When interacting with existing and potential customers, you need the right principles, practices and guidelines in place. This is why you need a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that is tailored to your business and caters for both sales and service-related interaction. In this context, it tackles the area of sales force automation.

The role that comprehensive CRM plays in your sales department cannot be underestimated, but it is important to distinguish between the ways CRM adds value to staff, management and the upper echelons. As you move up the ladder, roles tend to change from more tactical to more strategic, and that is why CRM, specifically sales force automation, should be a blanket application across the business.

Let us take a look at how the correct CRM system can empower your sales team on the floor.

Your salespeople are the revenue-generators. They work directly with the customer and are the face of your company. Logically, sales force automation would make their job easier and allow for more quality service by freeing up their time.

Your CRM in the form of sales force automation is there to facilitate salespeople and remove the repetitive paperwork on which they are wasting time. They should be able to respond to customer queries faster and with more information; they need to be able to access customer and production information for recording, tracking and updating purposes. They need access to testimonials, sales programmes and competitive data. CRM is a tool that makes their lives easier and once it becomes a help and not a hindrance, your salespeople will be more keen to keep it updated – which helps everyone else moving up the company structure. The less complicated the system, the more productive the sales force.

Account executives spend a good amount of time communicating with mid-management. Your sales force automation system should provide support in reporting daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly results; obtaining approval for discounts and quicker delivery; managing customers with bad credit ratings and so on. It is crucial that this communication with management is streamlined and accurate, as it can affect sales and sales management dramatically. Tracking commission and targets is also an important function of sales force automation. Not only does it need to be accurate as it concerns money; it also has a large effect on company morale.

Now we will look at how a comprehensive CRM system can improve the productivity of those people who manage them – in other words, mid-management.

Mid-management

These are the people who occupy the middle of the corporate ladder. Mid-management comprises those people who manage the sales force in some capacity, e.g. branch managers and regional managers. Their jobs include collating all the metrics from sales, market reports and pipeline reports; and producing customisable dashboards to summarise the state of affairs and obtain a comprehensive view of the sales force. They can then act on this accurate data and manage and allocate resources more efficiently.

Management has to keep an eye on daily, weekly and monthly goals as well as steer the ship along the chosen course – they execute policy that comes from the command centre (the top of the ladder) while managing the ground force to implement said policies and goals. Therefore, CRM and in particular sales force administration is crucial in helping them to successfully manage all their priorities.

Comprehensive dashboards will help management to identify sales opportunities, optimise areas of strengths as well as anticipate and identify potential challenges. The improved overall view of the sales force allows them to better facilitate cooperation between different departments and promote streamlined business processes across the board.

With the right CRM system in place, sales force automation allows management to implement best practice and create pipelines that best suit the business’ operational model. They can drive the sales strategy while carefully monitoring performance and output via the sales force automation system.

The right CRM system, specifically one with a customised and comprehensive sales force automation function, can simplify and streamline the job of middle management and allow them more clarity into the company’s business processes as well as keeping track of business performance.

finally we tale a look at how CRM and sales force automation can provide a holistic view of the company’s sales performance and help to drive the company’s sales strategy while not losing sight of the tactical aspect.

The Command Centre

The CEO and executive squad of leaders of a company are responsible for seeing the bigger picture while those lower on the ladder are more involved in the day-to-day execution of the sales strategy that supports this long-term, bigger-picture goal.

The company’s CRM system is there to provide them with immediate access to the metrics that track how the sales strategy is being enforced, or rather the reports compiled by mid-management regarding the execution of the sales strategy. The command centre (CEO, Sales Director, etc.) is responsible for analysing these reports and actions and subsequently determine how to move forward.

The CEO and executives in charge of sales need to think in terms of quarterly, yearly as well as long-term goals; therefore information and data of day-to-day operations they receive needs to be immediately and easily accessible. Just because their priority is to think in terms of strategy doesn’t mean they can lose sight of the tactical aspect of the sales strategy.[/vc_column_text]

Reports and reviews is the best way to do this and for accurate data you need an effective sales force automation system as part of your CRM. These reports can provide information on pipeline growth, product trends, forecast models and performance across the different divisions within the sales organisation. Predictive forecasting and implementation of best practices are made easier by the data that has been collected, collated and presented in an accurate manner via the correct CRM. This provides the numbers so that the command centre can run the tactical side of the sales strategy without taking their eyes off the long-term view: what the market trends are and where they should make long-term investments and implement long-term policies in the sales department.

The right CRM system, specifically one with a customised and comprehensive sales force automation function, allows the CEO and the senior team to keep an eye on the tactical efficiency of the sales force while providing the information that helps them to manage the company’s long-term sales strategy.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the perfect solution to your CRM needs. More than four million users worldwide use it as their preferred CRM solution. It offers Outlook integration, which means that all your emails, appointments, tasks and contacts are flawlessly and effortlessly synchronised. It is also fully customisable: you get automated notifications, custom fields on your forms and custom reporting, to name a few standouts. Finally, it is cloud-based so you can access Microsoft Dynamics CRM from anywhere, at any time.