When you mention the term, “CRM,” in front of sales people, it’s not uncommon to find yourself facing resistance—a few grumbles, maybe some eye rolls, or even looks of frustration?
What about asking them if they’ve kept their CRM up to date? Do you get a look of defeat and/or panic because they once again have fallen behind with their manual uploads of information each day?
If this sounds all too familiar, keep reading. It doesn’t have to be this way. After all, a CRM is supposed to help sales people, right?
My first experience with a CRM was overwhelming. It took months of training just to get our team started. It was a powerful tool and there were undoubtedly some great features, but expectations were set early on that the benefits wouldn’t be realized without a lot of work from the sales team. The trainer compared the engagement with the tool to “feeding a baby.” With a new baby, there’s not much returned from the regular feedings (other than messy diapers!), but eventually the baby grows and returns smiles, attention, and love. If we worked diligently with data input, the benefits of the CRM tool would also be eventually realized.
My recent experience with a new CRM has been completely different. In 2014, HubSpot—which has primarily focused on marketing tools—developed a major advancement in CRM that feeds information to the salesperson rather than vice versa. At Weidert Group, we were so frustrated with our former CRM that we were excited to try something that was clearly not focused on "feeding the baby." We’ve been rapidly getting up to speed and using the tool over the past several months, and it’s become very clear that this is a different kind of CRM. Designed for the end user, it’s about more than call reports and feeding information up. For us, HubSpot CRM provides helpful information and tools all in one place to increase our sales productivity.
Ease of Use
The CRM is a tool within the HubSpot sales and marketing platform—a completely integrated business development software program. There’s no separate database, no separate platform, no separate login. It’s all in one place to save time and simplify your sales activities. And, it’s intuitive enough for a sales person to be able to jump right in with little to no training. I like to think of it like this: HubSpot is to CRM as Apple is to Computers. And to take it one step further: HubSpot is to Salesforce as OS X is to Windows 95.
Automatically Populated Information
Okay, clearly those anologies are a bit bold for such a new product. But, the fact is the latest offering in CRM is revolutionizing things because HubSpot has focused on automatically populating a lot of information for sales users. Helpful information is at your fingertips without manual input! Buyer behaviors are populated right on the timeline of each contact page (straight from their marketing activities)—from pages viewed on your site, advanced content downloads, blog subscriptions, email and call correspondence, tweets, and more.
The level of insight generated from populated data not only shortens the sales cycle, but it sets users apart from the competition. By truly understanding what is resonating with your buyer, your sales team can better help her through her journey and waste less time in the process. Knowing when the buyer is actively researching helps your sales team to determine the right time to reach out and start a conversation.
Knowledge becomes power in this environment where buyers have more control than ever before. At a time when 70% of the sales process is completed anonymously before a buyer ever talks to a salesperson, a CRM that helps your sales team sell differently can provide the competitive edge they need to be successful.
Emails and Calls
You can send emails right from the tool. There’s no need to open and log into another tool and no need to manually input the correspondence after the fact. Pair this up with the purchase of HubSpot’s Sidekick app, and calls can also be made right from the CRM and recorded right in your contact’s timeline.
Email templates can be created right within the tool and used from within the contact page to save time.
Sales & Marketing Alignment
The integration of the sales and marketing tools moved us leaps and bounds towards better alignment of the two departments. The CRM’s integration with the marketing side has improved our lead handoff process from sales to marketing and vice versa and new opportunities to add nurturing workflows at specific points within the sales process quickly became clear. The transparency between sales and marketing with one shared platform has armed each side with information to streamline efforts and increase productivity.
Your CRM doesn’t need to add extra work onto your sales team. In fact, if it’s not saving time and making your sales team more productive it may be time to consider other options. How does your CRM help increase your productivity?
Posted by Nicole Mertes
As Weidert Group's lead salesperson and business development strategist, Nicole heads up the agency's new business strategy and provides sales consulting services to clients.
Prior to her role at the agency, Nicole was an advertising manager at Gannett, one of the nation's largest media companies. With 10+ years of experience in advertising sales, she understands the complex relationship between marketing and sales within organizations.