Regardless of what type of business you are running, planning is everything.
When talking about a business plan, we often imagine mountains of documents and multiple spreadsheets all piled up in a single office in the middle of the night. And indeed some SMB-type companies are still utilizing the old-fashioned way of doing things. The problem with it is that there is no easy way of synchronizing Word docs and Excel spreadsheets across the entire company. So the process turns into a complete nightmare.
In today’s market, where everything is changing so rapidly, an organization requires accurate real-time data, fast communication and easy access to information. The dire need for such functionality gave birth to advanced CRM platforms like Salesforce, which take care of the most tedious tasks and leave you with time and strength to focus on what’s really important.
How Can Salesforce Cloud Platform Improve Business Planning?
Business planning is all about prioritizing your time. Time, in fact, is the most critical asset that any organization has and it is the only asset that we constantly lack and that cannot be expanded.
Use Salesforce platform to prioritize who you work with
Although simply spending more time with customers definitely can help you in achieving greater sales,, not all deals are equal. That’s why in sales we have lead scoring. Sales managers who adopt it tend to significantly reduce sales cycles in their companies – in fact, by up to 25%.
While many tools and solutions exist that address the technological aspects behind CCM, what is needed most is a holistic platform that brings all the moving parts together. Indeed, one of the fundamental values of adopting a Customer Communications Management strategy is that it provides a vehicle for centralized strategic planning and implementation, as well as technical control over the communications themselves. Significant operational savings can be achieved by investing in CCM, but extended value lies in the ability to design and implement customer communications strategies that optimize both revenue growth and customer experience overall.
Focusing on customers who are more likely to make a purchasing decision doesn’t mean that you should ignore other leads, but your sales force should have clear priorities. Salesforce solution lets you analyze both your internal sales data and real-time customer information.
By accounting key factors, your sales reps can see which leads are more likely to convert and more importantly why. For every business, these factors will vary. You might uncover that VPs who view product demo are great leads, and they tend to convert much faster, for example.
Use Salesforce solution to prioritize what you do
Having insight into your previous sales and marketing data can not only help you determine which lead is more likely to buy, but also what drives them to the purchasing decision. If the data suggests that leads from email and LP (landing page) channels are more likely to convert, then you should allocate more time on lead nurturing via email marketing, adding more conversion elements to LPs and possibly consider utilizing Salesforce email automation.
Research confirms that managing and improving customer experience drives revenues and saves costs. Here are just a few data points to consider:
- It costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.
- Price is not the main reason for customer churn, it is actually due to poor quality of customer service.
- The probability of selling to an existing customer is 3 times greater than selling to a new prospect.
- 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are treated after they become a customer.
- A 5% reduction in the customer defection rate can increase profits by up to 95%.
Internally, you should track the performance of your team and see what factors within your organization positively affect productivity. If setting up weekly meetings doesn’t bring any results, then you might as well withdraw this business initiative and replace it with something else. But don’t turn this into blind shooting. Trial and error is a necessary process, but make decisions that are backed by data.
Use Salesforce to save time
We have an image of a sales rep as someone who is always on the phone negotiating deals. But as it turns out, for your average salesperson, almost two full business-days are spent on paperwork each week. One of the key benefits of CRM platforms like Salesforce is that almost any internal paperwork can be streamlined and reduced.
Sales reps need to be focusing on selling your product or service by scoring leads, lead nurturing, negotiating and building business relationships. Companies that adopt Salesforce CRM can provide space and means to do that. In fact, some businesses report that after successful Salesforce implementation they see an increase in productivity of up to 32%.
Other functionalities provided by CRM solutions can help boost productivity. Some of the most useful features of cloud platforms are real-time file syncing and easy access. The first one allows your team to have the most up-to-date accurate data at all times. And the second one simply lets you continuously work from anywhere in the world, as long as you have Internet connection.
With such features, employees can do offsite work just as effectively as if they were in the office. Not to mention that it decreases the possibility of human error and miscommunication.
Focus on customer experience
Optimizing the “customer experience” is creating real and quantifiable value for companies. The key is crafting customer experience strategies that are truly linked to the broader strategy of the business. One way is to assess the many points at which you interact with customers—online, mobile, social media and in print—and determine the right level message, delivery and experience to deliver. Software like 366 Degrees helps you do just that with the right processes, technology and strategies in place to focus your efforts.
Customer-facing communications are on the front line of how companies retain customers and build relationships. It is ironic that companies invest heavily in marketing campaigns and sales strategies designed to acquire a new customer, while at the same time often doing very little to extend the lifetime of that customer once they are enrolled.
We help companies do this by improving existing customer communication points that are often transactional or operational in nature — outbound correspondence associated with onboarding, enrollment, renewals, and statements.
These and other customer-facing communications are rarely considered key marketing assets, but they should be. One recent study by research firm InfoTrends found that transactional documents are opened and read by 90% of recipients. What other form of marketing communication can claim that kind of customer-open rate?
There Is Always a Catch, So Be Flexible
No matter how well you plan, there will always be some things that couldn’t be accounted for. Anyone who runs a business has come across this. One of the worst decisions that can be made is simply sticking to the original plan when things are changing rapidly. Another terrible decision would be to simply throw away the plan altogether and start from square one.
“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”,
– General Dwight David Eisenhower.
Today’s business environment may seem unpredictable and chaotic, but it’s only a surface view. The truth is – modern infrastructure is simply much greater than ever before and it produces an enormous amount of data that is very hard to structure properly and make sense of. Large corporations realize very quickly that Excel spreadsheets and manual analytics are not cut out for the digital age.
Modern BI software and predictive analytics tools, however, have sufficient computational power to go through terabytes of data and find hidden patterns among the noise. Once you’ve established your strategic goals and gained the full view of your operation, you can use existing data to develop forecasts for your business initiatives.
Predictive analytics can be an invaluable part of the Salesforce planning process, giving you estimates of customer behavior and market demand. Of course, it’s not a crystal ball which unravels the future, but such tools can be useful in preparing for the unexpected as well as seeing the possible effects of internal changes in advance. Based on predictive analytics you can make informed decisions while developing a business plan and while adjusting it to fit the current situation.
How to Start?
Modern CRM technology allows us to improve decision-making processes and accelerate business growth. At OMI we specialize in Salesforce implementation and customization services to best fit our clients’ business model. By getting your CRM solution optimized by us, you’ll have all the functionalities necessary to effectively prioritize sales reps’ time, get well-scored leads as well as cut resources on time-consuming paperwork. Contact us and start saving time while increasing sales.