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Companies with a solid sales process see a 28% increase in revenue.
But that's not just any sales process, mind you. We said “a solid sales process”.
And 44% of executives believe their organization ineffectively manages their sales process.
So what's the solution?
Your sales process in CRM software is one of the smartest moves you could make for your business. Say hello to efficient, streamlined, repeatable success, as a CRM sales process flow is documented and data-driven.
This means no more random, one-off wins and no more failures where everybody wonders what went wrong.
Without a recipe, a cake can fall flat. CRM sales process steps are your recipe to ensure sweet, fluffy success.
Let's get cookin'.
What is a CRM Sales Process?
A sales process in CRM software is a set of guidelines from prospecting to closing a deal, integrated into your customer relationship management system.
Every selling team should have a sales process in place – it's a part of every solid sales plan – but it will be more organized, efficient, and successful when you implement it into your CRM.
And we aren't just guessing that structured, data-driven CRM sales processes work. It's a fact that 90% of all companies that use a formal, guided sales process were ranked as the highest performing.
Understanding CRM Sales Process Flow
A CRM sales process flow is a set of repeatable steps (usually 5-7) that a sales rep takes to transport a prospect through the sales pipeline. From prospecting all the way to maintaining the customer relationship after closing.
It's basically a step-by-step checklist for closing a deal.
Another way to look at a sales process is from the customer's point of view. It's their journey – from realizing they have a need for a product or service, through making a purchase, and into keeping your business card on their desk for the next time they need you.
We wrote a more in-depth discussion on building a great sales process for you to read at your leisure.
5 CRM Sales Process Steps
Generally, CRM sales process steps are either 5 or 7 steps long, though they contain the same actions. It really just depends on how you word it.
Today we'll be going with the 5 step version.
It isn't any wonder that this is step 1, huh?
Identifying likely customers for the product or service you offer is the first step to making a sale.
Prospecting can be quite a tall order when a sales rep has no data collection system to help gather info on a target audience or track potential leads. It's no surprise then, that 42% of salespeople believe that prospecting is the most difficult part of the sales process.
Most CRMs have a built-in lead provider feature, which allows reps to discover prospects using specific criteria programmed into the system. This would normally take hours of tedious typing, researching, and digging.
This step can also utilize digital marketing CRM. Digital marketing is an awesome way to discover and nurture leads using SMS, email, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Reaching out or even just answering questions and providing excellent customer service are all excellent ways to turn unknown faces into prospects overnight.
As you start to gather leads, you have to make a big decision of which ones are the most important.
We know…it isn't easy picking a favorite child.
Determining the likelihood of a prospect converting to a sale, estimating how much money the deal will go for, and how much they're willing to spend will all factor in as you prioritize and qualify leads.
We think it's pretty obvious why this is tough without computers.
The qualifying step of your sales process in CRM software is made easy with lead scoring – simply input data such as demographic and industry with specific scores assigned to each based on priority.
The software will then handle ranking and dolling out points to your current prospects and notify you which of them has the best potential outcome.
And to think. You were running to grab your notebook.
3. Presentation and handling objections
You might also call this step “quoting” or “negotiating” in the CRM sales process. You'll be typically reaching out with:
- A starting pitch
- Terms and conditions
- Pricing talk
- Presentation/meeting scheduling
- A finalized quote
This is also the step where you want to have ready answers for common/predicted objections. Objections like:
- Existing contract with another business
- Unwilling to/fear of change
- Required features
Step 3 is make or break – most deals are won or lost in the quoting stage, making it one of the most important steps.
You want it to be streamlined and flawless. A CRM sales process will ensure that this vital, delicate step goes as smoothly as possible by allowing you to craft special, personalized quotes using customer interaction data and demographic details.
More personalization = more success.
80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service that provides a personalized experience.
4. Closing the deal
Ah yes – settling the quote. Finalizing the deal. The moment we've all been waiting for!
So wouldn't failing at this point hurt?
sales process steps
A CRM sales process flow will automate certain procedures, like using data from past deals to estimate the optimal time to close. It's called a stage duration analysis report and it'll help you discover the average time a prospect spends in any of these steps.
Knowing the average pace a lead goes through your pipeline will tell you if everything is going well.
It's like how your GPS gives you an estimated time of arrival…so you know if it's taking too long, you've taken a wrong turn.
Knowing that something's amiss is half the battle. After that, you, your team, and your CRM can band together to troubleshoot why a certain prospect is taking longer than normal to progress.
You can then move on to closing the deal, gathering the signatures, and having a little sales party with cake.
Customers shouldn't be like ice cream…so let's keep the churning to a minimum.
Just because you won that deal doesn't mean you can forget about your new customer. Following up and maintaining a good relationship with a current/former client is imperative.
Check out these epic stats on customer retention:
- Acquiring new customers is 5 to 25 times more expensive than maintaining current ones.
- The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 - 70%.
- The probability of selling to a new customer is a meager 5 - 20%.
Question: What is the sales CRM process when it comes to follow-ups and customer loyalty?
Answer: a superstar.
Your CRM can offer automated follow-ups scheduled weeks or even months in advance. They can just touch base, offer a special deal or even send the customer a personalized birthday card.
Additionally, if you weren't able to close the deal, then step 5 here would be about following up with your prospect and keeping them on your radar for a possible future sale.
60% of customers say “No” four times before they say “Yes”.
How Sales Process CRM Can Help Close More Sales
So we've told you the basic steps for a CRM sales process. We've told you a few ways a CRM can make them more smooth and streamlined.
But how can Ringy aid your CRM sales process flow overall? What are the benefits in-depth?
Hang on. We got you. Just keep scrollin'.
Easily documents the process
Sure, you can use paper and pen. You can use spreadsheets. But a CRM will ensure that everything is documented from start to finish. And easy to manage, access, and look at.
Check out this example of a sales process in CRM:
It keeps your prospects and deals organized and ensures a logged history to view and refer to later. You'll have all your past history at your fingertips, nicely sorted in an easy interface.
No more having to ask Jordan:
“Wait…how much did that deal go for again?”
Jordan's so unreliable.
Automates the process
Automation is more than your email wishing you a happy birthday.
It can also wish your customers a happy birthday.
Seriously, though. With automation nothing's missed, no leads left behind, no business-shattering typos, no relying on fried human memory –
Even the best rep can forget follow-ups and even the best manager can forget meeting reminders.
Here are a few CRM sales process automation examples:
- Email templates
- Semi-personalized templates so reps can reach out fast and efficiently.
- Presentation templates
- Industry-specific presentation templates that can be quickly, easily edited before a meeting.
- Schedule appointments
- Automatically provide leads with times and dates so they can set up an appointment that suits them.
- Leave a pre-recorded voicemail
- Create a variety of pre-recorded voicemails that will drop if a lead isn't there to pick up.
- Log call outcomes
- Calls automatically log important data so your reps don't have to be scratching with pen and paper…or worse, trying to remember after the call ends.
- Pair leads with reps
- Route emails and calls to the correct reps and departments.
- Build lists of prospects
- Find the best leads for your business by scanning businesses by company size and industry.
A CRM sales process benefits from task automation on so many levels.
The last two points mean that if you document something that really works…you can do it again and again.
Let's head back to that recipe analogy from earlier – don't you hate when you taste really moist cake and your friend says:
“Yeah, I forgot to write the recipe down.”
A repeatable strategy offers consistency in interaction, which not only saves your team time and effort, but it means they can build up skill. If you're doing something different every time, you can't exactly get good at it, right?
Data and predictive analytics
Data is always there. If you just got off the phone, that conversation was data. But do you have any way to capture and utilize it?
Having your process cemented in your CRM will make it easy to use data and analytics to accurately forecast potential revenue and ideal deals, and better prepare reps to serve customers.
Check out these data stats that'll boost your CRM sales process flow:
Big data facts
Number of businesses that cite unstructured data as a major problem
Number of organizations investing in big data
How much $$ big data saves Netflix per year with customer retention alone
Number of enterprises that say data is essential to business growth
Amount of data that goes unused for analytics purposes
That last stat? Do you want to know why 73% of data goes unused for analytics? Simply because companies lack the technology required to utilize it.
Nothing could be simpler than just asking…
“Uh, you…you on track to meet quota?”
I'm sure they'll be completely honest and not sugarcoat it.
Are you detecting baloney? Good.
Your company's sale process in CRM software allows you to check progress at any time with a simple click. How many calls a rep made this week, how many emails they sent, how many meetings they scheduled, and more.
This is especially necessary the more your business scales. Maybe it's easy to track progress when you only have 5 sales reps…but once you have 20? 30? Sales performance management software becomes even more crucial.
This will not only allow you to keep your sales process on track but also monitor struggling teammates and reward top performers. Because top performers who aren't recognized for the work they do are 2X more likely to quit and look for greener pastures.
Having a documented CRM sales process that's logged, reliable, and data-driven will make onboarding and training brand new reps a breeze.
New reps will have a clear understanding of what's expected in your business and how to do it. They could be a seasoned veteran salesperson but if they don't know your organization's business and sales processes, things won't go well.
This, combined with awesome sales coaching, will be an unstoppable duo in creating confident, well-trained sales reps.
They'll be up to speed in no time. You may even forget they're new.
Customer loyalty and satisfaction
Reps can get excited when things are going well. This could lead them to push the prospect too fast, which can damage the relationship. Or worse – lose the deal entirely.
A well-designed, customer-centric sales process that's recorded in your CRM will help your reps avoid pushy sales talk and lead to a comfortable procedure for your prospects. Your reps can stick to the process and not jump the gun.
They have a guideline to follow.
Not only that, but a sales process that's based on customer satisfaction and expectations will enhance trust and build relationships better. Having a solid, repeatable sales process that made a customer happy in the past will up the chances that it will work again.
8 Best Sales CRM
Alright, so you've already thrown the pen and paper into the trash (what will you write your grocery list on now?), closed your spreadsheet on your desktop, and opened up a new browser tab to start searching for the perfect CRM.
Whoa there, eager beaver – we've already got a list of the best sales process CRM for you.
Yep, Ringy's here at the top. We're Ringy fans for sure – but not for no reason.
Ringy has powerful lead and pipeline management capabilities, convenient automated workflows, automatic drip campaigns – it's designed to support your sales team, enhance performance, and move leads through your process from Prospecting to Maintenance.
Why not check out a few of the awesome features that are guaranteed to help your sales process?
- Third-party integrations
- Mobile app
- Email marketing and drip campaigns
- Data and analytics
Plus, Ringy has an excellent 24/7 support team and competitive pricing at only $99 / month.
We think you'll be a Ringy fan, too.
Pipedrive prioritizes usability and easy interface above all other features and benefits, which we think is a pretty good move.
Pipedrive CRM has an excellent visualized pipeline and sales process. You can customize it to your liking or just go with a premade template if you're in a hurry.
It also has progress tracking, checklists, and all the little things that make managing a sales process a little more convenient.
However, it's lacking solid automation and email marketing features.
The recommended plan is $49.90 / user / month.
Copper promises zero learning curve – which we're sure is an exaggeration, but we love their boldness.
The pipeline management in Copper is convenient and powered by automation so no opportunities are allowed to slip by. They offer great customization for your process, pipeline, and projects so you can run your business your way.
Companies aren't cookie-cutter.
Like Pipedrive, its main complaints arise from a lack of email functionality. Unreliable email open rates, limited bulk emailing, and a confusing email layout.
The most popular package is “Professional” at $59 / user/month.
LeadSquared offers improved productivity and enhanced speed to the hardworking salesperson's day with features like mobile CRM and quick lead distribution.
Your sales process is boosted by insights into lead progress, sales closed, pipelines forecasted, and more. Plus, it doesn't hurt to have reports on revenue metrics and campaign performance.
Their support team doesn't exactly get glowing reviews but otherwise, this CRM is pretty good.
Pricing is $20 / user/month for this solid starter CRM.
Boost team efficiency, make better decisions, and close more deals –
At least, that's what their advertising says.
Seriously, Zendesk is a CRM with excellent automation, third-party integrations, detailed reporting, and well-documented customer interactions. It's designed to help you increase productivity and sell more.
Zendesk is also a complex platform and users say you need extensive training to use and understand it. So it has a somewhat steep learning curve.
Pricing sits around $49 - $99 / user/month depending on the features you want.
Zoho CRM offers fast implementation and better ROI with a very simple interface, promising that you won't have to learn coding to get the most out of it.
Being customer-centric, it includes real-time notifications for customer interactions, detailed customer communication analytics, and a myriad of ways to reach customers: phone, email, chat, and social media.
The system is a little slow to respond and kind of sluggish, plus the mobile app is missing some of the functionality that the main program has.
Pricing is $14 - $40 / user / month depending on the desired features. You can also go for the freemium version.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the CRM sales process better?
Besides being documented, automated, repeatable, customer-oriented…?
The sales process in CRM software just makes sense. You can keep track of customer interactions and reactions, you can examine what went right in a won deal and what went wrong in a lost deal.
Plus all the little things are automated so you can focus on the big picture.
Is a sales process 5 or 7 steps?
Actually, it can be either.
Both are basically the same – you're really just condensing the steps, but they're all there. It depends on how you describe it, but it all boils down to the first step being prospecting and the last ones being closing the deal and maintaining a good relationship.
How do I involve the customer in my sales process?
It's good to involve the customer – they are half of this equation.
Actively involve them. Long spiels and speeches may seem tempting – you've seen them in so many movies so they must work – but don't fall for it.
Engage them directly with easy questions, like simple yes/no questions to get them going. Relate to them, communicate and be human.
And all of this will be documented in your CRM to access it later.
So we've jumped into the CRM sales process, learned the ins and outs, benefits, and that a sales process can be any number of steps from Prospecting to Follow-up, but it's generally 5 or 7:
Your sales process is unique to your team and your business. A CRM makes it easy to personalize it to you. Maybe your prospecting stage is longer, maybe your presentation communication is faster – and you should have the freedom to adjust it easily.
The CRM sales process is guaranteed to give you a boost in productivity, repeatable success, and more deals closed by the end of the day.
Request a demo with Ringy to talk to one of our team about its amazing sales process and pipeline capabilities.
Like us, they love talking about Ringy.