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Sales CRM Guide

📔 Sales CRM: An absolute guide

27 Min read

Every company needs an effective sales structure or process if they want to scale their business. Behind every sale, there are various steps a salesperson follows.  

From prospecting to closing the deal, you need to possess a clear vision of how you will approach the prospect. If your business lacks a streamlined sales process, it becomes extremely difficult to close deals and retain your customers.   

Loss of data, miscommunication, and lack of sales insights occur when the business model is not backed by a solid sales process. 

The answer to these pain points is a versatile sales CRM software.  

In this sales CRM guide, you’ll find extensive information on every challenge faced by sales teams and how customer relationship management software plays a vital role in it. 

Table of contents  

  1. Challenges faced by sales teams and organizations
  2. What is a sales CRM software?
  3. How does CRM improve the sales process?
  4. Factors to consider before choosing a sales CRM
  5. How Salesmate can help your sales team?

Challenges faced by sales teams and organizations  

Your sales team is constantly trying to make more sales and nurture prospects but still not getting desired results.  

What could possibly be going wrong in their approach? 

Well, these are the typical challenges a sales team faces. Take a closer look, maybe one or more is faced by you.  

I have narrowed down the most common challenges faced by reps, managers, and organizations.  

What are the challenges faced by sales reps?  

The main role of sales reps is to understand the customers’ requirements and provide personalized solutions. A sales rep does many tasks during the day, and the below chart represents how much time they spend on each task.  

Time spent by sales reps

It is hard to believe your teammate is heavily distracted throughout the day and only spends 28% of hours on ACTUAL selling.  

For any sales rep, it will be difficult to manage such a wide array of tasks manually. In the later part of this guide, I’ll be talking about how this issue can be solved (stay tuned).  

Now, let’s take a deeper look at these challenges and understand why they lose such productivity.  

1. Scattered prospect information  

An effective prospecting requires accurate information so you can provide solutions to your future customers.   

What sales reps do is – manually enter all the information they find throughout the sales cycle (from web forms to meeting outcomes). And there’s absolutely no fixed pattern or certainty in it. This results in scattered information that hampers your productivity and leaves you with a dataset that offers no insight.  

For instance, your rep has a list of 50 prospects. When they’re enriching their profiles manually, they skip one prospect by mistake. Now you’re ended up with a list of 50 prospects with wrong information.  

Such chaos!  

2. Getting in touch with prospects  

A prospect requires many touchpoints before closing the deal. And there are multiple ways to connect with prospects – phone, email, and text.  

92% of customer interaction happens over the phone, hence the majority of your sales reps should be spending their time calling the prospects.  

However, what if the prospect is unreachable? You can’t just eliminate them from your prospecting list. And there’s a high chance that your teammate might forget to call back the next day.   

Likewise, most prospects don’t reply to emails right away; you need to send follow-up emails. This leaves you with a strong need for insights on whether your email was opened or not. Moreover, you miss out on the potential prospects just because the rep forgot to follow up via call or texts.  

An all-inclusive sales CRM can literally solve such problems, and we’ll see how it helps.   

3. Internal miscommunication  

Your sales reps work in harmony (it’s a good sign!).   

By harmony, I mean they assign tasks to each other and help out. So, when a prospect has any queries or concerns regarding the product/service, the available sales rep can resolve it at the earliest.  

But that harmony is tough to achieve.  

Without a proper communication channel, sales reps won’t be able to help each other out. The communication process becomes lengthy and time-consuming. 

In the end, the prospect suffers!  

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4. Individual goal tracking  

When your reps can’t see how they performed, their progress is at stake. As a leader, you clearly want your sales reps to know their sales quotas and current progress.  

An incapable system leads you to insufficient data on prospects, not knowing where the deal stands, or unaware about how many deals are near closure. You simply cannot track your sales reps and team achievements.  

The solution should be very simple, non-confusing, and data-driven.  

In the later part of this guide, we will deeply understand how customer relationship management software can solve all these problems for your reps. 

What are the challenges faced by sales managers?

A sales manager is an individual that leads the sales team. They’re mainly responsible for creating sales strategies, setting goals, assigning duties, analyzing sales data, and providing training. So, let’s find out the challenges that sales managers face on a daily basis.  

This is how sales managers spend their time on various tasks:  

Time spent on manual tasks by sales managers

By spending most of their time managing performance and administrative tasks, sales managers barely have the bandwidth to focus on more important tasks like building business relationships and creating effective sales plans.   

I have explained below how such mismanagement can cause challenges in the life of a sales manager.  

1. Compromised sales productivity  

One of the main roles of a sales manager is to build and retain client relations. This requires them to communicate with the clients and provide assistance if required. Now, manually calling up prospects and managers may take up a lot of time which prevents them from completing their tasks on time.  

Moreover, they might miss out on connecting with important clients if they are maintaining a manual to-do list.   

2. Not knowing where to focus the most  

A sales manager needs to look over the entire sales process, however, there are certain steps where immediate attention is required.  

Without a clear view of multiple sales pipelines, a sales manager may not be able to set their priority which can affect the overall team performance.   

3. Not meeting sales goals  

When there are multiple errors and mismanagement of data, achieving sales goals becomes almost impossible despite consistent team effort. To achieve every sales goal, you need insightful sales reports so you can forecast your sales.  

This becomes a problem in achieving the current quarterly quota, and a real pain in predicting upcoming quarter revenue.  

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4. Measuring performance of sales rep  

Sales managers need to keep a check on the performance of their sales reps and need definite answers to questions like these:  

  • How many calls each rep is making?   
  • Out of the total calls, how many are being converted into deals?   
  • What is the average call time duration?  
  • Who is the best closer & who requires more training?  

You cannot capture such information manually; you need to adapt to CRM software if you want to find out how your sales reps are performing.  

5. Sales training  

Every new sales rep goes through a series of sales training that is provided by a sales manager. Nowadays, sales managers also provide coaching on various updates and changes in the sales process to the current team members.  

Imagine having a solid database of sales calls with you. Insightful call recordings of various scenarios can help new members get a closer look at how an organization works.  

Sadly, managers are not equipped with such tools and have to invest a large chunk of their time in training.  

6. Implementing sales playbook  

If you want to ensure that your sales reps follow the right strategies when they’re prospecting, it’s essential to implement a sales playbook that consists of all the information they need.   

However, sales managers believe that sales playbooks are difficult to update manually as it requires updated data, content, and inputs from different departments.   

A centralized platform that connects every department can solve this problem.  

Challenges faced by business owners  

Business owners are mainly concerned with the overall growth of their business, and that’s where their challenges lie.  

Leaders would mainly relate to these problems, and a suitable CRM can solve them.  

1. Keeping up with growth & revenue  

Business owners can only forecast their sales when they have easy-to-analyze sales reports.   

In order to predict sales, you need the data of sales numbers and trends over the years to identify the trends in revenue. A sales CRM software helps you collect data quickly and provides helpful reports so you can keep up with the revenue and overall business growth.  

2. Team performance   

To ensure that every team is able to achieve their goals, business owners track the performance of the team leaders and provide guidance wherever required.   

However, if this process is carried out manually where the team leader shares their progress, there are possibilities of misinformation and biases.  

Therefore, you need a transparent system that keeps track of the activities performed by every employee so you can help in providing solutions that can increase team productivity.  

3. Identifying market trends  

In order to stay afloat in this competitive market, business owners are constantly trying to scale their businesses. That also includes staying updated on the activities of their competitors.  

You can use call recordings of sales reps and prospects to analyze where most prospects are leaning towards – is there a new competitor in town? Or is there any new trend that you’re not aware of?  

Use call recordings to find out the preferences of customers and prospects and find out which competitor is mentioned in most of the calls. This will help you plan your next marketing strategy. 

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What is a sales CRM software?

A sales CRM (customer relationship management software) helps you engage with prospects at every touchpoint throughout the sales process and retain more customers. It streamlines every step of the entire sales pipeline and helps enhance the overall customer journey with automation.  

In fact, 47% of CRM users mentioned that using the sales CRM tool had a substantial impact on customer retention. Sales CRM comes with a set of features that enables your team to perform better and faster.  

You can streamline your sales process by automating administrative tasks, data entries, and contact management with the help of CRM software. 

Moreover, it provides a 360-degree view of the sales pipeline so you can check which deal requires immediate action and set the priority accordingly. Along with streamlining the sales process, a sales CRM also helps you save time and manage your tasks effectively.  

From prospecting, communication, lead scoring, contact management, sales pipeline management, activity tracking, to sales reporting, sales CRM offers it all.  

How does CRM improve the sales process? 

A sales CRM plays an integral role in each step of your sales process. Centralized sales operations enable all the members to stay on the same page and focus on important tasks while sales CRM automates their sales process.  

Below I have provided an image that reflects each stage of the sales funnel and its importance.  

Sales process stages

In this section, I’m going to break down the benefits of the CRM system into each step of the sales funnel.  

What is the role of sales CRM in the prospecting stage?  

Prospecting is the initial step that you take where you search for potential prospects and understand their requirements. Moreover, this is the stage where you need to qualify your prospect and find out whether your product or service is the right fit for them or not.  

40% of salespeople mentioned that prospecting is the most challenging stage for them. So, how do you make this part easy to accomplish? Here’s how you can use sales CRM software to step up your prospecting game:  

  • Centralized data – One of the main benefits of sales CRM is access to centralized data. While collecting information on prospects, you can store their contact information in one single location so you can access it from web forms on your website.  
  • Qualifying prospects – Based on the communication between the prospect and your company, you can identify and qualify prospects that might be interested in your products or services. You can use CRM to qualify prospects based on their preferences and prioritize your prospecting strategy.  

What is the role of a sales CRM in the approaching stage?  

This is the stage where you break the ice and reach out to the prospect. This meeting can take place over the phone, on a video call, or in person. An intuitive sales CRM system helps you ace in every situation.  

  • Improved communication – Communicate effectively using sales CRM whenever you call, text, or email a prospect. Use automation that queues your calls to help you speed up your prospecting process and make effective calls. Many sales CRM offers a built-in calling feature that helps you call directly from the software.   

What is the role of a sales CRM in the presentation stage?  

Once you have captured the attention of your prospect, you need more than a prospecting call or meeting to convert them into customers. You need to provide a demo of how your product or service works and the ways it will benefit the prospect.  

  • Schedule meetings – Missing out on important calls and meetings can prove to be a hassle. You can use the meeting scheduler tool to keep a track of every meeting and get reminded for the same.   
  • Take notes – When you’re making a presentation, your lead must have questions and concerns, so you can either answer them right away or take notes so you don’t forget it later.  

What is the role of a sales CRM when handling objections?  

If your goal is to close the deal, then you need to handle objections smartly. Listen to the objects, validate their questions, so it alleviates their queries. In fact, this is the stage where 44% of salespeople drop out of the process after the first rejection, so you need to stay focused.  

  • Add tags – You can easily categorize the most common objections and use them to relate with customers.  
  • Categorize deals – Your sales pipeline automatically categorizes the deals and helps you prioritize them based on the interests and preferences of your leads.  

What is the role of a sales CRM in the closing stage?  

This is the final stage where your lead will either close the deal or go the other way. For salespeople, the goal is to close the deal, so this stage requires you to be proactive.  

  • E-signing documents – Let’s say that you managed to close the deal in the first try, what next? You’ll need to get documents signed to officially close the deal. So, if your client is based in a different city or country, you can get the documents e-signed using integrations in a sales CRM.  
  • Ask for feedback – Irrespective of the deal status, you can always ask for feedback so you can analyze the pattern and factors that are affecting their decision.  
  • Upsell and cross-sell – It’s always preferred to retarget existing and old customers instead of finding new ones. So, whenever you have launched a new product or there’s a feature add-on, you can use email automation to target a specific set of subscribers.  

What are the factors to consider before choosing the best sales CRM?

We know why sales CRM is important and the values it provides.  

Now, we’ll take a look at some of the most important factors when you’re considering a sales CRM.  

The process of selecting a CRM can get tricky if you’re not aware of the features you need. Should you go with the most renowned sales CRM? Or the one that’s cost-effective? 

Well, there’s more to choosing a CRM than its pricing and brand. So, here are the factors that you need to consider when you are selecting the best sales CRM for your business.  

1. Ease of use  

A CRM system will be effective only when your sales team is comfortable in using the software. You could get the best software in the market, but what if that’s too complicated to operate? Your sales time will spend more time figuring out the CRM than making it useful for them.  

Hence, you need to ensure that the CRM you pick is easy to adapt. When you’re in the selection process, you can ask for a demo of the CRM you’re interested in and let your sales team try it out.   

2. Customization abilities   

Every business has different requirements, so there is literally no perfect CRM that fits every company.   

Usually, a sales CRM comes with a set of features that are offered to the clients. In this scenario, you need to find out whether you can customize it as per your company values or not.  

Here’s how an advanced CRM system should help you customize the client details:   

  • Only active required features at the time being.  
  • Ability to set up dashboards for individuals and teams.  
  • Add custom fields and lists.  
  • Modify your entire sales pipeline and its stages.  
  • Create the overall environment according to your industry.  

3. Mobile friendly   

Nowadays, people are constantly on the move; whether it’s traveling or fieldwork, their time dedicated to an office desk is comparatively low. You want your sales CRM to accompany you even when you’re on the go.  

Many advanced sales CRM are now mobile-friendly so that you can access important data or reports at any location and time. 

The study by Innoppl Technologies revealed that 65% of sales reps that used Mobile CRM managed to achieve their sales quotas, and 78% of those who didn’t use Mobile CRM weren’t able to achieve their targets.  

This reflects the importance of a Mobile CRM and how it impacts the performance of every sales rep. Lastly, you also need to check whether your Mobile CRM is compatible with Android and iOS.  

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4. Features & need satisfaction  

Many sales CRM will offer you various features, but are they suited to your company? You need to define your business goals and find out the challenges that need to be resolved with the help of a CRM.  

Do you want CRM to primarily track leads, manage sales contact information, forecast sales, or increase productivity? List down the goals and then select a CRM that offers those features.  

5. Secure  

When using a CRM for the sales process, all your client information will be on the cloud, which makes it vulnerable to hacking. How secure is the sales CRM that you’re planning to adopt?   

Look for a CRM that complies with all security standards, and is GDPR ready.  

6. Scalable  

The main vision of every business is to scale its revenue, so you need a CRM that supports your team at every step of the growth.  

Look for the add-ons that you can consider for your business and at which capacity the CRM is scalable.  

Suppose you have a team of 50 salespeople who will use the CRM, but what happens when the number grows to 150? Is that CRM compatible with 150 users?  

Always consider the scalability of a CRM before finalizing it for your company. 

7. Integrations  

A CRM helps you streamline every aspect of your business process. So, when a sales CRM software comes equipped with integration options, you know you’ve found a winner!  

With the help of add-ons, you can automate most of your sales process – add contact information, schedule meetings, create and send invoices, exchange e-signed documents, create forms, and much more!   

8. Personalized support   

A CRM is as good as its support team.  

Even after the onboarding process, your sales team might face challenges when they’re using a CRM, so it’s essential to ask about the customer support that your CRM provides.   

Is their customer support team available 24/7? If not, what are the timings for connecting with a customer support executive? Moreover, pay heed to the time zone if the company is based in a different country.  

9. Value for money  

Whenever we are making a decision to purchase anything, it all comes down to the budget. Yes, budget is highly crucial in the decision-making process. You want a CRM that is within your budget range and provides all the required features.  

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How Salesmate can help your sales team?

Salesmate is a cloud-based CRM platform that helps you automate all your manual tasks so you can focus more on selling and building strong customer relationships.  

It is the best CRM software that supports sales and marketing teams to streamline their entire sales process so they can close deals faster. Moreover, Salesmate CRM is packed with rich features that are helpful for every sales team. 

Let’s find out how Salesmate can help you overcome challenges.  

How does Salesmate help sales reps?  

Salesmate is an advanced sales CRM platform that helps sales reps automate their daily tasks so they can focus more on selling. Below are the main features that every sales rep can benefit from.  

1. Streamlined prospect information – Contact management  

Contact management

Now, easily import all your contacts into Salesmate sales CRM and get a 360-degree view of all your contacts. Find every detail and conversation history of your contact within your sales CRM with contact management feature.  

  • Get a clear view of your customer’s journey.   
  • Perform bulk activities on selected contacts and notify them at once.  
  • Add tags and filters to sort through your contacts.  
  • Scan business cards and import customer data automatically into Salesmate.  

2. Connecting with prospects – Power dialer 

Power dialer

As a sales rep, your day consists of connecting with prospects throughout the day. And here, the power dialer feature of Salesmate can help you make calls effectively.  

  • You can choose the wait time between calls for better performance.  
  • Save and drop pre-recorded calls when your prospect is not reachable.  
  • Automatically go from one call to the next with power dialer.  
  • Use smart queues to plan your entire day.  

3. Collaborate with team members – Shared team inbox 

Shared team inbox

Avoid miscommunication and collaborate with your team members without any hassle. Use Salesmate’s shared team inbox to collaborate with your team members.  

  • Collaborate over emails by simply using @mention and notify the team member.   
  • Gain insights and have conversation with context with conversation history.  
  • Integrate your inbox with G-suite, MS office, or any other webmail provider.  
  • Tag email conversations with color codes for quick search.  

4. Track your goals to perform better – Goal tracking  

Create and define quantifiable sales goals by using goal tracking feature to know where your deals stand and how much effort you need to put in to reach that sales goal!  

  • A personalized dashboard helps you see periodic goals and targets.  
  • Track your progress, so you know where to focus the most.  

5. Work from anywhere – Mobile CRM 

Mobile CRM

Now, sell on the go with Mobile CRM. Whether you’re traveling or on a field trip, you can access your customer information with our mobile-friendly sales CRM.  

  • Update records instantly.  
  • Schedule appointments, log calls, add notes.  
  • Use geolocation to locate nearby clients.  
  • Have access to product information right in your Mobile.  

How does Salesmate help sales managers?  

Sales managers already handle a plethora of tasks, so for them to stay focused, they need a powerful CRM solution for every task. This is how Salesmate features can help sales managers excel at their tasks.  

1. Increased productivity – Automated tasks 

Sales sequences

Now, don’t lose your time on repetitive tasks like data entries, sending emails, and updating information. Automate your tasks with Salesmate’s workflow automation.  

  • Assign leads automatically  
  • Set up sequences and send a series of automated follow-up emails to your clients 
  • Use automatic call distribution to manage workload automatically 

2. Set your priority – Sales pipeline management 

Sales pipeline management

Don’t let your deals fall through the cracks; stay up-to-date and have a 360-degree view of the entire sales pipeline to identify hot leads and close deals faster.  

  • Simple drag and drop dashboard for ease of use.  
  • Identify bottlenecks and remove them by taking necessary action.  
  • Create multiple pipelines.  
  • Identify the challenges to stop losing the deals.  

3. Achieve your sales goals – Sales insights  

Get sales insights on every sale made. If a deal is lost, find out what went wrong so you can optimize your sales strategy.  

  • Find out from which channels you’re getting the most leads.  
  • Provide feedback to your sales reps to help them perform better.  
  • Use activity insights to make more sale.  

4. Measure performance of your sales reps 

Calls made by sales reps

Want to find out the top performer of your sales team? With Salesmate, it’s easier than ever! Check the insights on the number of calls made by your sales reps, how many leads they were able to convert, and compare it. 

5. Train your sales reps and implement sales playbook  

Now, easily train your sales reps using Salesmate. Use previous recordings as use cases for sales reps and help them understand the value proposition of your company.  

Likewise, you can prepare the framework and implement sales playbook so your rep knows what to do at every stage.  

How does Salesmate help business owners?  

While business owners don’t look into the nitty-gritty of the business, they still want to have an overall view of the business and its progress. Salesmate is the perfect software for every business owner – it helps them track their growth and forecast sales.  

1. Track your growth in real-time 

Custom contact report

Now, get access to every sales insight and find out how close you are to achieving your target revenue. You have a 360-degree view of the sales activities performed by your team.  

  • Analyze the pattern of deals moving through the pipeline.  
  • Forecast your sales in real-time. 

2. Measure performance of your sales team  

Sales activity insights

Find out how your sales team is performing with Salesmate’s actionable insights.   

  • Use custom sales dashboard to monitor crucial sales metrics.  
  • Activity leader can help you track the performance of your sales teams.   

Salesmate + Automation journeys  

Now, improve your productivity with Salesmate’s automation journeys. Easily set up flows, create triggers in your sales process to activate the sales automation when the condition is met.  

With automation journeys, you can qualify more leads while nurturing the existing ones by setting up automated activities to build strong customer relationships. Moreover, you can also add activities in created deals for seamless deal management. 

For example, you can create a tag for trial users. So, whenever a contact is created with the tag “trial users”, they will be automatically added to the trial users list and start receiving emails.  

Later, when the same contact is converted into a customer, and the deal is created, you can set up the activity for an introductory call. Salesmate’s sales and marketing automation journeys enhance customer satisfaction and help you scale your business. 

This sales automation process can be implemented at every step of your sales cycle; from prospecting to following up with your clients, you can utilize Salesmate’s automation journeys to streamline your sales process and increase productivity! 

Conclusion  

The sales process doesn’t have to be difficult; it all matters on how you handle it. And sales CRM is a tool that enables you to grow your sales without any hassle.   

So, adopt a sales CRM software that aligns with your company values, helps you deliver enhanced customer service, automates your sales process, and promotes business growth. 

Being an ardent reader and content editor, Jainy draws inspiration from every situation and story. She spends her time developing creative content to invoke the reader's interest. An ambivert with an interest in art, when she's not writing, you'll find her reading or occupied in a creative project.

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