Skip to main content

Personalize Your Sales Process with CRM

Sales funnel

by James Townsend

Sales force automation is one of the most popular apps of customer relationship management (CRM).  Whether you choose Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce, or another CRM product, sales is likely near the top of your priorities.
What makes a sales organization successful, however, varies significantly from one company to another based on the targeted sales segments and the position of the company within its industry.  Companies that sell direct to consumers online may receive a large number of leads through search ads or email marketing campaigns, and deals may be closed without labor-extensive interactions such as phone calls or meetings which may be appropriate for large-ticket items such as finding commercial real estate or purchasing expensive information technology solutions.   Large companies with dominant positions in their industry may take a different sales approach than startups trying to break into a new market. 

The differences in sales processes mean that optimizing your CRM will make it quite different from that of companies in other industries, and perhaps even different from larger and smaller competitors.  Indeed, your sales process may itself be a key differentiator between your company and your competitors.  Low pressure sales models have been introduced for automobile sales to highlight differences with traditional car selling.  Now you can purchase used cars entirely online and have one show up at your door.

Here are some of the key ways to personalize your sales process:
  1. Define how leads are handled.   What do you consider a lead?  Is it a marketing list that is used for prospecting?  Does someone become a lead by visiting your website, downloading a whitepaper, filling out the Contact Us form or through some other action?  
  2. Define when an opportunity exists.  What is the trigger for a lead turning into an opportunity?  How do you determine what the prospect is seeking and qualify them before creating a lead.
  3. Assign tasks to people.  Who handles leads?  Does a different person or team focus on opportunities? 
  4. Define sales territories.  How are leads and opportunities assigned to sales people?  Based on geographical location, the products or services sought or a combination of these factors?  Do you assign prospects and customers to reps or could they have different reps for purchases of different items?
  5. Define the sales process.  How many steps take place from the time a lead appears until the deal is closed as a win or a loss?  What do you call these?  For government sales, for instance, there may be many additional steps for formal solicitations, responses, and iterations of contracts which would not be needed for a sale to an individual consumer.
  6. Define the opportunity.  Opportunities are the heart of a sales CRM.  Do you need additional forms or fields to qualify opportunities and describe the scope of what is being sold?  Do you use a catalog of line items which apply to an opportunity?  Do you have multiple pricelists?
  7. Define access. How does your sales team access the CRM? Do they work from computers or mobile devices?  Who should be able to access which information?   Can sales executives see opportunities that belong to others, or only their own?
  8. Define reports.  While standard reports such as the sales pipeline appeal to a wide variety of companies, reporting (and dashboards) are typically tailored uniquely for the measures that are valued by a company.  Do you emphasize the number and quality of interactions with customers?  Are proposals tracked in your CRM or do they exist outside the system?
These are just a few of the ways that one size does not fit all for a sales CRM. Your software must be flexible enough to support your sales process and be adaptable for changes that you introduce in the future.  More likely than not, your sales process will be different in five years than it is today. 

Popular posts from this blog

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Tenant, Instance, App and Solution

Updated 8/15/2022 To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) and Power Apps, you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises.  These concepts also apply to Power Apps.  The main difference is that with Power Apps you are not starting with a Microsoft app but more of a blank canvas for your custom apps.  This post introduces some key terms and how these concepts are important for planning your implementation. While Dynamics 365 is still available on premises, it is most commonly deployed on the Microsoft cloud.  This blog post discusses only cloud implementations. Microsoft has multiple clouds such as commercial and government community clouds in several countries. We start with a Microsoft tenant .  A tenant is the account you create in the Microsoft Online Services environment (such as Office 365) when you sign up for a subscription. A tenant contains uni

My Favorite Microsoft Power Apps Bloggers and their Blogs

  by James Townsend Updated 7/5/2022 Microsoft Power Apps is one of my favorite subjects, and I enjoy reading blog posts from members of this thriving technical community.  Here are some of my favorite bloggers and their blogs: The Official Microsoft Power Apps Blog   I have to start with the official Microsoft Power Apps blog.  It has many contributors, largely Microsoft program manager, including frequent posters Denise Moran ,  Greg Lindhorst , Kartik Kanakasabesan , and  Adrian Orth .  This is the place to go for product announcements, updates and technical how-to for a broad range of Power Apps topics.  April Dunnam April Dunnam was formerly focused on SharePoint and now devoting herself to Power Platform.  April offers highly understandable explanations of Power Platform, Dataverse and other top Power Apps topics. She joined Microsoft in late 2019 and has a thriving YouTube channel .  Carl De Souza Power Apps Blog and eBook This is one of the most extensive and best organized blo

Understanding Dynamics 365 and Office 365 Admin Roles

Managing Dynamics 365 instances If you run Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) in the Microsoft cloud, you need to understand how your Dynamics instances relate to Office 365 and choose which of your administrators receives which roles and permissions to manage Dynamics 365. In on premises deployments, your network administrator would create and delete user accounts.  The Dynamics 365 admin would then assign permissions to users in Dynamics 365. This post explains three administrator roles: Office 365 Global Administrator Dynamics 365 System Administrator Dynamics 365 Service Administrator You may think that the Dynamics 365 system administrator would have power to do all the actions needed to manage Dynamics 365, but this is not the case. What's different in Microsoft cloud deployments is that licenses and user accounts are managed in Office 365 by an Office 365 Global Administrator.  This role is analogous to a network administrator for an on premises