It’s well-known that sales teams who follow a process and methodology are more productive than those who don’t! Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMs) offer a way of streamlining this process, focusing the sales effort and transforming sales results – if only sales teams would use them! We recently spoke to James Urie from New York based sales consultancy, Close, about how CRM can transform sales results and about how in general SMB’s can perfect their sales strategies.
1. Many companies find CRMs hard to set up and implement. Senior leaders don’t have the experience of using them and sales teams often resist them! What’s your view?
James Urie: Resistance to CRMs is a common issue. Finding a CRM that fits what you need and getting your team to adopt it is a massive challenge. We try to help eliminate this fear by demonstrating the power of a good CRM system, one that isn’t overly complicated, reliable, precise, effective, and accessible. A good CRM will:
- Keep leads and customers in one place
- Establish a process for your business that allows you to scale
- Organize and prioritise your time
- Know with whom and when to follow up, and follow through
- Communicate better with prospects and customers by being in control and prepared.
- Allow for better team collaboration
- Track and learn from wins and losses
- Establish an Ideal Customer Profile by reviewing historic data
At Close, we start with the fundamentals of building a sales process and then help implement a trial. We offer a sales CRM that is built for sales people. We’ve streamlined sales productivity by having all communication channels in one place with a user interface built for simplicity and speed. Sales reps work from a maximum of four screens. It is increasingly important for sales teams globally to refine their sales process and implement a tool that is highly adoptable by their team so that they can do their job more effectively and our goal is to double the performance of any sales rep and we achieve this on a daily basis. We help sales teams make more money by setting up a process and organising their sales efforts
2. What challenges do SMBs have in getting their sales strategies right?
A common problem is not identifying the business’s ideal customer profile and targeting it from the very beginning. Know who will benefit from the problem that you solve. This is fundamental.
It’s also important for SMBs to position their strengths in the market so that they’re easily distinguished from their competitors and their value proposition is simple to grasp. Your staff need to be well versed on how you stand up against the competition. This needs to start with marketing and trickle down through all customer-facing teams. Sales reps will have to discuss this daily – they need to be razor sharp (check out our sales consultancy for SMBs for more info!).
I would add that it’s OK to turn away business. Know when to recognise that the fit is not right with a prospect and have the confidence to say so. You should never force it as the client will simply churn and your team demotivated.
3. What advice do you have for SMBs who are trying to either establish themselves or increase users/customers/revenue?
- Craft your Ideal Customer Profile. What are the characteristics of the perfect user of your product- industry, size, culture, geography. Make this your first step.
- Look for best practice. Reverse engineer what similar, successful companies did and see what others you can pinpoint.
- Ask for help and mentorship.
- Educate yourself. There is a lot of great content available to help. Start reading. Our Close blog is a solid place to start.
- Talk to your current customers. What do they like and dislike about your product/service? What do they need from you long term to stay on as a customer? What patterns and trends did you find and what can you improve from those conversations?
4. How did you get to this point in your own career and what have been your career highlights?
Originally I was a teacher! I recognised similar skills in teaching and sales – empathy, authenticity, and trust. I build strong relationships with people and I have their best interest in mind when I work with them. I become an expert in what I am selling. These fundamentals will take you a long way.
5.What great sales leaders have you worked with during your career? Any sponsors or mentors of note?
Four people have been hugely supportive and inspiration for me:
Josh Ellis who gave me my first sales job and taught me how to sell effectively in tech.
Raj Sheth who taught me the power of building strong lasting relationships in sales and business.
Nick Persico consistently demonstrates how selling with friendly strength is the most effective way to sell. He also has shown me what being a true team player looks like. Nick goes above and beyond for his team and is not above the grind and hustle.
Steli Efti’s content taught me a number of effective sales strategies and his content influenced me to work at his company. Working at Close I’ve learned to ALWAYS air out the red flags in sales, hiring, or any other context. Steli is always the first one to raise red flags and I’ve adopted this myself. He’s also taught me to be radically candid in sales and life. Anything else is a waste of time and energy.
Close offers a sales CRM that is built for sales people. We’ve streamlined sales productivity by having all communication channels in one place with a user interface built for simplicity and speed. Sales reps work from a maximum of 4 screens. We help sales teams globally refine their sales process and implement a tool that is highly adoptable by their team so that they can do their job in sales more effectively. Our goal is to double the performance of any sales rep and we achieve this on a daily basis. We help sales teams globally make more money by setting up a process and organizing their sales efforts
CRM for Sales
Here at The Selling Labs we understand the value of CRM for sales and thank James for his insights into how and why you should use a CRM. If you enjoyed this post make sure you subscribe to our newsletter below so you don’t miss out on future Leadership Corner interviews. If you’d like to get involved as an interviewee, or need help increasing your sales, then get in touch today.
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