Tracking a contract from an initial contact through project completion can be a daunting process--one that is mostly handled between multiple software applications and maybe even some handwritten notes on your desk, information on your phone or details in your head.Keeping this information organized is critical to using your time and efforts efficiently all the way to making sure this effort produces a profit. The process you go through to solicit and secure work deserves its fair share of streamlined tracking.
In CORE, we do just that. We make sure that the process of soliciting, negotiating and securing your jobs is tracked and documented, all in one place from start to finish. This ensures you are attracting work that returns a profit for you.
To better understand how CORE helps you through this process, we will start from the beginning with four simple steps of setting up some default information, building our sales tools, tracking the details, closing the deal and, most importantly, making money.
Here is a breakdown of our 4 easy steps:
Step 1: Set Up Your Lists
Lead Sources – These are the common avenues your company collects the leads from. The source could be advertisements, trade shows, Internet or search engines such as Google, word-of-mouth, emails, conferences, resellers, etc. You can create a custom list of lead sources to represent how the leads and prospects were identified by your company.
Opportunity Types – When an opportunity arises, it is helpful for sales representatives or business development team members to classify or categorize the opportunity. The opportunities can be classified or tagged as new business, existing business or migration from another business, cross-sell or up-sell, and so on. This allows the sales agents to quickly understand what the opportunity is about and also helps in reporting by displaying a breakdown of all your open opportunities.
Opportunity Stages – You can create a list of stages for your opportunities to indicate the current status of an opportunity or to track the progress of an opportunity, e.g., whether an opportunity is ongoing, lost, won or closed. When an opportunity arises, a sales representative or business development agent can be at various stages in the sales process. Whether it be understanding the needs of a client, negotiating a quote or closing the sale, it is important to be able to quickly understand where you are. It also helps your company to track and forecast potential revenue and allow managers to do performance reviews of their sales agents based on the opportunities lost or won.
Follow Up Types – Follow-Up Types represent different categories that help to organize the sales follow-ups in CORE CRM. You can list your company’s common sales or business development-related tasks that are used to categorize your follow-ups. Follow-up type can be a follow-up call, meeting, email, etc.
Campaign Types – CORE CRM allows you to create a list of campaign types for your CRM to describe the different types of campaigns run by your company. The most common types of campaigns are Email, Newsletter, Referral Program, Social Media, etc. You can create any number of campaign types and then use them in your campaigns. You can manage a global list of campaign types in CORE CRM.
Campaign Status – CORE CRM allows you to create a custom list of status for your campaigns that indicate the different stages of a campaign’s activity or progress. The commonly used status can be Budgeted, Planned, Approved, Cancelled, Completed, etc. You can create any number of campaign status and then use them in your campaigns. You can manage a global list of campaign statuses in CORE CRM on the Campaign Status screen.
Step 2: Build Sales Tools for Your Sales and Marketing Managers to Use
Email Templates – Build an email template or series of templates to ensure consistent content to be shared via email with your clients. This also streamlines your emails, which is a common way we communicate with our clients.
Promotions - are essential for an organization that uses CRM. The Promotions screen in CORE CRM allows you to define promo codes that offer special discounts on your products and offerings for a limited period. It allows them to define promotions and tie them with marketing campaigns. Create an association between sales and promotions so as to run on-demand or interval-based reports.
Campaigns - The Campaigns screen in CORE CRM lets you set up marketing events and activities to reach out to existing leads and prospects, track response rates and conversion rates, calculate ROI, and so on. You can also use a list of campaign types for your CRM to describe the type of campaigns you are running, say Email, Newsletter, Referral Program, etc. CORE CRM also allows you to create a custom list of status for your CRM campaigns, such as Budgeted, Planned, Approved, Cancelled, Completed, etc.
Resource Library - As a part of the sales process, CRM users provide prospects with information that can help close the sales. In the professional services industry, these resources can include PDF portfolios, white papers, e-books, request for qualifications (RFQs), etc. These resources can be in the form of documents, hyperlinks to files, or links to websites that feature the project you want the prospects to see. Based on the interests of the prospects, you can send them some materials from the Resource Library in CORE via email.
Sales Goals - The Sales Goals screen in CORE CRM allows you to set a target for your sales and then track what percentage of the sales target your sales or business development team actually achieved in a given period.
Step 3: You're Now Ready for Your Pursuits
Enter Leads - CORE CRM provides a centralized system to track your leads and their progress through the sales pipeline. In CORE CRM, leads can be created from scratch or can be imported from Comma Separated Values (.csv) files. You can also create a custom list of lead sources to represent how the leads and prospects were identified by your company. CORE allows you to manage leads with details that can be used to evaluate their chances of becoming prospects.
Enter Prospects - When leads are converted or qualified as prospects, this can lead to various sales opportunities. As these opportunities are won, they lead to various projects where the earlier leads and prospects now become your clients. In CORE CRM, you can create prospects from your existing contacts or from scratch. If you have both CORE and CORE CRM subscription, then those prospects for whom sales are won become part of your standard client list.
Assign Opportunities (Quotes & Proposals) - In CORE CRM, if you have determined there are potential sales to be made for prospects, you can go ahead and create opportunities for them detailing what you are expecting them to purchase, when they might purchase and how big the purchase is going to be. You can then create proposals to email the prospects and negotiate the sales. After the life cycle of opportunity is completed, you generally indicate a closed-won or closed-lost opportunity stage. As these opportunities are won, they lead to various projects wherein the earlier leads and prospects now become your clients.
Track Follow-Ups, Notes, To-Dos, Documents and Emails - The Follow-Ups feature in CORE CRM refers to the tasks that can be created for leads, prospects, opportunities, quotes, etc. and assigned to sales persons. You can create follow-up notes and specify the entity the follow-up is linked to. The follow-ups can be created by you and assigned to yourself or another person. Although you can create follow-ups in various screens like Quotes, Sales Goals, etc., the Follow-Ups screen allows you to manage all of them from one place. When you log into CORE CRM, you can view these follow-ups from the screens or the Follow-Ups widget. Follow-ups can have a reminder date set on them along with a priority and to-do type. CORE CRM also sends reminders about any follow-ups due today.
Step 4: Close the Contract and Start Making Money
If your proposal is accepted and it now moves on to contract, you are ready to begin tracking your client, project, time and expenses, invoices and payments.
Using CORE CRM, from initial pursuit through contract completion allows you to track all your details from start to finish in one place. You will have this information for your proposals and contracts as well as the history, leading to an efficient, organized and streamlined process for tracking your important project information.