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All Places > Partner Corner > Blog > 2017 > July
2017

How much time can a click to call feature save you in Sugar?

Time and again, we hear from our clients that adding a click to call feature in Sugar enhances the productivity of their users. This holds remarkably true for the users who regularly make calls to their leads, contacts or accounts. Our plugin RT Telephony a Sugar and Twilio integration-allows you to make calls and send text messages from within Sugar’s record view.

For some time now, we had been curious. We wanted to calculate the exact time it saved for each Sugar user when making calls. Using the saved time data, we then calculated the return on investment for our clients who use the plugin.

…So we decided to run a little experiment

The experiment would be pretty simple. We were interested in calculating the time it takes for an ordinary Sugar user to make a call without the embedded click to call feature. We would then go on to calculate the time it takes for a call from within Sugar’s record view. The difference would clearly show how much time the user saves on each call.

With a stopwatch, we sat down and carried out the experiment.

This is what we found!

The steps involved in making a call to a contact in Sugar were the following:

  1. Going to the Contacts module
  2. Searching for the contact name (if it’s not on the immediate list view)
  3. Clicking on the contact to see the contact details
  4. Picking up the phone and dialing

The time it took to make a call?

30 seconds.

On average, completing all of the 4 steps to make the call took around 30 seconds, provided the users followed the exact steps and the phone system to dial from was readily available to them. Otherwise, the call would take much longer.

On the other hand, making a call with a click to call feature from within Sugar was pretty simple. It is just simply going into the record view of any lead, contact or account and clicking on the calling icon. This is shown in the screenshot below.

The whole process took around 15 seconds which meant on every single call, we were cutting the time down in half.Using this data, we now proceeded to calculate the ROI for our plugin.

Calculation of the return on investment

To calculate the ROI of this plugin, we first calculated the annual savings from the plugin and then used a simple formula to calculate the ROI. Calculating the annual savings involved these steps:

Step 1: Calculating the cost per minute of the Sugar user

Step 2: Calculating how long the operation takes

Step 3: Determining the repetitions

Step 4: Determining the operational costs

The calculation is shown in this Infographic:

A key part of ensuring an ROI is that the add-on you leverage with Sugar provide value. The integration with Twilio provides the necessary capability to help develop the 360 degree view of the customer as well as drive adoption within your organization. For example, the add-on has:

  • Instant pop up screen notifications when a lead or a contact calls you
  • Call recording inside Sugar and call forwarding
  • SMS functionality to leads, contacts or accounts (bulk SMS campaigning is also possible)
  • Interactive Voice Response including call routing and assigning extensions
  • Ability to take notes during a call and save them in the notes subpanel

The best thing about RT Telephony is that the price of the plugin is per instance which means there is no cap on the number of users who can use this plugin to make calls. The more users you have, the higher the ROI gets.

 

Bottom line:
If all the functionalities of the plugin are taken into account, then the ROI comes out to be much higher. According to our estimate, for the same variables, it would reach above $5,000. Apart from all the math, it improves the proficiency of the Sugar users, enhances their daily productivity and provides them with the CRM UX they love to work with.

 

We're Here to Help!

If you want to start your 30 day free trial of RT Telephony, you can contact us for a free consultation session.

Anyone who has ever been responsible for CRM implementation has faced the employees’ resistance. In this article, we will examine the reasons for such reaction, possible methods for their elimination and impact of these methods on CRM project budgets.

While analyzing dozens of projects on CRM implementation and business processes optimization where I was involved as a business consultant and project manager, the following clusters of reasons have been identified:

  1. Instinctive fear of changes
  2. Unwillingness to increase the “transparence” of their own work
  3. Inconvenience of use.

Let us examine each of them in more detail.

Instinctive Fear of Changes

It is quite common and less dangerous reason for resistance when implementing CRM.
Viscerally, we treat all changes, the nature and consequence of which we do not understand, as a potential threat. This is a normal defensive reaction of human consciousness, which is intrinsic for most people.

As is known, conjectures give rise to fears, and lack of reliable information gives rise to conjectures. It is the lack of information on purposes and methods of CRM implementation as well as the impact of CRM on business as usual that causes such a protective reaction from employees.

These fears only exist at the initial stage, when the company is implementing or revamping CRM. New employees who come after implementation of changes will take CRM for granted, and they will take rules for working with it in good part.

In order to minimize this factor it is necessary from the moment of making a decision and throughout the CRM implementation project to give employees the answers to the following questions:

  • Which goals must be achieved throughout the project implementation?
  • What employees will change habitual methods of work and why?
  • How will these changes affect personal income of employees and career opportunities?
  • What tasks will be easier to solve compared to the current state?
  • What new methods of work should be mastered and by whom?
  • What will the training of new methods of work look like?
  • What will be the change in performance monitoring system?
  • Who will assist in adoption of new methods of work when the project is over?

It is also important to provide employees with the opportunity to express their concerns and fears as soon as possible. This communication enables the company management and the project manager not only to reduce resistance but also reveal hidden risks of the project which more often appear when the CRM system is up and running which makes risks elimination cost the highest possible.

Unwillingness to Increase the “Transparence” of Their Own Work

This is less common but the most dangerous reason for resistance when implementing CRM.

Everyone understands that working with CRM requires a user to enter a certain amount of data about:

  • Contacts and history of communication;
  • Plans and results of work;
  • Assessing chances of deals successfully closed and giving assessment to causes of unsuccessful closing of opportunities.

The system will also impartially monitor the presence, amount and quality of data pointing out to various faults and gaps. Actually, this data enables management to tackle three important challenges of:

  • Optimizing CRM and CEM processes;
  • Insuring company against risks of Customers’ information loss in case of change or quit of assigned employees;
  • Assessing without bias performance of different employees and finding the “weak link” that decreases organizational performance at large.

It is the understanding of the fact that the work is getting transparent makes some employees seek for methods to resist changes.

There exist two reasons, different in their nature, which explain why employees try to make their work as much non-transparent as possible:

  • Irreplaceability;
  • Looking busy.

Irreplaceability

It is difficult to find a chief executive officer who has not faced, at least once, the situation when a particularly valuable account manager or manager in sales, marketing, or service issues an ultimatum: “either this way or I’ll quit the company”.

It is this very point when you realize that the problem is not only in loss of expertise and experience, but in loss of a considerable amount of customer data as well. This is because of a simple reason that the Customer information (from contact details to information on needs and business peculiarities) is in possession of this manager and the chances to restore it without his good will are zero. There is also a high probability that the employee will leave for a competitor and use the information as a stepping-stone. Here CEO faces the choice: to agree on blackmail or proceed with painful measures.

Understanding that knowledge one possesses about the customer is a way to increase their own value on the labor market, managers in marketing, sales and customer service often aim at limiting and minimizing data disclosure about their customer, which is accumulated during their work. No wonder that such employees perceive CRM as a serious threat to be eliminated by all means.

Looking busy

In many large companies, there are experts who are always busy with preparation of “great projects”. They create some hustle and bustle and hectic rush at work of related business units, continuously attracting attention to themselves from CxO executives to underline the importance of their work. It can last for years. When it comes to explanation of poor performance results, they crank out with a heap of unexplained arguments like:

  • Late receiving of information that was known to a colleague or employee of another department;
  • Not timely receiving of specification from technical department or “technical department messed up everything”;
  • Customer did not know what he wanted and just messed around with manager’s head;
  • Lawyers didn’t prepare timely or wrongly prepared the agreement/worked on customer’s comments;
  • Marketing failed to provide materials on market research/ competitive battlecards in time;
  • Service didn’t take into account the recommendations on the level of attention to customers’ requests;
  • And so on and so forth.

It is quite often that this situation comes around to sales managers in companies having complicated and long sales cycles, where several units are engaged in presale.

It is evident that the employees who found a comfortable place where they can get a suitable monetary remuneration or other reward, not for any reason whatsoever will be willing to document their work so that the opportunity to assess true reasons of failure impartially and honestly can arise. That is why they will strive tooth and nail to undermine efforts on CRM implementation into their work.

Unfortunately, it is possible to fight with “irreplaceability” and “looking busy” only with administrative measures, and only if there is a rigid will of top-ranking executives. If you did not get such support at the earliest stages, investments in the CRM are under a great threat, and the project manager risks getting the stigma of a “loser”. After all, once you make an exception for one employee, as one by one the rest of the employees begin to think: “Why should I follow these rules?”

The main complexity lies in that such resistance is never open and bears the characteristics of a work-to-rule strike. You will never hear such statements as:

  • customer’s information only belongs to me and it’s my private asset which is in my power to share;
  • I don’t want and I won’t share my information;
  • I will not enter information to make it clear what, in fact, I am busy with.

Thus, arguments of the third cluster of reasons as “inconvenience” will be often used to cover underlying causes for resistance. Once we have considered them in more detail, we will come to understanding of what characteristics you can use to tell true inconveniencies from contrived ones.

Inconvenience of Use

The most common reason for the user’s resistance to implementation and use of CRM is related with inconvenience. However, the concept of convenience/inconvenience itself is subjective, and what is convenient for one person with certain skills and habits will be inconvenient for another person.

CRM represents the class of informational systems that should be used every day and throughout the day. In this situation, a good user adoption certainly plays a critical role. Among the main factors that lead to inconvenience and obstacles in using CRM in daily work, we can point out the following:

  • Changing of habitual working mode;
  • Need for manual input of primary data to ensure normal work;
  • Multiple input of the same data in different systems;
  • Need to use several sources for the search of necessary data;
  • Non-availability of necessary data when out of the office;
  • Lack of an effective system of notifications;
  • Lack of ready-to-use reporting;
  • Lack of skills.

Further, we will consider each factor in more detail, their causes, and possible methods of their elimination and impact of these methods on CRM implementation project budgets.

Changing of habitual working mode

Let us start with the simplest factor that is related to habits and can be eliminated over time by forming new habits.

As any informational system, CRM will be handy only if it contains data and this data should be qualitative. The need in input of qualitative data significantly changes the common work structure. Let us have a look at the statistics of time allocation for tasks on working with data before and after CRM implementation, which our company managed to accumulate while implementing of more than a hundred projects.

As you can see at this chart, CRM implementation significantly reduces costs on the data search and transformation, but increases fourfold the amount of work on data input, sometimes even more. The user cannot help noticing it. It is evident that, in general, time saving is up to 10-20%. There is just one small psychological “but”: while the data search and transformation seem useful work to an ordinary user, data input is seen useless and necessary evil.

As a consequence, at the final stage of the project implementation, the following statements are often heard: “It goes without saying that it got easier and faster to search and transform data. Nice business it’d be if we didn’t have it at all. However, the fact that we have to spend significantly more time on data input is unacceptable. Do whatever you want, but we are not going to work this way anymore.”

To put down such “rebellion”, the strong will of leadership is required, as in two months users will get used to the system and start getting a discernable effect of system’s functionality. For this to happen within these time limits, it is highly important to minimize the impact of the following factor.

Need for manual input of primary data for normal work

Try using search, data conversion or report generation functions in the information system, which does not contain any data yet. The system will certainly work correctly, but you will get nothing useful out of it and you will have to first find the data in the old way and enter it, having spent certain time on it. You cannot benefit from it until later.

If it keeps going this way for a few days, you can bear it, but if it keeps going for more than 4-5 weeks, even the most patient person cannot stand it. This person will look for a way not to use CRM, providing the arguments like “I don’t have time to enter old data” or “I don’t have this data and the other person has it.”

As a rule, this situation occurs when transfer of inherited data was not stipulated in the CRM implementation project budget.

Regardless the apparent simplicity, this work requires considerable efforts and big scope of painstaking work on checking and merging data received from numerous sources, as well as performing data reclassification to comply with new classification rules. The more far-reaching changes in CRM processes and the more numerous sources are, the higher labor intensity and complexity of this work are. This article can take a significant share and sometimes reach up to 15% in the CRM projects budget.

Multiple input of the same data in different systems

Now let’s imagine that after entering data in CRM you need to enter the same data into accounting system, service system and God knows to where else. Any sane man will not like this work.

The most frequent cause of this state of things lies in mistakes made at the stage of analyzing processes that underwent changes. Consequently, the required level of integration with other informational systems was not anticipated at the stage of CRM design.

Nevertheless, it is important to take into account that the deep integration of several informational systems represents a difficult engineering task and it is not always justified with the project economics. Therefore, to minimize the users’ resistance to using the system it is necessary to carry out an analysis of business processes at the early stage of the project and identify whether there are employees who will have to enter the same information into different systems due to their job description. In case different employees enter the data, it is more likely they will not experience any worsening; however, the error probability substantially increases. If one person enters the data, he will be dissatisfied with a new work procedure, and the error probability remains rather high.

If you decide not to integrate systems you can do cost estimation of faulty data input risks. If you risk bearing considerable financial losses because of faulty input, the question of convenience/inconvenience takes a back seat.

Need to use several sources for the search of necessary data

This factor by its nature is very close to the previous one. The biggest inconvenience is the need to visually compare received data aiming to identify discrepancies or restore the timeline. As a rule, this is also a consequence of incomplete or poor-quality analysis and design.

At the stage of analysis of users’ work, it is necessary to study the needs in using data, which is accumulated in several systems and is stored in different “folders” in CRM itself. If you discover tasks that require constant look-up in several data sources for their completion, you will face negative users’ response.

So how can you eliminate this negative impression and at the same time reduce budgets on CRM implementation project? You should not necessarily provide the physical data migration from one system to another. It is sufficient to provide the possibility to present information about important business events within CRM. An example of such solution for SugarCRM platform is TimeLine Viewer, specially designed to accumulate and view important business events of both CRM and other informational systems of the company.

Non-availability of necessary data when out of the office

You actively used CRM working in the office and got used to the right information available with a simple mouse click. Imagine the feeling when you need to go on a business trip to hold as many meetings as possible with your current and prospective customers, and you are told that you will not have any access to CRM and you will not be able to use all wealth that you and your colleagues accumulated working in the office. Anger and hard feelings are the best words to describe your state at that time. The phrase “what a bullshit system” will be the most inoffensive in your vocabulary.

It is the possibility to provide access in any place that has made the cloud-based CRM a de-facto standard. However, if for some reason you cannot use the cloud deployment option, you will have to take care not only of availability of your data but also of the protection against unauthorized access after providing access out of the secure local network.

Lack of an effective system of notifications

Forgetting is a natural feature of human memory. It is good to have an assistant who remembers everything and timely reminds regardless of whether you are close or far away from him. Computer on the contrary does not forget anything, but not necessarily reminds you about coming events that it discovered while scanning data. Lack of notifications on coming significant events in CRM creates great inconvenience to users’ and, quite often, leads to financial losses.

To eliminate effectively this negative factor, it is important to distinguish several types of notifications:

  • Notification to the user who “logged in” and works in the system
  • Notification to the user who did not log in to the system.

As a rule, the out-of-the-box functionality of the most CRM products includes notifications about activities (meetings, tasks, calls) and process events that are tied to the date and time and only for users that logged in to the system. Setting of other types of notifications requires additional customization, but invested time and funds will pay off in spades. The creation of an effective system to monitor and notify about events when they are coming can constitute from 7% to 15% of the budget for CRM adaptation.

It is important to consider that the value of notifications is not only in the very fact of reminding, but also in how informative and concise the message will be. It means that the system of notifications must be constantly improved as it is used by trying out the text, its formation based on the data from CRM and links to CRM objects for quick access. To simplify the solution of these tasks on SugarCRM platform, we designed a special tool called Logic Builder, which allows you to quickly and flexibly manage data processing logic and notification feeds.

Lack of ready-to-use reporting

Reports are the final stage of a data life cycle. It is in the reports where raw data is transformed in useful information for decision-making. Can you imagine your disappointment when you can find required data in the system, but you cannot compile it in the easy-to-study and analysis report with one click? It does not only irritate but also significantly reduces the CRM adoption. To avoid this, it is necessary to anticipate work on description and implementation of reporting in the project plan and budget.

Despite being deceptively simple, the presence of reporting configuring tools does not decrease the time spent on this work, as you have to try out many times not only the content, but also, which is more important, data view formats.

The second aspect worthy to note for minimizing inconvenience in work with reporting is the possibility to dig into numbers from the report. If for specification of suspicious or strange numbers that you detected in the report you need to close or print out this report so that you can start another report or, God forbid that, you need to call a programmer, your patience will run out after three-four such iterations.

The possibility of drill-down data depends on the technological tool used in designing CRM that can affect the project budget. In addition to the license cost, the project budget should include an article on configuring a set of reporting for different users. By experience, this article takes from 15% to 20% in the budget on the CRM adaptation to business specifics.

Lack of skills

Finally, let us consider the factor on our list that has a significant impact on user adoption. It is lack of knowledge of the functionality. You will agree that it does not matter what functionality CRM incorporates if users do not know it or cannot use it.

This situation frequently occurs in the companies, which decided to save on training with the hope that the user instructions supplied with CRM allow them to master the system on their own. A good rule of thumb is that only one person out of 10 reads the instruction, and the reason lies not in readers’ unwillingness to read, but in the fact that instructions to the software are designed aiming at description of software functionality, but not at description of techniques for effective performing of processes which users are used to. Bearing in mind that to ensure the process work you should involve 3-5 system functions that are described in different parts of documentation, it is quite natural that few people have enough time and patience to read the documents from soup to nuts, and some of these documents contain more than 200 pages.

If you want to use CRM as efficiently as possible during the whole life cycle, you should take care of including to the budget of an article not only on initial training but also on development of a high-quality training toolkit. The more users and higher staff turnover you have, the more attention you should pay to the quality of training toolkits.

It is reasonable for companies with 50 and more users to develop video tutorials, which will enable to significantly increase the utilization of CRM. The budget on training and tutorials’ development commonly takes from 7% to 12% of the budget on CRM and its adaptation to business specifics.

Would You Like To Know More?

If you are willing to know how to effectively solve issues related to CRM implementation and CRM systems, visit our blog integroscrm.com, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

You know that one of the most frustrating experiences is when a company's customer-facing rep calls you–doesn't matter if they're from sales, customer support, or marketing–and they don't have a clue who you are. For us who work in the world of business know all too well that shooting in the dark rarely results in anything meaningful.

 

From the first touch with a prospect to the last phone calls to finalize a deal, ensuring that the customer experience is top-notch exponentially increases the chances of acquisition and retention. 

 

However, there are many hurdles that keep customer-facing reps from actually delivering thoughtful, personalized outreach and conversations despite knowing that it is crucial.

 

For teams using SugarCRM, integrating your system with all other customer databases and records you have will allow you to personalize, target, and tailor your conversations to get to your goals. Whether you're in sales, marketing, or customer support, customer-facing functions require an incisive view of the customer. This incisive view is only possible if you have all data unified and easy-to-access. 

 

Here are three ways integrating SugarCRM with your marketing automation tools, help desk databases, and other systems of record and points of contact allows you to win more.

 

  1. Updates customer records in real-time 

    Customer information, conversation details, and other pertinent particulars in the world of any customer-facing team are ever-changing. Entry fields on SugarCRM and other systems of record like your marketing automation tools and other databases need to be consolidated to give you a full customer view. Not having your data up to date will net you some losses. The time cost and opportunities lost because of outdated data can't be understated.
  2. Unlocks more opportunities

    Data powers you to not only bring the best out of the current customer stage. Especially in B2B sales, deals are long and complicated–they definitely don't end after the first call. Having access to all customer history and information from marketing, customer support, IT, and other departments gives you the edge in planning and forecasting your opportunities and unlocking more channels.
  3. Supercharges analytics

    Analytics is the oil that greases the wheels of business. When you're stuck or having a business issue, looking at the numbers and the dashboards allows managers and top-level execs to see the whole picture and build deeper insights to formulate a plan of action. Having information all in one place makes it easier to spot causations that permeate different areas of the business.

 

Most businesses these days still suffer from the "problem" of too many tools. You can't let go of them because they all serve their unique purposes. However, having data all over the place is throwing a wrench at your productivity and streamlining efforts.

 

Tenfold connects your phone system to SugarCRM and unifies it with all your other systems of record, allowing you to acquire, maintain, and create long-lasting customer relationships.

 

Interested in how Tenfold works with Sugar? Here's a video! Also, please check out the data sheet attached to this blog post to get more details on how Tenfold supercharges SugarCRM.

 

 

Click here to schedule a consult with one of our integration specialists.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a fantastic way to house all your customer data to best serve your clients. For the most efficient use of your CRM, you need your whole team to use the system. With a lot of your sales team in the field, having a CRM that is easily-accessible on mobile is key.

Companies may overlook the need for mobile-access, but it’s crucial for success. Years ago, the office setting was sitting at a desk. Employees had both their computer and their desk phone in arm’s reach at all times. But that is not the world we live in anymore. While the office computer is still important for some, an outside sales rep can conduct most of their business with just a tablet and a smartphone.

Consider how your team works when setting up your CRM. When a company doesn’t have a mobile version of their CRM, or if the mobile version they have isn’t very good, this creates two centers of gravity. For optimal success, you need your CRM to be the sole hub of your business.

It’s not enough for your CRM to be a part of your business, it needs to be the nucleus. Download our white paper to learn how to make it happen.

Increase your CRM user adoption rate by streamlining the process for team members. Don’t make your sales team take extra steps to input data into your system.  An employee in the field would have to juggle two completely different processes to accomplish tasks that should be simple. Ease their process by making it accessible in their most-used tools.

A mobile user should always have easy access to all the tools and resources they need to do their job. Establish a workflow that removes any stumbling blocks from the mobile experience, and include mobile interface optimization into the CRM implementation itself. Tools like text-to-speech and automatic call logging can also help to simplify and enhance the mobile experience.

You’ve seen it before: the red flags clogging up your CRM. The close dates that get pushed back—further, and further, and further.

 

The panic at quarter-end: your sales forecast is way off! You're going to miss your benchmarks! There are blocks in your pipeline and it feels too late to fix them.

 

What you’re dealing with is called deal slippage—and it’s one of the most taxing, and most solvable, drains on your sales pipeline.

 

What is deal slippage?

Deal slippage is exactly what it sounds like. You have a target close date for a deal that has gained some momentum, but then, uh-oh. The buyer's company hires a new CFO, a few emails go unanswered and a meeting needs to be scheduled and Voila! The deal slips into next quarter.

Lack of communication usually means the deal isn’t going to close anytime soon!

 

So you work to get back on track. However, there’s a question of security. IT needs to audit before things can move forward. The deal slips another month.

 

Then your contact takes a vacation. The deal slips. There’s something in the terms that the new CFO doesn’t like. The deal slips. Legal needs to approve. The deal slips.

 

Sometimes, your deal slips because of lagging communication. Your emails aren’t making it to the company’s key decision makers—or your communication has become totally one-way.

 

But month after month, quarter after quarter, the deal slips, until, just maybe, it gets dropped all together.

 

Why does deal slippage matter?

Meeting your sales benchmarks and effectively allocating your team’s resources is dependent on your sales pipeline. The plaque on your sales pipeline is deal slippage.

 

When deals get pushed back, month after month, your sales forecast gets murky. Expectations aren’t met. Team morale is hurt and your potential customers are unhappy.

 

That’s right. More than anything, deal slippage hurts relationships with your potential customers. When you set a target close date, you set an expectation. If your product or service does, in fact, provide value to the customer, the problem they're trying to solve or the opportunity they're trying to capitalize on remains while the deal stays open.

 

Making sure the deal closes on time requires strong sales leadership. It’s a key part of a customer-centric sales culture. It impacts your reputation and your overall sales effectiveness. Because if you push a deal back too far, and it might not close at all.

 

To help you, we’ve broken the battle against deal slippage into 3 phases and developed tips for you to follow in each phase—so you can close on time, keep your customers happy, and develop a sales forecast you can count on.

 

Phase 1: Learn

Ask Tough Questions

One of the biggest ways to combat deal slippage is to make sure the deal is closable in the first place. Before you even start to even think about your target close date, ask:

  • Is the buyer aware of our pricing structure? Have they been introduced to this early on?
  • Am I in touch with the key decision-makers? Does my point of contact have any clout in this deal closing?
  • Are the potential buyers familiar with our solution—or do they require a lot of education before they purchase?
  • What internal and external regulations, checks, reviews, and audits will this potential customer have to go through before the deal is done?
  • Which of our customer’s departments have a say in how and when this deal is closed?

 

Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to give the deal an accurate and attainable close date. And you’ll be able to outline milestones, contact the right people, track progress, and flag potential hold-ups.

 

Keep an Eye on the Calendar

It sounds obvious, but when you’re looking at a deadline 6 months away, it’s easy to miss a few common delays. Before you set a target close date, consider holidays and standard employee vacation time. Christmas and New Year’s Day are international holidays, which many of your points of contact will take off. When working internationally, factor in holidays in your customer’s home country.

 

Maybe the company you’re selling to takes a retreat in August. Or has all hands on deck for a conference in July. Maybe they’re budget for next year is due quarter 3. Or maybe you’re taking some time off yourself in February.

 

Either way, knowing the external factors that could hold your close date back is essential for setting that target close date in the first place.

 

Phase 2: Plan

Make Your Close Date Sacred

You should be adjusting your sales strategy to meet your target close date, not the other way around.

 

That means looking at the customer buyer process, identifying verifiable outcomes, and making sure those milestones are being met in time to close on your target date.

 

To break this down: verifiable outcomes are just steps the buyer has taken to confirm where they are in the buying process. They’ve presented your solution to the team or they’ve confirmed their budget with finance.

 

Once you have these, work backwards. And adjust your milestones and communication patterns—rather than your target close date.

 

Write Up a Give/Get List

Preparing a list of “gives” and “gets” helps you move through all those pesky particulars at the negotiating table. Take a few seconds to identify some agreements or concessions that you might need to make in the last stages of your sales cycle.

 

Are you willing to shorten the agreement terms? Cut back on some fees or restrictions? What value does each of these “gives” have—and what, of equal value, can you “get” in return? Come prepared with your “gives” and “gets” in mind, and you’re more likely to close the deal on time.

 

Sales Performance International has a great cheat sheet for outlining your Give/Get list, to get you started.  

 

Build a Strong Connection

Your customers are people. They are facing their own stresses and obstacles throughout the buying process. Genuine rapport is a key to pushing them past their internal hurdles.

 

When a new executive wants to look at competitors again or their company imposes one last bureaucratic step, potential customers will remember you. They will remember how you reacted at each touchpoint and how diligently you worked to overcome obstacles. Building trust throughout the entire sales process despite delays and last-minute hiccups will encourage loyalty. And that loyalty will help you make the deal on time.

 

Review your past deals and start to understand what communication patterns signal that a deal will close

 

 

 

Step 3: Accelerate

Remember: Time is Money

Think about the value the customer is losing every day they don’t buy. We’re talking about specific, big impact digits that are sure to light a fire.

 

This means first knowing the ROI your product will bring to your prospect—and making sure they know it too. Little concessions and agreements get turned around quickly when hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line. And motivating your customer to act quickly is easy when they’re reminded: “As this deal slips—so does my bottom line.”

 

Chase Small Wins

Sometimes, it just takes getting your foot in the door. It’s easy to get hung up on an initial deal size—the five year contract, the enterprise pricing option.

 

Instead, make the smaller sale happen. Once your customer trusts you and starts to rely on your product, it’s easy to land-and-expand. And as you start to upsell, you’ll find fewer and fewer roadblocks between you and your loftier end goal.

 

Remember Their CTRAs

You’re not the only one with deadlines. Why does your customer need what you’re selling? For what? Take the time to learn about big CTRAs, or “compelling reasons to act.” Maybe they need your product for a new launch, a particular event, a conference, or a presentation. Maybe they’re relying on what you offer to meet their own monthly or quarterly metrics.

 

All of those events have deadlines. Reminding a potential customer of how your capabilities will help with their big milestones can keep a deal from slipping.

 

So what’s next?

You won’t find a CRM without the footprints of deal slippage, and you won’t find a sales team that isn’t frustrated by all the delays. But by spotting the deal slippage in your sales pipeline, you’ve already taken a big step towards meeting your benchmarks, clearing up your sales forecasts, and building loyal, lifelong relationships with new customers.

Spot the signs of deal slippage early

 

Luckily, Sugar users can use Collabspot Connect Pro to spot the signs of deal slippage early on so they can save the deal and update their pipeline accordingly. Contact the Collabspot sales team for a free trial.

Symptoms – are manifestations of the disease rather than the disease itself

What we see as an obstacle on the way to the goal, and what we want to fix with the CRM system implementation is often a consequence rather than a cause. Since we want to achieve results, we need to fight the cause of the negative phenomena. Take your time to carry out an in-depth analysis of your particular situation; it is necessary to find out the true obstacles to achieve your goals. You will be surprised how much energy and money you can save.

There is no universal cure

We understand that it does not happen in ordinary life, but when we choose a CRM system, we believe that this is possible, and we want to choose one system to solve all the tasks, rather than pick up a few systems that are suitable for every particular case.

Technologies help, but only people use them

Any CRM project is a mix of technologies and organizational measures. If you implement new or optimize existing processes, make sure that these processes have their owners, and executors, who are trained and motivated to perform their functions. Even if you implement fully automated processes, someone has to constantly analyze how well they meet requirements of the market.

The speed of change

The speed of change in business is growing every year, hence the level of uncertainty when making even the medium-term decisions is growing too. You cannot know what will happen, but you can prepare yourself for the changes. You can compensate the impact of uncertainty with the budget reserve because underfunded project is the worst that can happen: there is no money and the goals are not achieved. The more time the project takes, the greater the budget reserve should be.

For those who want to learn more, please, see the article with extended recommendations on how to choose a CRM system. If you need an individual advice – write here.