What is Sales Management Software?
Sales management software hails from back in the day, back when even Excel was a gleam in Bill Gates’ eye. The very first examples of these platforms were basic databases that you could use to track clients: their names, their contact details, and maybe references to when you last called them and what they’re interested in. They were big long unstructured lists, and there was no real use for the data other than to keep track of who’d said what to whom and when.
Fast forward to today, and the scope of sales management software has mushroomed. Now we have more widely adopted species of software like CRMs and lead tracking management systems that can do much, much more than just help you keep track of your client’s contact details. You can contact clients directly through a CRM, send them quotes and invoices, create email templates and set them up to send automatically, track how well your sales reps are performing with a wide rage of sales performers and more.
Sales Management Software Features: the Basics vs. the Interesting Stuff
CRMs are super powerful. You can use them to completely change the customer journey, all the way from when they first encounter your business to after they’ve become a repeat customer. And that’s not just change for the sake of change; it help you sell faster and more effectively before.
There are three main strands of CRM uses: supporting internal staff, automating/improving how you contact customers, and centralising your data. So for example a CRM can support your staff because it provides structure with calendars and schedules. It can improve how you contact customers by sending emails automatically, or helping you gather data to understand your audience better. And since it’s one big system that you can use over multiple locations/departments, the fact that all your data is in one place can prove useful. These are the basics and we’ve covered them in more detail here if you’d like to know more.
All the interesting stuff when it comes to managing company sales with software is made possible because of three key things: the cloud, big data and automation. Now two of those- the cloud and big data- have been super ‘in’ for a while now, but that doesn’t mean they’re nothing but buzzwords! Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting uses for sales management software.
- Use it to benchmark employee/team rewards
So obviously you can use your sales management software to track how well each employee/team is doing. If you wanted to do something useful with the data you’re collecting, why not set a benchmark for exceptional past performance and build a reward system around breaking those records? You can offer anything as a prize from clocking off early to an all-expenses-paid trip (depending on how big the benchmark is).
- A/B test everything
You’re probably familiar with A/B testing your marketing campaigns: say, for example, sending out two different newsletters and seeing which one engages your audience better. Have you ever thought of A/B testing your internal sales processes? Have one team focus on (say) upselling vs. another team who try to keep calls with leads and clients as short as possible. See which team performs better, and see what you can learn from that. There are many reasons why you should do this. If it's something you're not familiar with, you should check out this article.
- Build a resource library
Knowledge is, and always has been, power. It’s one thing to only make sure you hire the best of the best, but what about making sure your mega-qualified Oxbridge grads are backed by as much experience as possible? With some CRMs you can set up document libraries and fill them with all sorts of useful stuff: academic resources, the best of the blogosphere or even staff diaries about their experiences.
Why is Researching Your Tools Important?
First up, you should know that not all CRMs are created equal. Some are simple and only have a couple of features, others are absolutely laden with tools, whether they’re customer facing or not. That’s why putting in the research before you commit to a CRM, as well as some research before you adopt a particular tool, is so important.
What do you actually need your sales management software to do? Do you want to make sure that your sales force are working efficiently, and you need stats to make that call? If so you could look at performance indicators like…
- Call duration
- Call outcome percentages (e.g. deals closed vs. chances lost)
- Leads contacted per day
- Average number of contacts per lead
Each of these metrics is going to tell you something different. Take call duration for example. Short call durations are good for customer service, but not necessarily for sales; it could indicate that you’re not upselling/cross-selling enough. Average number of contacts per lead could indicate either that your staff take good care of each lead by building good customer relationships, or that they struggle to close sales. That’s why it’s best to use qualitative data like call recordings in conjunction with these stats to paint a clearer picture. With both qualitative and quantitative data, you’ll learn so much more, and you can give an incredible boost to your sales team!