoho CRM, Capsule CRM also has a free plan for up to 2 users while, its professional plan starts at $18 per month.

8. Copper

 sales and CRM

Copper CRM helps salespeople create a well-designed sales pipeline that helps them manage leads, qualify leads and add contacts to the customer database.

Copper CRM has a deep integration with Gmail and helps you create a weekly pipeline progression report to improve workflow, stay informed about important leads and improve the sales team communication. 

Its basic plan starts at $19 per month.

How can Sloovi Outreach help your sales teams?

crm and sales

Sloovi’s Outreach is an all-in-one platform that enables your sales and marketing teams to accelerate, manage and enhance campaigns by managing leads, automating sales outreach, developing customized reports, and managing the sales pipeline.

Sloovi Outreach will enable your sales teams to smash your sales target, reduce cost, and improve sales productivity by tracking your daily sales workflow, creating customized and intuitive reports, scheduling more meetings, and prioritizing leads with dynamic Smart Views.

Outreach offers four services;

Lead generation

sales crm system

This feature helps you manage all your leads from a unified platform. It also allows you to add thousands of sales leads and prioritize and track every integration with a sales lead.

Cold Outreach automation

crm for sales team

This feature will enable you to send personalized, scalable, and automated sales outreach via emails, global calls, and SMS.

Report Creation

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This feature provides sales leaders with all the insights about the activities of their sales reps

Pipeline Management

crm sales meaning

This feature tracks all the deals you are about to crack as they travel through each sales stage. Also, check out the sales-related guide, sales funnel template, sales prospecting, sales analysis report and B2B sales process.