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BLOGCRM Fundamentals to Build your Business

by Randall CraigFiled in: Make It Happen Tipsheet, Blog, Business Development, CRM, Engagement, SalesTagged as: ,

Yep, you’ve got Salesforce. Or Keap, Zoho, ActiveCampaign, Hubspot, or one of the myriad of other CRM systems. And it’s supposed to track your progress, improve your forecasting, and produce a number of business-critical reports for management. But if you are involved in business development, how do you get the most from this type of system, without wasting your time?

CRM Fundamentals to Build your Business

Unfortunately, the answer is rarely found within instruction manuals, YouTube videos, and training, as these are often focused either on configuration, or on the “clickety-here, clickers-there” of how to use each bit of system functionality. Or, management believes the myth that the system will work only if every field must be filled in on every single page. (This approach is a sure-fire way to hobble any professional — who has the time?)

With this as context, it’s no wonder why most CRM implementations never reach their potential. Based on our years of helping businesses scale, here are seven key activities that actually deliver results:

  1. When a new lead is identified, it must be input into the system. Whether automatically via an integration with another system (call center, website, social media, trade show, etc.) or manually (networking, outbound calls, direct emails, etc.). If the lead doesn’t get into the system, it can’t be tracked.
  2. Next follow-up task and date added. After a lead is “touched” by email, phone, meeting, there should be a “next follow-up date” task added, along with what that task should be. Some examples: “What are your thoughts on the white paper?”, “Can we schedule a coffee to catch up?”, “When might the RFP be sent out?”. By scheduling a specific task on a specific future date, no lead will ever fall between the cracks.
  3. Daily process: First thing each day should involve reviewing and completing any outstanding tasks. And when the task is complete, set the next follow-up task. The second daily task is to ensure the requisite number of new leads are added to the CRM: this may involve outbound calling, or simply following up on leads that were auto-entered.
  4. Pruning the funnel: Reviewing the complete funnel, if there are any that are “stalled”, either figure out how to “un-stall” them, or move them out of your funnel, labelling them a dead prospect. Often, a dead prospect can come back to life if you maintain the relationship. Consider reviewing your dead prospects at least quarterly, or using a long-term nurture marketing automation to maintain the relationship.
  5. Review your funnel by stage: Sometimes, the number of opportunities at each stage is not optimal: Too few in the earlier stages, mean a famine later on. Too many in the later stages, might suggest that an incentive should be used to improve the close rate. Or it might indicate an operational problem with delivery, if everyone closes at the same time. By reviewing your funnel by stage, you can learn where your time should be spent.
  6. Print it out: Yes, print a funnel report, with contact and opportunity details. When you are on the road, or have a few minutes between meetings, bring it out and spend a few minutes reviewing, making calls, etc. When you’re back in front of your computer, then update the CRM with any details. (Yes, it’s possible to look at your funnel using your phone or tablet, but printing it out gives you a different visual perspective.)
  7. Fill in the fields… mostly: If you are on a call with a prospect, and you’re taking notes anyway, why not take notes directly in the CRM? It will save you time, and when you next speak to the prospect, everything will be in one place.
  8. Get the “dashboard” right: Ensure that key statistics, such as next follow-up tasks, funnel opportunities by stage, and new leads added, are front and center.


Is there one of these items that you are currently not doing, or not doing consistently? This week, build some healthy CRM habits by focussing on that one specific item.

CRM insight: Too often, the practical “how” is not considered when implementing a new system. Nor are front-line sales professionals part of the early discussions. If you’re thinking about a new CRM system — or rebooting an existing one — consider this list a checklist: how easy will the new system enable each task?

Related post: Avoiding a Disastrous CRM Implementation

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