Pipedrive CRO, Laurence Bret-Stern’s recent article for SME Magazine shared that organizations with low sales conversion rates conduct 30% more sales activities. (By sales activities we mean calls, emails, and meetings.) That’s approximately two more activities per deal than higher performing teams.
So clearly top performers are doing less - more intelligently.
With that in mind, here are some simple, practical and highly effective ways to optimize your own, or your team’s, sales process.
1. Have intelligence on tap
Implementing a smart sales culture is as much about salespeople knowing the problems the product or service solves as it is about having useful, informed conversations.
The CEO of chatbot platform Mobile Coach, Vince Han, has realized value from cultivating a culture where his team simply always have up-to-date notes;
“We grew over 40% in the last year while keeping our team size the same. The only way we were able to take on so much more work was with good notes that everyone can see and catch up on quickly. I'm certain we would've dropped the ball on multiple clients by now if we didn't have precise notes of what was going on with all of them!”
Who knew a culture of keeping notes could be so profitable! There are some more techie cheats too of course. Like alerts when your prospects and customers open and click your emails, and contact timelines so you can pick up where you left off when making those all-important follow-ups.
Extra Sales Management Tip: Don’t waste time scouring different sources for prospect intelligence. Click Smart Contact Data in Pipedrive for a quick way to automatically populate contact data from Google and LinkedIn.
2. Stay focused to save time
There are some things we always champion that can optimize anyone’s sales process.
Here are three fundamental practices you need to instill in your sales team to give yourself the best chance of success:
- Understand the numbers
- Set the right goals
- EMPTY your pipeline regularly
That third factor may seem counter-intuitive. But keeping your sales pipeline filled with the best prospects is a practice echoed here by Pipedrive user Paul Schwarzenholz, the MD of NPS solution Zenloop:
“Flushing the pipeline once a month and getting rid of all ‘maybe’ deals helps us to stay focused. Normally 50% of deals can be taken out without any harm.”
People often focus on filling their sales pipeline (still important), but they tend to prioritize this over regularly emptying the pipeline (also very important).
Scheduling a regular clear-out simply allows your valuable salespeople to focus on genuine prospects, instead of wasting time on those with a low propensity to convert.
Extra Sales Management Tip: Sign up for our free Sales Pipeline Academy email course and you will receive 11 sales process lessons from our founder, Timo Rein.
3. Open up inbound
There are many possible paths you can create for your web visitors to contact you.
Pipedrive app partners open up inbound avenues you can test to see how people want to engage with you. Here are a couple of innovative lead generation opportunities you might like to explore:
“LiveChat is essentially a supportive nudge for your website visitors. It collects and stores valuable information from potential customers. Being accessible in a click can be a key differentiator - opening up communications with prospects that are 4.85 times more likely to make a purchase.” Daniel Zielinski, Marketplace Manager at LiveChat. Try LiveChat for free for 30 days.
“All types of companies use Textline: real estate, automotive, recruiters, and startups. With one shared phone number, you can reply to incoming questions from contacts. It’s easy to use on your phone or desktop, and can be a really nice touch for people who want a more personalized, accessible relationship with your company.” Alan Braverman, CEO, Textline.
Creating more lead capture opportunities makes sense. Some only require setting up once, like web forms, and require no extra resource to manage.
CRM’s like ours have web forms that auto-populate your contacts and deals with this lead data so there’s no additional typing or retyping for your team.
Sales managers need to start exploring opportunities to integrate artificial intelligence technology into their sales process to automate the time-consuming menial tasks driving productivity down. Simple sales AI automation works. Complicated tools and software will only encourage your sales team to find their own shortcuts, which compromises your process.
Extra Sales Management Tip: Smarter sales AI tech now give you the ability to convert social advert leads straight into your CRM. For Pipedrive users, Zapier auto-populates Facebook Lead Ads as new contacts - making lighter work of lead capture. Just ask your CRM what Zaps or integrations they have to explore this tactic.
4. Collaborate on the go
CRMs often have a mobile app offering across multiple devices, so when you are rushing from one meeting to another, all your calls and emails are still recorded and neatly tracked to your lead profiles. (Our Pipedrive mobile apps are some of the highest rated options in the business too, just sayin’.)
Companies are also beginning to prioritize collaboration amongst reps within a sales team - and even with other broader teams in the organization. Slack is an app built to encourage and facilitate collaborations, designed with a social media style user experience. Pipedrive’s Slack CRM helps you make one central sales stack capable of:
- Automating updates about deals added
- Updates about deals done
- Personal deal updates for individual salespeople
- Simple deal, person or organization search
Better yet, the Pipedrive CRM ‘Dealbot’ allows you to use Slack to keep managers and colleagues informed on the fly without having to schedule meetings or write lengthy emails.
Slack’s European marketing lead, Ian Stanley, talks collaborating on notes:
“Slack is where everyone, from the CEO to the new AE, comes together to move deals forward. The full context and history of a deal can be stored in a Slack channel where your team discussions are already happening. As a result, everyone on the team has instant access to critical information needed to make decisions, resolve issues, and to keep the sales pipeline flowing.” Check out Slack’s Sales for Sales value in more detail.
And don’t just stop at Slack if you’re looking for simple tools to help you streamline the sales process.
Salespeople have long had a love-hate relationship with spreadsheets, but if you are collaborating on deals you’re sure are up to date, Excel needs to be a thing of the past. Salespeople can’t always log in via desktop or mobile from anywhere with internet access and updates aren’t synced in real-time.
Google Sheets are always current and updatable from anywhere - so making the switch from Excel to Sheets could be a quick win for your team.
Extra Sales Management Tip: Save new rows in Google Sheets as new deals in Pipedrive using Zapier to automatically transfer data from Google Sheets into Pipedrive.
Intelsys CMO, Jaan Saar, has benefited his team, who sell SAP solutions and consultancy, by integrating their G Suite and CRM:
“Integrating Pipedrive and the G Suite means our sales team can share information effortlessly and collaborate in one system. This saves us all time and allows us to focus on communicating with customers - instead of doing system admin!”
5. Out-pro the competition
Give your salespeople ways to be the best professionals they can be. These tricks of the trade are sure to elevate your team's professionalism on a daily basis:
Accurate email comms
Professional in today’s age shouldn’t mean writing the same info over and over again with the potential to make avoidable errors. Targeted email templates make it easy to have a go-to, readily approved suite of email communications covering all stages of the sales cycle - allowing you to prevent mistakes and to tailor your messages to the relevant stage of the buyer journey.
Spelling and grammar
Potential customers cringe at misspellings and grammar mistakes. Details like this matter to your prospects, and clumsy errors can reflect back on to the lead’s perception of your organization. Grammarly is a useful tool, not only for content writers but for people who are NOT content experts yet need to communicate professionally. The web app highlights errors in situ for immediate correction.
Providing meeting time and day options based on your calendar for your customer to choose from is the slick way to schedule meetings. All they have to do is pick and click! If you don’t have Pipedrive, you can use apps like Doodle to get multiple stakeholders to share their preferred meeting times and even take polls on what cuisine to order for lunch.
The practical steps you can take to streamline your sales process right now
Set these five upgrades as a priority on your to-do list. These simple changes will help your sales team focus on what they do best - closing deals.
- Have intelligence on tap by sharing key knowledge and info around your team.
- Stay focused to by emptying lower quality leads out of your pipeline regularly.
- Open up inbound lead generation channels to bolster your pipeline.
- Collaborate on the go by upgrading to a CRM with a mobile app option and a Slack integration.
- Out-pro the competition with immaculate communications and scheduling for your leads.
You start streamlining your sales process right now with a 14-day free Pipedrive trial. All you need is an email address and a passion to improve your sales process!