A sales bottleneck is an issue, or a combination of issues, making your sales funnel decelerate or grind to a halt. Causes can include incorrectly prioritising your prospects, neglecting leads, or approval delays across your departments. Left unresolved, sales bottlenecks can result in downturns in your service level, internal stress, dissatisfied customers and, ultimately, revenue loss.
The good news is that there are plenty of actions your sales reps and customer success managers can take to spot, alleviate and avoid these blockages. Sara Tatam, Senior Sales Executive at Provident CRM, and Tim Gale, Regional Sales Director UK, ME & Benelux at SugarCRM, share their checklist pointers below.
✓ Create a CRM lead scoring system
Poor quality leads are a primary cause of sales pipeline stagnation. Rather than opening the floodgates to all leads, the right CRM can help you ensure your sales reps only act on them if and when they reach a threshold relevance score. Determining factors can include:
This segments out the most promising prospects from the rest, ensuring your reps spend their time on the opportunities most likely to result in conversions. Take SugarCRM’s SugarPredict, for example. Its proven AI technology leverages your organisation’s historical CRM data and fresh prospect data, pinpointing your ideal, highest-potential customer profiles.
Data-driving your decision-making around which leads to prioritise supports your reps to perform at their best, ensuring they can follow up as soon as possible. In addition, these insights can guide your marketeers to craft targeted conversion campaigns.
✓ Allocate leads for follow-up accountability
Based on the insights gained through your lead scoring, your CRM can guide lead allocation to make sure the right sales reps are speaking to the right prospects. Calls can drop into reps’ calendars in line with response timeframes that meet your internal KPIs; SLAs can kick in; reps can receive reminders to follow up with prospects within a set time period.
If your reps do find themselves missing targets, it’s vital to find out why as soon as possible. With SugarCRM’s Escalations module, delayed lead follow-ups are put on management’s radar, so any gaps can be swiftly addressed.
✓ Review your sales funnel for potential streamlining
Are your sales touchpoints as effective as possible, tailored to each prospect’s queries, needs and interests? “Our discovery session enables us to learn each of our client’s sales processes inside out. We help them take a step back, mapping what prospects and customers expect from them at each stage and ensuring their sales process aligns,” explains Sara.
From that in-depth understanding, the Provident CRM team implements systems tailored to each client’s business process and goals, complete with the tasks, reminders, hand-offs and so on needed to fulfil them.
✓ Integrations and automations: Let your CRM do the work!
Goodbye busy work, hello smart work. Utilising all the CRM capabilities you have available is instrumental to minimising your lead response times and elevating your conversion chances.
Integrating your CRM with existing business systems takes generating quotations, contracts and invoices off your team’s hands. That way, they can focus on value-adding actions to tailor their customer responses, rather than manual, repetitive tasks that your CRM can easily automate.
Implementing custom notifications will also nudge your sales reps to take action when quality leads haven’t progressed as expected, stopping potential customers from falling through the cracks. This notification chain can extend across your departments, ensuring timely, informed responses across all your customers’ interactions with you.
✓ Leverage your CRM to follow up, cross-sell and up-sell
With the right CRM system in place, you’ll be able to slice and dice customer insights to identify exactly what, when and how to cross-sell and up-sell.
If your business runs on subscription models, having your CRM notify you when customers are reaching their limit prompts well-timed renewal offers. That might involve a phone call from their account manager, or funnelling them onto a dynamic target list for a campaign informing them they’re nearing their maximum, then suggesting cost-effective extension options.
Or perhaps you’re in the software or hardware game? Mapping purchases per quarter will enable you to suggest typical add-ons for your customers’ existing products. SugarCRM’s AI trend analysis facilitates this, highlighting customers likely to make further purchases from you based on historical data. You might then auto-add them to nurture campaigns, or implement prompts for your sales reps to engage in conversations around those next-step products.
✓ Onboard new sales reps seamlessly
Whether your sales reps are just a few months into the job or they’ve been with your company for years, your customers will expect the same expert, informed service level from them. This consistency is key to safeguarding your positive brand perception and customer loyalty.
Leveraging data gathered on each of your lead’s interests, SugarCRM’s Guided Selling supports new and veteran sales reps alike to tailor their approach, optimising lead qualification and conversion. In Tim’s experience, “a bespoke approach delivers confidence. People buy from people, so when leads feel you really want to understand who they are as a business, that you’re looking at a long-term partnership rather than a one-off sale, they’ll lean towards you.”
✓ Ensure customers understand the full value of your offer
Failure to convert often comes down to leads not grasping the bigger-picture benefits that your product, service or solution can bring them.
This should stay a priority throughout a customer’s lifetime with you, as you guide them to extract maximum value from their purchase. “Overdeliver to delight, nurturing those relationships to ensure your offering is truly worth your customers’ while,” advises Sara.
✓ Request regular customer feedback
Staying mindful that your customers naturally have limited time and willingness to provide feedback, ask for it strategically:
✓ Empower your sales reps
Your sales reps are the welcoming face of your company, so handing them agency and ownership to optimise sales processes is vital. Provide opportunities for your sales reps to self-evaluate and make recommendations for evolving your approach.
It’s also key to verify that your CRM is empowering your sales reps through ease of use. As Tim puts it: “Maximum adoption needs minimal clicks. This encourages your sales reps to gather more data, giving you an enhanced understanding of your customers and of your business, from a sales perspective. The right CRM for your business isn’t a data-entry system; it’s an empowerment system.”
“Provident is one of the longest-serving partners of Sugar globally. They know all the product’s ins and outs, leveraging knowledge from the myriad successful deployments behind them. From an implementation technology design process, Provident is one of the best out there.”
– Tim Gale, Regional Sales Director UK, ME & Benelux at SugarCRM
Utilising concrete functionalities to facilitate ideal-scenario outcomes is key to Provident CRM’s long-standing collaboration with SugarCRM. To find out more about how we can guide you towards sales success with tailored CRM implementation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.