CRM/SFA That Accelerates Sales: The Sales Process Integration Approach

Has your company struggled with Sales Force Automation (SFA) or
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software? If so, you’re not
alone. It’s estimated that between 65 and 80 percent of all system
implementations end in failure*. Sales people don’t like working with
software, and each rep uses the system differently. Customer/prospect
data is inconsistent and poorly maintained. Management doesn’t get the
forecasting and reporting visibility that it needs. Instead of being a
productivity tool, CRM systems can easily end up being a drag on sales
team performance.

Does this description sound like what’s
happening at your company? If so, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Imagine a CRM system that provides your sales people with a valuable
tool for increasing their productivity, and growing your company’s

Sales Process Integration means taking a holistic, “Best Practices”
approach to building an effective sales system that is repeatable, easy
to understand and follow. When done right, a CRM system immediately
starts increasing sales pipeline visibility, lead follow-up and close

The key to CRM success is laying a solid foundation,
before you select or install any software. Here are some key steps to
take, whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping an existing

Develop a detailed description of your sales process,
including sales stages, actions to be taken at each stage,
sales/marketing tools to be used, responsibilities (Marketing, Inside
Sales, Field Sales) and timelines. This can be easily done in a matrix
format. Use Visio or other software to create a flowchart of your sales
process. By defining your process in this visual format, you and your
team will develop a complete understanding of all possible sales
scenarios, and how to effectively manage prospects through each stage
of the sales cycle. Assign a probability percentage to each sales stage
that everyone can agree to and follow. A simple list of probabilities
looks like this:

Unqualified Prospect 0%

Qualified Prospect 10%

Proposal Sent 25%

Decision Imminent 50%

Verbal Commitment 75%

Purchase Order Received 100%

your sales reporting and forecasting requirements. Develop a detailed
description of each report to be run, task
responsibilities/dependencies, the information to be captured, and
reporting frequency.

*Source: Aberdeen Group

Author: Andrew Rowe