The 12 Battle-Tested Rules You Need
To Turn Your CRM Into An ATM
Written by Mike Cooch

Your CRM should be the most vital productivity tool in your business, but first it must actually be used if you are going to get the value out of it!

That’s right! 

It’s astonishing to me, but most of you still aren’t using your CRM every single day to drive your sales pipeline forward.

It makes me crazy!

The only reason I can think of that would explain why you are not using your CRM is that you just don’t know how to set it up and use it properly to get the most value out of it.

When set up and used correctly, your CRM powers your business along, feeding you information and cues that keep your activity on track, grow your sales pipeline, and win you more deals!

So let me give you 12 battle-tested rules to help you use your CRM to effectively manage your sales pipeline and generate more revenue at your business.

This should be on the wall.

Every single thing that happens: calls, emails, sales, tasks, everything, belongs in your CRM. 

Time wasted chasing around for information that should be in the CRM but isn’t, is money that’s just being thrown away.

There’s another aspect to this, too: 

Suppose one day, you want to sell your business. 

Which business is worth more: 

One that’s run on a measurable, well-documented sales processes that the buyer can examine every stage of...

Or one that isn’t? 

If you want your business to look like an asset, as well as be one, your CRM is your friend – but only if you use it.

Don’t use your CRM as a way to consolidate the information you’ve written on pieces of paper, your phone, and a bunch of other places at the end of the day. 

"OK, I’m done working: time to put everything into the CRM." 

That converts a vital tool into a time-consuming chore. 

Your CRM should be the environment in which you work throughout your day. It should be open all the time.

You should be working directly in your CRM; adding notes, receiving reminders, and scheduling activity, throughout the day. 

If you don’t, you're going to forget most of what happened by the end of the day and fail to capture all of the important conversations, next steps and details that you should leverage fully during your sales process.

Not every useful contact, every single contact. 

Everyone who might potentially be able to help you make a sale...and that’s a lot more people than you realize. 

Your friends and family should be in here, for instance. 

OK, probably not your brother’s kids, but everyone who might know someone who wants what you do.

By the way, how many of your friends can say what you do? 

Every friend who’s unsure about what you do is a friend who can’t advocate for you; a friend who can’t say to their friends, partners, clients, or boss, ‘I know someone who can help you with that.’ 

When that conversation happens a prospect comes to you primed with social proof and trust, speaking to a friend of a friend: ready to like you, trust you and work with you. 

So tell your friends what you do, get them to repeat it back to you until you’re sure they get it, and then put them in your CRM already!

They should be sharing space in there with every prospect, every vendor, every person of influence – everybody.

Build stages for each step of the sales process into your CRM so that you can track and measure each step of the progression of an opportunity. 

By doing so, you'll get a good look into where your sales process isn't working or takes too long, so you'll have clear visibility on what you need to work on to improve it.

If you have salespeople working for you, this is an absolute MUST!

It will give you the ability to evaluate the performance of each salesperson at various stages in the sales cycle to see where they need work.

Once stages are marked out, set goals for them. 

Don’t hope for the outcome you’d like to get in an ideal world: plan for the one you want. 

Set specific, measurable goals for each stage and compare intention to performance so you know what’s happening. and what you need to do next.

Far too many of us measure only revenue. 

Maybe that’s because revenue is more fun than activity? 

But we need to measure both. 

Activity drives revenue. 

if you see a salesperson’s pipeline drying up, or if your pipeline is drying up, it’s easy to simply look up your activity numbers and immediately know why that’s happening. 

Nine times out of ten the answer will be right there – but only if you measure activity!

A picture is worth a thousand words. 

A visual CRM gives you immediately comprehensible information that you can digest at a glance. 

A CRM is there to reduce the amount of clerical work you do and give you insights to help you grow your revenue, not to give you a chance to go back to high school math to graph out your figures so you can figure out what’s going on. 

If your CRM doesn't give you a very clear, visual dashboard of your key sales performance metrics...get a new CRM.

Don’t wait a second: always set up the next call, the next email, whatever it is, right now

If you don’t that prospect is no longer in a queue, on a list, or set up to be brought to your attention. 

Instead they become a blip in your CRM, and you’ll potentially never hear about them again. Then they’ll never hear from you again! 

If you’re making a call, as soon as you put the phone down, schedule that prospect’s next call, put in your notes from the call you just had a and move on. 

Always make sure every prospect is moving along the pipeline by scheduling the next step immediately.

Get into the habit of controlling your day…in advance. 

Don’t get up and then start figuring out what you’re meant to do that day. 

Get up and know, because you planned it out yesterday.

That way, you know what you need to be doing at 8AM, at 9AM, at 12:00, in order to be on track to be where you need to be by the end of the day. 

This is the basis of effective time management.

Work backwards from where you need to be, in advance, so as soon as the day starts, you’re on top of it. 

Otherwise it will be on top of you before you know it.

Take advantage of integrations that actually reduce the amount of low-value work you have to do. 

At a minimum, your CRM should be able to integrate with:

  • Your calendar
  • Your contacts
  • Your email

And if you dig a bit, you'll find it can probably integrate with your project management system, your autoresponder, your documents, and your appointment scheduling app.

If it reduces the amount of cutting and pasting, re-typing, or other manual effort - do it!

Good reports will give you insights that will drive improvements in your sales performance.

As an example, let’s say you have a five-step sales funnel.

Create a report that let you know when a prospect has been stuck at the same step for too long, so you can turn your attention to that prospect and keep them moving down the pipeline. 

Now you'll no longer accidentally let a deal slip and lose momentum just because you're too busy and forgot to follow up.

Set up a system that flags up such ‘stallers,’ so that all you have to do is respond to the report and get in touch with that prospect to move them to the next step.

Every day, review your CRM reports to see if your sales pipeline is on track to produce the numbers you are looking for no.

The time to act is NOW, not 15 days after the month has ended and you realize you missed your number! 

Without being monitored and nudged back on track, activity will tend to fall, quickly followed by revenue. 

Monitor activity daily to make sure that your sales staff are hitting their activity numbers. 

And if you don’t have sales staff, if it’s just you, you need to apply the same approach to yourself. 

Monitor activity carefully and you can prevent drifting and ensure you keep driving revenue. 

Follow these best practices strictly and insist that your staff adhere to them too,and you’ll find your CRM making your working day easier and your business more profitable, valuable and predictable.

All the best,

Mike Cooch

Mike Cooch

Mike generates 6-7 big ideas before breakfast (conservative estimate). CEO & founder is a “serial entrepreneur” with Texas-sized passion for sales & marketing, business development, and technology. He is an expert in local and digital marketing. His businesses have been named to the INC Magazine List of Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row, and were also nominated as a Best Place to Work in their respective cities. He is married with three children, and is learning to surf in his new hometown of San Diego (lifestyle design, baby!).

© 2016 Local Sales Lab. All Rights Reserved