Growing revenue is at the heart of any bottom line. Yet business development, lead nurturing and finally, closing deals takes a lot of resources.

CRM for growth

A good CRM helps your business grow. Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 or a one-person operation, you need a system for getting and closing more business. And, the more you can systematize it, the more profitable you can be.

That’s the goal of a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) like Salesforce, Zoho, Nimble or any of a dozen others.

When a CRM works, it closes the gap between sales and marketing and streamlines your communications. Ultimately, this helps you make close more sales.

Think of it like this, if you have 5 customers you probably know them well. You probably speak to them frequently and understand their business intimately. You likely know a good deal about their personal life too: if they have pets, where they last went on vacation and if they’re married and have kids.

However, as your business grows, it gets harder to know your customers as well. If you have 50 clients, you probably don’t speak to them as often and that some of that personal touch is lost.

And what about those potential customers?

The ones you meet today who aren’t ready for your products or services? A CRM can help you stay in touch with them through regular “touches” so when they’re ready to buy, you’re there.

The 30,000 Foot View

In the big picture, a CRM is software that allows you to put in data about your prospects and clients (current or future) and deliver them useful and relevant information at various points so you stay top of mind.

You’ve see this in action.

Let’s say you want to improve the conversions on your website. You find out about a service that makes it easy to set up high performing landing pages and sign up for a webinar. The webinar spends time showing you ways to increase your conversions using their product as examples. At the end they offer you a great deal so you decide to give it a try.

Or…

You don’t decide to give it a try at that time so you get retargeted all over the internet for weeks afterwards. You also get email messages showing you various ways this service has helped their clients improve their goals.

It’s a typical sales funnel.

You do x which triggers y. In this case retargeting and email messages.

What Does that Have to Do with a CRM?

Most sales teams are struggling with a way to transition to the new way of doing business. Now that 57%-90% of the sales cycle is completed before the sales team talks with the prospect, according to sources like Forrester and Gartner, sales is no longer in charge of the sales cycle.

This creates an opportunity to take on the role of guide or advisor so you can recapture your place earlier in the sales process.

A Step by Step

Imagine that you sell a solution for remote meetings. A less expensive but reliable version of GoTo Meeting. Your prospect is a small business who wants the capability of holding video conference meetings periodically but with a lower price tag and they don’t want to use Google Hangout.

When they Google “video conferencing software” or “remote meeting” or “web conference” your solution comes up because you have great content on your website that’s optimized for the terms your customers use.

Prospect “Sue” arrives on your site, wanders around, likes what she sees but she wants to see it in action and find out if it’s as good as you say it is. After all, she’d like to skip the embarrassment of dropped video and other tech glitches.

Of course, you offer a few case studies. You may offer a free trial right but Sue wants to keep looking. She wants to be sure before she spends her time learning yet another new software program.

In order to catch the Sue’s who are still shopping around, you offer a gated PDF on “10 Things to Ask Your Next Video Conference Provider”. Hmm..that seems interesting, she downloads it.

Now, you have her email address. A few days after she downloads the PDF, you can see if she’s opened it or not. If not, your system can trigger an email reminding her of a couple of things to look for with another link to the PDF.

A few days later, you’ll send her another content based email and include an offer of the free trial again.

A CRM shortens the sales cycle

Marketing automation helps you shorten the sales cycle

Meanwhile, she continues to search when she thinks about it. She’ll read some reviews, probably ask a few colleagues and when you send your email reminders, you’re top of mind again.

That’s what a good CRM integrated with your marketing/sales process can do for you. When it’s firing on all cylinders, it shortens the sales cycle and lowers your customer acquisition costs.

Getting More From Your CRM

If you put in the right data – for you–name, title, industry, size of business, contact info you can then set up reminders about when you can reach out to them again.

That’s a no brainer right?

And, if you can offer useful information from time to time, you’re building a relationship.

You continue to offer value, your prospect appreciates it and when they’re ready to buy you’re there.

You’ve short-circuited the sales cycle.

A great CRM will streamline your messages. Then, actions trigger a follow up.

That’s the magic of the marketing technology—You provide the right content at the right time so when the time is right, your prospect becomes your client.

Do you have a CRM in place to fuel your sales and marketing machine?