Every business strives to increase the number of sales it makes. Be it through discounts, marketing, or any other mode, improving sales is a matter of great importance to businesses. However, there are various steps of selling a product, which together forms a sales cycle.
A sales cycle includes the steps undertaken in order to sell a product to a customer. It comprises the following seven steps:
- Finding a lead for making a sale.
- Contacting the lead.
- Verifying whether the lead qualifies.
- Encouraging the lead.
- Proposing an offer to the lead.
- Finalizing the conditions of the sale, along with clarifying doubts/objections from the lead, if any.
- Closing the sale.
It is vital that the average length of your sales cycle does not continually increase. An increase in the average length of your sales cycle is a sign of the sales team taking a long time to close the sale, which may hamper the growth of your business. Improving your sales cycle is possible with the help of Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
CRM and its relation to sales
CRM refers to those tools which include strategies to allow organizations to look after various business processes. These processes include managing contact with leads and customers, and analyzing the data obtained through interaction with leads and customers among many others. There are many free CRM software programmes which an organization can use in order help its business expansion.
How to improve your sales cycle with free CRM
Employing a CRM system to improve your sales cycle is a great idea as many of the manual administrative tasks can be eliminated through it, thereby saving time. Here’s how you can improve your sales cycle with free CRM:
- Finding leads is faster: Finding a lead is the first step in a sales cycle. The longer it takes to find a lead, the longer your sales cycle will be. Looking for a lead manually can be extremely time-consuming for sales representatives. CRM systems have virtual assistants which can be employed for the purpose of finding leads. The time spent by your sales representatives to look for leads is greatly reduced by this, allowing them to spend more time on the later steps of the sales cycle.
- Easier lead scoring: After you find a lead, you need to identify the likeliness of the lead’s conversion. Using CRM software can help you to score your leads more easily than you would have to manually. The reason for this is that a CRM system automates the process of scoring the likeliness of your lead’s conversion and adds the lead to your database as well. You can also use the software to prioritize leads and assign them to your sales representatives with more ease.
- Contact management made effectively: Contacting your lead is to be done at every stage of the sales cycle. Due to this, the details of the leads have to be maintained without fail. Manually entering the details of every lead contacted is a tedious and time-taking task. With the help of CRM, this process becomes automated and saves time, and eliminates the chances of possible human errors as well. A CRM system also helps in keeping track of the contact made (such as recording of calls) with the leads.
- Scheduling of follow-ups is easier: Nurturing your leads by following up with them is an essential step in the sales cycle for ensuring your lead converts into a customer. If you do not follow up, your sales cycle gets prolonged. There is also a chance that in the absence of a follow-up, your lead will most likely make a sale with another business, causing a loss to your organization. A CRM system can help in automating the scheduling of follow-ups, thereby reducing the possibility of the sales representatives missing out on the crucial step. Automating this process also helps the employees in reaching their sales goals faster.
- Efficient lead management: It is of utmost importance that there is an interaction between the sales representative and the customer at every step of the sales cycle. In case your lead requires any information, the sales representatives must immediately provide them with it. CRM software sends a notification to the sales representative whenever a lead needs information or a demo, or when the next stage of the sales cycle is arrived at. Reminders of pending follow-ups are also sent to the employees, further ensuring the lead is managed effectively.
Apart from these ways, free CRM can also help you in improving the sales cycle by helping you evaluate the performance of the sales team, and providing training to the team. Overall, the role played by CRM in shortening your sales cycle cannot be undermined, making its implementation crucial for the progress of your business.
| About the Guest Author:
Apoorv Bhatnagar is a Digital marketer at Freshworks Inc. He generally writes about software that improve your marketing, sales or hiring process.