A Guide To Mapping Your Sales Process To CRM
One of the most important deliverables of a CRM system is it’s ability to support and improve sales processes. This often ends with how CRM software can be mapped to support the desired sales functions and activities deemed to best for each individual business. This mapping process helps businesses achieve the ROI envisioned when CRM implementation was originally discussed. Unfortunately, even the most advanced CRM’s (like Dynamics CRM or Salesforce) can’t complete this process inherently. Businesses must model and define what these sales processes should look like and then map them to function within their desired system. This is where it gets tricky.
Mapping out an entire selling process to CRM is not a flippant project. In fact, it can be downright messy without considering a few preliminary things first. For many mid market companies, it means exploring which activities and metrics matter most during a selling process. This helps form a common vision and shared language for improving processes and outcomes. Ultimately, this will lead to a better understanding around what elements of the software are best implemented and which are best left out.
Risks of improper use
Salespeople bare the risk of severing a deal when proper mapping of a sales process is not wholly supported inside CRM software. Some sales people already stray far from CRM best practices, and it only pushes them to further neglect it if selling processes fail to support them midway through a potential close. At the end of the day, having software that helps to close more deals and predict future successes was likely a primary motivation for implementation to begin with. If the software becomes a flaw in the sales process the CRM implementation has likely failed.
By the same token, many selling processes revolve around suppliers and inventory when it should consider the end-user. Mapping a sales process should be customer-centric and be designed with their pocket books in mind. What processes, products, services are most valuable to them? How fast can we make that happen for them? These questions are helpful in clarifying technical and functional uses of a selling process and the future of account management in CRM.
Tips for mapping a sales process to you CRM
Mapping a selling process to CRM starts at implementation. If your business fails to complete this on the front end of an implementation project CRM adoption can become a serious concern. Users want to see how the software supports the jobs that they carryout. Often system changes— or worse—lack of direction, can cause users to lose faith in the software and the companies objectives.
Sales process mapping must be focused
The selling process should be configured with the end-user in mind. The sequence of events which occur throughout the sales process – from lead to A/R – should be available for review inside CRM. Generally, sales people work on commission and strive to accommodate customers as best as possible to close a deal. Given their slight constraint, it is important for them to give customers what they want, exactly as they want it, when they want it.
Customers are more frequent to return if the buying process is quick and painless, and sales people are more likely to buy-in to processes that they view as successful or supportive. Given that approach to system mapping, business process modeling should illustrate value-added sales events that customers find resourceful. This could include things like instant ordering or same-day fulfillment for buyers, or limited data-entry and mobile friendly functionality for sales people (both are purely examples).
By altering the approach to sales process mapping from maximizing software features to optimizing sales process functions, businesses can expect to see greater utilization, better user adoption, and improved sales metrics.
Empower the user
Most CRMs track engagement activities and account changes; which are rarely proficient in helping sales people sell. In order maximize reporting functions, businesses must first consider what data is important for determining business outcomes and success. Not all data is created equal, and not all data is purposeful for business needs. The right record for the right job, as we like to say. Users hate unnecessary data entry, and what good are dashboards and reports that tell the business things they already know? Businesses must focus on what data can help them sell better in the future and what activities affect buying behavior most. This data is different for every businesses and deserves close attention.
To further understand how this can work businesses should consider collecting valuable data from current sales department members. Encourage them to provide specific data use cases and specific challenges that they may have with their current process. Realize which data mapping is necessary to execute tasks and which are functional luxuries unneeded in this process.
Mapping complex sales processes can cause a project to run astray; as it can result in cumbersome tasks after the system is live. It’s common to see sales and marketing teams neglect the system if processes are unclear and too time consuming. When users fail to adopt business process changes, the firm risks marking the project as a sunk cost because of failed implementation.
Supports production functions
Mapping the sales process isn’t just for the front office folks, it’s also beneficial to engineers and production teams. This could include how marketing and other lead generating activities affect sales numbers. Business analysts can use this data, combined with historical records, to determine demand projections for the upcoming quarter. When production and engineering have access to sales forecasts, businesses have the opportunity to ramp up capacity where needed, or reallocate resources to alternative operations. This can only occur when sales processes can dictate accurate forecasts.
No Single Process Is Ideal
What works for competitors or for others in your industry may not work for you, and this is why mapping your specific selling process creates a competitive advantage.
Many companies find that implementing a CRM syetm, then integrating it with an ERP system, best supports many of their current business functions. We recently worked with a company on a project like this. The primary goal of the firm was to lessen the amount of time it took for finished inventory to be shipped to buyers after sales submitted an order. Every firm is different, but when careful thought is applied, businesses ultimately will create ROI generating systems that reflect personalized business dynamics.
Before your project team leaps to buy software, remember this simple idea: CRM is meant to support business processes. Many business become focused on implementing software then they forget about the end goal along the way.
These tips are very simple, and are really just a starting point. Many businesses struggle with these common steps simply because it’s inherent to make these mistakes. Starting with the information above can be a good start that can maximize CRM for your business.
If your business is interested in getting the most out of your CRM, or is considering implementing a new system, speaking with a Datix expert could prove extremely help. Feel free to reach out today.