When you sit down to plan out your pipeline for the week, month, or quarter, chances are you do so with enthusiasm and zeal. “This is going to be my best quarter ever!” you think, as you finalize your plans to close however many sales in the next 3 months.
Alas, even if you are a rockstar salesman, sometimes you’re going to fall short of your projections. Before you know it, you’ve got a month left to the quarter and you’re looking at a pipeline that has more holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese. There are a few things more disheartening than approaching the end of a quarter knowing that there is just no way for you to hit your goals.
Well, with enough foresight and the right tools, you can turn around even the worst of quarters so that, even if you don’t hit your goals, you get pretty darn close. And one of the most important tools for any salesperson, especially in this regard, is going to be their CRM. Here are three ways that you can use your CRM to fill holes in your sales pipeline next time you’re having a bad quarter.
1. CRMs let you forecast more accurately so that you don’t wind up in this mess to begin with.
Look, we get it, sometimes you just feel confident. But if you are feeling overly confident about your ability to hit certain numbers during a quarter (especially numbers that you’re just pulling out of thin air) then you may well be setting yourself up for stress and disappointment at the end of the quarter.
If you want a pipeline that is profitable and achievable, you need to first focus on accurately forecasting your future needs and (realistic) sales goals. To do this, you need to know your numbers: the average number of leads created per month, conversion rate of leads to opportunities, conversion rate of opportunities to customers, average revenue per sale, etc., so that you know around how many leads your sales team needs to contact to hit their goals.
CRMs make it easy to track this information automatically, ensuring that your targets are accurate. In addition to keeping these numbers on hand, they can also offer you helpful insights into what your Sales and Marketing teams could be doing differently in order to be more effective. If, say, your conversion rate of opportunities to customers is exceptionally low, maybe there is something in the final sales pitch that you should be doing differently to boost that number. Or if the conversion rate of leads to opportunities is scant, maybe Marketing isn’t hitting on the right topics or creating the right content.
By forecasting more accurately, you’ll be setting yourself up for success instead of failure.
2. CRMs keep track of your cheerleaders.
Remember Mark? He was a part of the team over at XYZ Company and loved everything that you did to help them grow their business. If you ever came close to having your own personal cheerleader, it was probably him. Whatever happened to him? He left XYZ a few years ago and you don’t know where he landed, but wouldn’t it be great to have him on your side at his new company?
Mark is an example of a cheerleader—someone who loves what you and your company do, and who would likely be helpful in getting your foot in the door somewhere new.
If one thing is true from business to business and from industry to industry, it’s this: People move around. They go from one company to another. While this can be a negative for you as a seller (since that means you may have to build a brand new relationship with a new employee that works for your client) it can also be a major asset, especially if we’re talking about someone like Mark who loves your service or product.
Simply put, employees that move around can be your foot in the door at countless new companies. They can become emissaries of sort, funneling you business and contacts as they land in new positions. When you find yourself a cheerleader, you’ve got to keep track of them, even if they no longer work for your client.
CRMs can help you keep track of your most valuable contacts so that, in the event of a lackluster quarter, you can leverage them to drum up new business to fill in those gaps.
3. CRMs let you spend less time searching and more time selling.
When a sale is stalled or lost, that creates a hole in your sales pipeline, and chances are you’re going to need to spend a lot of time and effort sifting through details to figure out who else you can slot in to reach your goals. This can be a monumental task to do on your own, but one made a heck of a lot easier with the help of a CRM.
The reason for this boils down to two key tasks that quality CRMs perform: They keep track of how leads interact with your website and other content, and they score leads based on this information.
Why is this important? By automatically scoring your leads based on how they interact with your website and content (whether they open emails, subscribe to your blog, download offers, etc.), CRMs allow you to quickly prioritize which leads you should contact based on how likely they are to close a sale. When you’re trying to piece together a plan of action for filling holes in your sales pipeline, this easy prioritization will save you a lot of time and headaches.
Add in the fact that many CRMs (like HubSpot CRM) will actually keep track of all communications between you and a contact (emails sent and received, phone calls, etc.), and it is especially easy to know exactly where a conversation was left so that you can pick it back up in a moment’s notice.
Bringing it All Together
Nobody likes missing the targets built into their pipeline. The good news is that, as long as you have the right tools to fall back on, like a quality CRM, you can do your best to get back on track to hit your numbers.