Improving Your CRM Sales Cycle
Many businesses believe that customer relationship management (CRM) ends once the sale has been made. It’s an easy mindset to have—the goal is to get the customer to convert—but it’s detrimental if you want to further your brand’s impact and create lifelong customers.
That’s why savvy business leaders train their teams to continue the CRM process well after the sale has closed.
An essential part of CRM strategy is to onboard new customers. But then, make sure you keep these customers and re-engage any wayward ones. These relationships will benefit both you and them in the long run.
Buzz words abound both inside and outside of the sales cycle, so it’s easy to get terms and tactics mixed up. For example, onboarding can mean several different things.
Sales onboarding is usually the process of hiring, training, and teaching a new salesperson about your company culture and the sales process.
Customer onboarding, which is what we’re referring to above, is used to attract, convince, and convert potential customers.
Customer onboarding can start with an advertisement or marketing message and usually “ends” once you’ve made the sale. Continued customer onboarding is work done after the sale to influence a consumer to make additional purchases and further engage with your product.
Should you stop the sales process once the deal is won? The short answer is no.
Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether you and your sales team continue your customer relationship management strategy after a sale:
- Does your process stop when an opportunity is won?
- Is CRM supporting the process to onboard the customer?
- Does the sales team have insight into the onboarding process?
- Do you collect customer surveys about their impressions of the sales and onboarding experience?
Be sure to align your CRM strategy with your sales strategy and overarching business goals. If one isn’t supporting the other, you’ll have some problems when you try to further onboard both new and existing customers.
There are a couple ways to align your goals and strategies: (1) let your sales team provide suggestions for how to improve your CRM and (2) extend that opportunity to the customers themselves. Consumers are savvier than ever, and many will speak honestly about your onboarding process. All you have to do is ask.
Customer Onboarding 101
Your onboarding process will vary depending on the products and services you offer, but generally, customer onboarding looks something like this:
A customer gets his or her first impressions of your brand and your business. A well-placed ad or a direct marketing message usually kicks off the journey.
The Sign-Up Process
If you offer a software as a service (SaaS) product, like a professional CRM platform, the sign-up process begins when the customer creates an account to gain access to product benefits.
A Welcome Message
Once a customer creates an account or fills out a contact form, your CRM strategy should include a curated automatic welcome message. This message includes ways that they can further engage with your product or service.
A product walkthrough can be a demonstration video or an instructional white paper or a mix of the two. This will give the customer a clear path through which he or she can complete tasks and further acquaint themselves with your platform.
It’s your goal to keep a customer engaged. To do that, follow up with messages that offer tips, deals, or ways to make the most of their online portfolio and your product.
Again, not every customer onboarding process will look exactly like this. Find ways to make the process subjective and personal so customers continue to engage with your business.
Sales Cycle Tips
Your sales team may be the first and last contact a customer has with your brand. That’s why it’s important to align sales and CRM strategy for maximum impact. Here are a few tips to do just that:
- Engagement of the sales team should not stop when the deal is won. Expand their view throughout the onboarding process.
- Review your CRM implementation to make sure there’s a seamless transition from sales to customer onboarding.
- Identify and measure key metrics to be sure the process is efficient and provides the best customer experience.
- Measure customer satisfaction after onboarding and at regular intervals to determine whether something isn’t working.
There’s no guarantee that everyone will be a lifelong customer, but try to further onboard potential customers. The savvier and more direct your messaging is—and the more engaged your sales team is in the process—the more likely you’ll continue the conversation after the sale and into the future.
Contact Empellor CRM today to learn how we can help you analyze your CRM setup and align it with your business needs.