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Continuing our Journey to CRM Success (see the complete series: Spenser Segal on CRM Success), it is time to spend time on how CRM can keep you looking forward and moving your business in a positive direction. The ability to forecast future revenue is an important capability of a CRM and one where the business impact is relatively easy to measure.  

Through CRM you can effectively monitor your sales pipeline and the associated activities. Better yet, CRM provides a means by which you can evaluate the pipeline and learn about timing and activity effectiveness. Dedicated review from leadership and consistent use by the sales team are the two ingredients required for this functionality to provide true value to the organization. 

Sales process and pipeline management fit within the category of Advanced CRM Functionality.  Advisors who have their core client data organized and clean and are managing day-to-day activity in their CRM are in a position to reap the benefits of this additional functionality.  Sales process and pipeline management as a category includes: management of leads, prospects, and opportunities from both a sales execution and pipeline management perspective. 

The business value of CRM as a sales process and pipeline management tool comes in the form of real-time visibility of what is happening, measurable data points, and a framework for team accountability.  When the steps of your sales process are executed within the CRM, and current opportunities are regularly updated within the system, visibility on revenue, status, and recent activity is immediately available to everyone within the organization. 

There are two critical ingredients to making sales process and pipeline management highly effective within the CRM system; first is consistency in the sales process and second is solid commitment from the team to use the system. There are of course many things you can do to refine and improve from a sales process perspective, but if you start with a focus on consistent execution of your existing processes and getting users on-board you will reap the benefits of the CRM.   

The best way to ensure these activities are happening is to have a regularly scheduled sales pipeline review process where you gather the people involved in managing opportunities and review the reports and dashboards from the CRM. If an opportunity is inaccurate, you correct it real-time during the meeting.  

Taking the sales process and pipeline management segment of your Journey to CRM Success is very worthwhile when you start looking at and acting on the breadth of information that is now at your fingertips. Not only will you have a clearer view of where the business is headed, you will also have a solid basis for understanding where you can influence revenue direction and results.  

We’ve only just scratched the surface of CRM for sales process and pipeline management here. In our experience consulting with firms of all sizes, they are repeatedly amazed at how much more there is to the sales process than they realized before CRM. They are also quickly rewarded with the opportunity their new found visibility into the process provides for business growth.   

With increased visibility and accessibility, your questions will naturally turn to finding ways to move through the sales process more effectively. 

My next post will focus on mass communications, another area of advanced CRM functionality. 

See the complete series: Spenser Segal on CRM Success