There’s not a single sales organization that doesn’t want to improve sales. Even if you’re consistently hitting quotas and have a healthy monthly revenue, you can always do more with more sales.

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If improving sales is your goal, your first inclination might be to find more people who are willing to buy your product. It’s a logical first step, as more customers equals more money. But simply getting more leads isn’t always ideal, as this also means spending more money and even needing more salespeople to handle the volume.

Before you start trying to generate more leads, you first need to figure out if you’re maximising your existing sales process.

This means finding leaks in the funnel and figuring out ways to plug them. It’s seeing how leads are handled and whether you’re doing everything you can to move them through the funnel.

Try these three hacks for maximising your sales process and how they can improve sales organically:

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1. Focus on Lead Management

There’s a lot that happens from the time you get a lead until the time you close a deal (or they exit your funnel). If you’re not aware of how leads are ending up in your sales funnel and how they’re being handled, you could be missing out on important opportunities.

Tools like lead qualification, lead scoring, and lead distribution can help you better manage leads to give each one the best chance of making it through your funnel.

Lead qualification looks at a variety of factors, including lead source and activities taken by the lead, to determine whether or not the lead makes it to a sales rep. This allows sales teams to best maximise their own time by talking only to leads that have a good chance of closing.

Lead scoring ranks qualified leads based on their level of readiness to buy. The hotter the lead, the higher the score. This gives sales team a chance to prioritize hot leads before they have a chance to cool and close in on “easy” sales that will add to your revenue.

Lead distribution uses a system that ensures leads go to the appropriate salesperson. For example, you might have three people in your sales organisation, with each one suited to sell a different product. Leads interested in Product A will go to Sales Rep A, and so on. This allows each sales rep to leverage their best talents and expertise to give leads a better sales experience.

Your leads are the end of marketing and the beginning of your sales process. If you’re not focusing on this initial transition (i.e. the way you manage leads as they arrive), the rest of your sales process is ultimately set up to fail.

2. Automate Sales Activities

 Sales reps spend less than 36% of their time selling, but why?

Admin tasks and time spent in sales technology like CRM account for most of this downtime. Emailing accounts for a major chunk of the day, along with dead-end activities like Facebook or catching up with co-workers.

But let’s skip that last one for a moment: the fact remains that most salespeople are not spending the majority of their time on revenue-generating activities, and that’s a problem.

Automating sales tasks can help to reduce this gap, giving salespeople more time to focus on what they do best. Things like sending follow up emails, scheduling appointments, and tracking lead activities can eliminate much of the manual process that’s bogging down sales departments.

3. Take Your CRM Mobile

Speaking of gaps in the amount of time spent selling, adding the mobile element can cut down on lag times between sales and leads. When leads make their move, sales team members can respond immediately, regardless of where they are.

At the very least, they can know at a glance where their leads are the funnel, what sales tasks they have assigned, and any recent updates to their lead’s status so they can better utilize their time.

And, as an added benefit for sales leaders, you can use mobile CRM to monitor your field sales team’s activities. Mobile connections give you a streamlined way to communicate with a scattered team, no matter where they are. They can get up-to-the-minute assignments and motivation with no loss of productivity or functionality, giving them more time to sell and less time trying to figure out their next move.

The Fastest Way to Improve Sales with LeadSquared

Are you ready to tighten your sales process? LeadSquared teaches you how to improve sales without sacrifice!

Our suite of lead management and sales tools is designed to help you do more with your time and make every minute impactful. Sales organisations that use our intuitive features are able to fill the gaps in their sales process, streamline activities, and cut out much of the guesswork and manual labor that’s stifling your sales performance.

Try LeadSquared free for 15 days and see first-hand how we can help you make an obvious improvement in your sales results.

Sales is equal parts art and science. The art portion requires you to bring emotion and people skills into every interaction, while the science aspect requires you to leverage logic and processes to move your prospects through the funnel.

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Having the right balance, of course, results in leads that turn into opportunities that turn into deals. Granted, you can’t win them all, but when you emphasize too much art or too much science, you may miss leads that eventually would have turned into closed deals.

Using the right sales effectiveness metrics can help you monitor this progress and see where your greatest challenges are so that, in turn, you can bring the right blend of art and science to your interactions.

Here are six of the most important sales effectiveness metrics you should be monitoring:

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1. Percent of Sales Team Hitting Quota

Harvard Business Review notes that an average of 60% of sales people hit 100% of their quota last year, though this can vary by sales organization. Regardless of what your sales team’s percentage is, there are a few things you can tell from it:

First, if 90% or more of your team is hitting quota, then you may be losing money. In this case, the quota is apparently easy to hit. Some of your reps may have barely cleared the bar, while others may have hit it quickly. For those that did manage to make quota with no issue, they could have lessened their workload to take it easy until the next round begins, which means they’re not working as hard to close deals. That’s a problem.

However, if only a small percentage of your team is hitting the quota, it could be damaging to morale. They feel the objectives are impossible to reach, no matter how hard they try. In this case, they may give up on deals too easily or give up on the organisation altogether, leaving you with an empty seat to fill.

It’s essential to monitor your sales team’s performance as a whole to ensure that quotas remain at a competitive yet fair level that boosts morale but also encourages employees to do their best throughout the sales period.

2. Win/Lose Ratio

No matter how great of a product you have or how effective your sales team is, they’re not going to close every deal in the pipeline. But if they’re winning bigger and losing smaller over time, they’re on the right track.

Knowing your win/lose ratio can help you determine where improvements are being made over time, or if you’re moving in the wrong direction. As a team member’s experience grows, so should their win ratio (ideally). But if lose rates start to increase, it could indicate encroaching competition, ineffective team members, or a host of other issues that should be addressed.

3. Deals by Lead Source

 Leads come from a variety of sources. Some of them turn into deals, while others drop out of your pipeline. In either case, it’s important for both sales and marketing to know which lead sources are turning out the most deals.

Lead sources with a proven history of excellence can help you improve sales forecasting, marketing budget allocation, and even streamline your sales process.

4. Percentage of Qualified Leads

Not all leads you receive are qualified, and it’s essential for marketing and sales teams alike to know the difference. Sales teams that receive qualified leads are better positioned to sell to them, but if only a small percentage of leads are qualified, sales teams will struggle to close deals.

5. Revenue from Existing Customers vs New Business

If you play your cards right, you won’t have to spend all your time chasing new business. Not only is it 5-7 times more expensive to market to a new customer, but it’s also more time-draining trying to start the wheel over each time.

Sales teams should pay attention to how much of their revenue is coming from existing customers vs. new business. If most of your revenue is coming from new customers, you might need to examine your retention practices to see why customers are leaving and how you can fill the gaps.

6. Your Most Important Customers

The Pareto Principle says that roughly 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your customers. The actual split might be more like 70/30 or 85/15, depending on your company, but the fact remains that a select few will contribute more to your bottom line than most others.

It’s essential to identify who those select few are, what makes them tick, how much they’re spending, and what they’re spending money on so you can double down on your sales and marketing efforts, or at the very least, find a duplicate audience so you pump up your sales volume.

How LeadSquared Can Help You Leverage Sales Effectiveness Metrics

Every sales organisation has hundreds of metrics they could measure, but which ones are really showing you the effectiveness of your team players? And better yet, how can you easily capture the data that will give you the metrics you really care about?

LeadSquared is designed to monitor all of the above metrics (and more!) and turn them into usable insights for your company. Our comprehensive suite of features for lead gen and sales teams make it easy to track the entire sales journey from the moment it starts.

Try LeadSquared free for 15 days — no credit card required — and start putting your sales effectiveness metrics to work for you!

Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, is a common buzzword in modern sales organizations. Nowadays, it’s more common for companies to have a CRM than not have one. But exactly what is a CRM system and why are they becoming the staple software tool in sales departments?

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This guide covers everything you ever wanted to know about the almighty CRM and the value it brings to client interactions.

What is a CRM System?

Before we jump straight into the CRM functionality, let’s clear up the misconceptions about the CRM system’s role in the company.

CRM was designed to be a central client relationship management tool. Most CRM systems are based in the cloud, giving users a single access point to obtain data. The software contains your entire client database (companies, names, contact information, etc.), as well as your interactions with each one.

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When a user looks up a client in your CRM system, they can see important data like the contact person, their industry, the last time you spoke with them, their services with your company, and their value to your company.

Companies that use CRM rely on it to run their entire business. When used correctly, CRM acts as a growth multiplier that guides sales team members in managing leads and closing deals. It helps you keep tabs on relationships with clients so you can grow your connections and maintain your role in their lives.

And arguably most importantly, CRM can give you direct insight into revenue forecasting, lead generation, sales automation, marketing, analysis, and reporting, which empower businesses to make informed decisions and avoid potential shake-ups if sales start to drop.

The Benefits of CRM in Sales Departments

Though CRM systems provide support for marketing and customer service, they’re most often used in sales departments. Take a look at some of the biggest benefits that are leading to an increase in CRM adoption:

1. CRM Acts as a Fail-Proof Memory

Whether your sales reps speak with five clients a day or 25 clients a day, there’s simply no way they can remember all the fine details of their interactions. What’s more, a client may speak with one sales rep on Monday and a different one on Tuesday and neither sales rep will know what the other talked about.

CRM eliminates these issues by acting as your company’s memory, regardless of who’s working with your clients. All interactions and activities are logged in the CRM so there’s no guesswork regarding communications. This is especially helpful when you have clients that you only speak with once a year.

As a result, sales reps are able to increase their customer service and personalize their interactions rather than deliver generic experiences. 

2. Increase Cross-Selling and Upselling

CRM systems also offer direct insight into your clients’ needs and wants. Sales teams can use this collection of data to recommend additional products and services to increase revenue. It also enables you to anticipate their future needs so that you can be prepared to offer a solution when the time comes.

3. Promotes Team Collaboration

Cloud-based CRM systems allow teams to work from the same set of data. Everyone has access to the same information and processes, which means that everyone is following the same protocols and practices to build consistency in your organization. When all team members are integrated with the CRM, the benefits become multiplied.

4. CRM Saves Money

There’s not a single sales organization that can deny that time is money. The more time you spend on a task, the more expensive it is because other important work isn’t being completed.

CRM has been a major money-saver to sales organizations because of its commitment to save its users time. Established processes make it easy for reps (even new ones!) to know exactly what to do next so they don’t waste time guessing, inputting the wrong information, or focusing on bad leads. Automation features remove many of the manual tasks associated with sales, such as sending emails or tracking deals.

This way, sales members can spend more time on what they do best — selling!

5. Complete Sales Cycle Management

From collecting and categorizing leads to closing deals, salespeople can use CRM systems for every phase of the sales cycle. Custom workflows lead you and your buyers through the sales funnel so that no details fall through the cracks.

What to Look For in a CRM System

If you’ve explored different CRM systems, you’ll know immediately that they’re not all the same. Their intentions are largely similar, but everything from interfaces to workflows to overall functionality will vary. This makes it hard to know exactly what to look for in a solution, especially if you don’t have the benefit of trying it for yourself first.

Before you commit to a CRM system, it’s essential to get your goals and objectives in line first. Get more specific on what you expect from a CRM system, what features are non-negotiable, how your existing sales systems are set up, and how long it will take you to integrate a new CRM into your organization.

There is no single best solution (which is likely why there are so many to choose from!), but there are some that are better than others. If your goal is to save money, look for a CRM system rich in automation. If you want flexibility, look for a solution that offers complete customization. Take your time before you pull the trigger, because settling for one that doesn’t meet your needs will be more expense and headache than it’s worth.

Try LeadSquared’s CRM System for Free!

Maybe you’re not yet using CRM but are intrigued by its intended benefits. Or perhaps your organization already uses CRM, but you feel like it’s left behind some gaps. Whatever your needs, LeadSquared’s CRM system is a force to be reckoned with!

Our comprehensive CRM suite empowers sales and marketing teams to build stronger connections with your clients, better manage your leads, and increase sales without the bulky processes and complexities of other systems.

Try us free for 15 days and discover a better, faster, simpler way to grow your bottom line!

enrollment management best practices

Institutions are facing a heavy decline in enrollments, and it has nothing to do with a lack of potential applicants. The reason is far more complex and multi-dimensional than you’d think – these colleges or universities need to work on better enrollment management strategies and follow through with leads to keep potential applicants engaged. Implementing the best enrollment management practices is the key to engaging with qualified applicants. Here are some of the best strategies.

Coaching Admission Representatives

Your admissions representatives work to represent your institute’s values while interacting with prospective enrollments. You need to train them on how they can provide potential enrollments with relevant information and answer their questions.

Most importantly, they have to be trained on how to quickly and effectively communicate the admissions process to students who may be new to the idea of it. Admissions reps make calls as well, so it’s crucial that you coach them on speaking with teenagers.

  • Train your reps to give lively training sessions on admissions
  • Train them for live calls with mock calls before letting them go live

Sourcing Your Leads

Delegate crucial tasks to other members of your admissions department, for instance, lead sourcing. This allows you to find qualified leads for programs at a much faster rate. All institutes have a different idea for what constitutes a qualified lead, so make sure that you define them to agencies according to your admissions plan.

Provide them detailed information so they know which indicators to track if they want to source qualified leads.

Qualifying Leads

Engaging with unqualified leads can render the enrollment management process unproductive and wastes precious time. Make sure that your admissions process is only forwarding qualified leads to your representatives.

They can determine whether a lead is qualified or not by sending a simple email campaign first or taking a survey. This can prevent them from wasting energy and time on countless unqualified leads.

Clean Up Duplicated Leads

If you aren’t regularly filtering your leads, there’s a chance that they’ve fallen victim to duplication. How? Imagine this: a prospect applicant may fill in an inquiry form on your website and may fill the same form again when it’s provided via an ad campaign or third-party vendor.

You may end up with a duplicated lead entry. Your admissions representatives may be putting in extra effort to convert two promising leads that are actually the same person. If that isn’t disappointing, we don’t know what is.

Make sure that such entries are cleaned out on a regular basis to prevent mismanagement when making calls.

Reporting on the Enrollment Inquiries

You need to employ a proper system that pushes reports and updates on qualified leads. This helps the admissions department track conversions. With an operational reporting strategy, your team can track down any leads that are stuck in the funnel by engaging with them. This includes sending an email on relevant dates, such as the day they are set to get their SAT results.

Investing in a Lead Management Software

Without a systematic approach to organizing your qualified leads and tracking them until conversion, the process of engaging with them can slow down, which affects enrollments. In this situation, admissions departments need to rely on proper lead management software like LeadSquared. You can check out our blog to know what is an education CRM and why the educational organizational need it.

This enhances productivity because admissions officers can work on increasing engagement with potential enrollments instead of focusing on routine tasks. LeadSquared allows your admissions department to track leads with a visual dashboard. Moreover, it prioritizes tasks so their work for the day is already planned out when they start the day. LeadSquared (15-day free trial) helps you perform enrollment and marketing tasks all in one platform like deduplication, email campaigns, workflows, inquiry distribution, etc.

Video Emails

Email campaigns are part of any institute’s enrollment-increasing strategy but very few manage to make it engaging enough. Sending emails to qualified leads with captivating video content is the way to go if you’re aiming for conversions. This boosts your visibility among leads, which increases the probability of your institute being a lead’s first choice.

Implement Social Media Retargeting

Social media retargeting works by tracking down users who showed interest in your institute’s website or social media accounts but may have gone cold before making a decision. With this approach, you retarget the user with specific and relevant content. One of the best marketing ideas to increase college enrollment.

For instance, prospect applicants who disappear while looking up scholarship opportunities on your institute’s website can be retargeted with content specific ads about financial assistance and scholarships.

Automation

Connecting individual aspects of the enrollment process in the timeline, such as emails, workflows, and retargeting helps increase productivity. You can set up automated workflows to create your custom inquiry distribution and lead prioritization. As a result, your admissions officers get more done in lesser time.

In addition, automating email campaigns removes the need for admissions officers to send emails individually. You can launch targeted email campaigns and automated them depending on your enrollment process.

List Segmentation

Aside from informational, engaging emails, you should be sending dedicated emails and scheduling calls. Then, segment them based on the user’s responses to emails or their activity on the website. It creates a timeline that explains how a user’s interest in enrolling increases over time.  You can even assign dedicated admission representatives depending on the type of student inquiries or lead stage.

Awesome Content Strategy

Don’t just spam potential leads with emails about the admissions procedure and selling points of your college or university – deliver engaging content that they’ll want to read anyway. Whether you give them tips on writing the best college essay or how to prepare for their college interview, all this content will be relevant to the prospect’s enrollment.

Publish infographics on your social media pages and work on a charismatic online reputation that resonates with teenagers.

Institutes need to put these management practices into effect if they intend to increase their enrollment numbers. It looks like a lot to change before the next admission season but starting somewhere is a significant step in the right direction.

No matter what sales software you’re using, you likely have the ability to create custom sales performance dashboards for managers and team members. These dashboards are valuable tools that give you a bird’s eye view of your most important key performance indicators (KPIs). This way, you can see at a glance your entire sales machine as it stands at any given moment so you know how close you are to hitting goals.

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Sales dashboards are used by leaders and salespeople alike, and are usually tailored by role. That is, the manager’s dashboard will give insights into the organization as a whole while the salesperson’s dashboard will focus on their own performance.

But regardless of role, there are certain KPIs that should be mainstays on every sales dashboard. Given that clutter creates chaos, you don’t want to overcrowd your dashboard with metrics that won’t bring you closer to your goals or won’t add value to your daily tasks.

Here’s everything your sales performance dashboard really needs to tell you:

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1. Revenue Analysis

Money is the driving factor behind any sales organization. It’s essential for sales team members and company leaders alike to know how much revenue is being generated on a daily, weekly, monthly, and year-to-date basis so that business decisions can be made appropriately.

Sales reps can keep tabs on their personal revenue so they can see when they’re hitting goals and how long it takes to reach them. For leaders, they can easily identify their top sales performers based on revenue. They can then determine appropriate actions, such as providing more training or coaching sessions that will motivate underperformers to reach their targets.

2. Sales Performance Snapshot

Revenue only paints part of the sales picture. It’s essential that sales team members know exactly what’s responsible for the revenue they generated, such as the products or services they sold, how many meetings or phone calls they made in a given period, and how many clients they converted.

Ideally, you can break down your revenue analysis into these insights. Knowing what specifically is adding the most to your bottom line can help leaders and sales teams alike know where their best chances are at making sales goals.

3. Visual Leads Funnel

Sales funnels are comprised of several stages, from cold leads in the awareness stage to hot leads that are ready to make a decision. As clients move through these funnel stages, the outlook for your company’s bottom line changes. Those who move further down the funnel increase the likelihood of generating revenue, while those that exit the funnel remove revenue opportunities.

Your sales dashboard should include a visual representation of your sales funnel that updates itself automatically. You’ll know at a glance where your leads are at any given time, as well as the projected revenue they’ll bring.

[Also read: Sales Pipeline Dashboard: How to do it right?]

4. Tasks to Be Completed

One of the biggest benefits of using software like CRM or sales tracking is that tasks have less chance of falling through the cracks. It’s helpful to see at a glance what tasks need to be performed in a given day so that salespeople can stay on top of their workload without the guesswork.

Add a hotlist to your sales performance dashboard so that every salesperson knows what they need to do each day. They can check off tasks as they go, such as making follow up calls or attending meetings, or reschedule tasks that don’t get completed so they don’t fall off the radar. 

5. Leads Not Contacted

If you’re using a lead scoring or lead qualification system, it’s easy to forget about leads that don’t rank as high on your priority list. But all leads should be followed up with because every lead holds some potential of turning into revenue.

Knowing which leads have not be contacted yet can be beneficial for both sales leaders and sales team members. For managers, you can generate a report of leads that haven’t been touched to see if your salespeople are cutting corners. And for salespeople, grabbing leads from this list gives you a way to keep your sales funnel full and have more opportunities to sell!

Get Sales Performance Insights with LeadSquared!

Are you missing any of these key ingredients from your sales performance dashboard? LeadSquared can help you fix it! Try LeadSquared free for 15 days to see how you can put the power of metrics to work in your sales flow and start transforming your numbers every day!

Freemium software is a having a moment. Many companies offer completely free software solutions like online contact management software and CRM o help you save money and satisfy a need.

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But do the savings justify the means?

Freemium software can be an excellent choice in many cases, but there’s another side to the story that’s worth exploring. In many cases, paying for something that you can get for free makes more sense because of the value it brings to your organization.

Here’s a closer look at both sides of the coin so you make an informed decision for your company:

Freemium Software Has an Obvious Advantage

The biggest attraction with free online software is the “free” factor. In some cases, companies will offer a free version of their paid software, giving you access to its most basic features. All you have to do in return is put up with ads and limited functionality.

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Other companies will offer a completely free version, no strings attached — at least, not yet. Companies do this  to grow a loyal user base before rolling out pay-for products. This helps them to reduce marketing costs and hiring a sales team, since most people won’t hesitate to use a free software product that fills a need.

It’s a model that’s worked well for many companies, including MailChimp, Zapier, and Dropbox. But as you might have noticed, each of these companies now offer additional services that you can pay for. They know that once you try them out and start using them in your business, you’ll be less inclined to switch to something else.

Why Pay for Something You Could Get for Free?

Some businesses can get away with using the free version of a software product like MailChimp or Dropbox and never need to upgrade. They have limited needs, and a product may fill those needs well enough that paying for more just doesn’t make financial sense.

But for the rest of us, a growing business also means growing requirements.

Businesses that skip the freemium product and head for a paid version do so because of the following:

It’s Faster

There are tons of free business software products on the market, and finding the one you need can be time-draining. You might have to do quite a bit of research before you find the one that best aligns with your goals, and even then you may still have to make compromises.

It’s More Convenient

Nothing is technically free. In exchange for a freemium product, you will likely have to jump through hoops like signing up for an email list, suffer from constant pop-up ads, or watch commercials.

Paying for a product removes these and other distractions so you can get straight to the good stuff. Everything is available to you when you need it so you can carry on with business.

It’s Higher Quality

Most people operate under the belief that you get what you pay for, and that’s often the case with software. When you pay good money for something, you expect the value of the product to at least be worth the cost.

There are a LOT of free software products that are as high in quality as ones you pay for. And then there are LOT of other free software products that are just about worthless. While you may find a real gem, you’ll likely have to sort through lots of junk products to find it.

It’s Complete

Many free software products are one-trick ponies. They’re designed to do a specific task, and if you want more you’ll have to pay for it. Many companies know that having a complete product is actually more cost-effective than piecing together a bunch of free ones. You get a seamless integration and experience without having to compromise.

Bottom Line: Free Software Carries a Hefty Cost

Whether you’re looking for an online contact management software or a CRM, free software can come at a major cost. You’re sacrificing time and effort, not to mention productivity because of an incomplete system.

LeadSquared gives you the best of both worlds by offering comprehensive sales and marketing software that can qualify, score, and track leads, manage contacts, automate your marketing, and more — all included in a free 15-day trial so you can see if it’s a good fit for your business.

Start your free trial today – no credit card required! – and find an effective solution that works for you!