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So, You Bought a CRM System. Now What? (Part I)

Article by Taylor Chamberland and image by Steven Acres

You knew you needed to get your sales and marketing teams organized, so you set out to find a tool to help manage current and future customers. You did your research, sat for demos, combed through dozens of options and finally decided which customer relationship management (CRM) system will work best for your organization. The hard work is over, right? Not quite.

While purchasing a CRM system can be a lengthy process, it’s only the first step in making sure your team is equipped to generate, organize, and close more deals. The best marketing campaigns are those that are integrated with an effective and efficient sales process. This allows leads to move smoothly through the sales funnel and gives you full visibility into marketing campaign success. In this two-part series, we will review the key steps to ensure you maximize the effectiveness of your new investment across sales and marketing.

Step 1 - Understand Your Organization’s Needs

Each sales organization operates uniquely, with different personnel and needs. The first step in creating a sales process that works is to talk to your sales team. Any process is only as good as the people executing it. Focusing on sales tasks that add value to the sales team, not just management reporting, will ensure your sales team adopts your new technology and you gain valuable insights into the sales pipeline. At its core, organizing your sales needs and enabling your system to support your sales team's success is fundamental.

Step 2 - Establish Your Goals

Once you understand what will and won’t work for your sales team, think about the goals of the department and the KPIs you want to clearly measure throughout the sales and customer lifecycle. Are you interested in tracking lead sources? Do you want to be able to tell how long a lead spends in each of your sales phases? Do you want to know how many touches it takes to convert a lead to an opportunity (or an opportunity to a sale)? Spend some time thinking about which metrics are critical and which are nice to have, and make sure that the process you create is both smooth for the salespeople and allows you to get the numbers you need.

Step 3 - Outline the Current Process

Once you have a list of key metrics, it’s time to lay out your existing sales process. There are many different ways to do this, but for most, starting with a simple process map will help visualize the current sales process and what changes need to be made in order to generate the desired KPIs. If you don’t happen to be a Six Sigma expert, fear not. There are many free tools available online. We like Lucid Chart for beginners looking to lay out a relatively simple sales process. If you are a Microsoft user, Microsoft Vizio is another powerful data visualization tool that can be used to map processes.

Next, look for the gaps in the existing process, especially as it relates to your ability to track the KPIs you laid out in step two. Are there clearly defined process phases? Is every lead having consistent interactions with the sales team? Does your team understand what is expected in terms of lead follow up (for example, number of calls or cadence of communication)? Really take some time in this phase to see what’s working and what’s not and compare that to the needs of your sales team. Is this current process working for them, and if not, why?

Step 4 - Build the New Process

Now you’re ready to outline your new and improved sales process. Start making adjustments to the inefficiencies you uncovered in your initial mapping exercise. Revisit the KPIs and ensure this process allows you to have visibility into each of those key metrics. Meet again with sales and marketing teams to get their feedback on how changes will impact day-to-day operations.

Now is also the time to get comfortable with your chosen CRM platform and complete its set up. If you don’t plan on making customizations to the platform, you’ll want to understand what built-in lead and opportunity stages are included, what kind of communications you can track within the platform, and what reporting is available. Some CRM platforms are very simple and intuitive (Hubspot and Zoho) and others require deep technical expertise (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamic, and others) to set up. Depending on the size of your organization and your needs, you may feel competent completing the set up on your own or you may outsource the work to a technical implementation team. Whichever you choose, this is a critical step to get right — no matter how good your sales plan is, if the technology and processes don’t help the sales team sell more, they won’t use it and marketing teams won’t be able to integrate with it.

Step 5 - Launch and Refine

You’re almost there! Once you’ve finalized your new and improved sales process, feel good about your ability to measure key goals, and have buy-in from your sales and operations teams, you’re ready to start working. If you have a large enough sales organization, you can test the process in a few markets and get live feedback before doing a full-scale launch or you can roll it out to the entire sales team on day one. Either way, it’s critical to evaluate and refine the process. Ensure there is a mechanism to get their feedback quickly and make needed adjustments. Are leads annoyed by the number of calls they are getting? Are salespeople finding the documentation process burdensome? The right process is going to look different for every organization and sales team, but this review and revision will help you get to a final point that effectively measures against the goals you established.

Hopefully by now you have a functioning customer relationship management platform, your sales team is confident in their technology and process, and you’re starting to see data populate for the KPIs you outlined. We know this can be a complex process, and we’re here to help. Stay tuned for part two where we cover how to integrate your marketing strategy with your new and improved sales process to create the right touchpoints for your prospects at the right place and time.

From technical implementation to sales process design to integration with marketing automation, Mythic’s certified experts can help you set the sales and technology foundation that will allow your marketing communications to thrive. If you want to know how you can partner with a team that's brimming with creative ideas, reach out to our CMO, Taylor Bryant (, and get a conversation with Mythic started today.

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