To grow your organization, you will want to have a grip on your revenue. Easier said than done. It goes beyond knowing how much money is coming in. You will also want to know what’s coming, and how you can improve. An effective CRM system can help you with forecasting, or: making sales projections. Anticipating future demand by getting more out of your team, who wouldn’t want that?

If you want to increase revenue, there are a number of steps you have to take. You’ll begin by finding leads, for example by networking or through inbound marketing. Next you’ll want to capture the leads you’ve found with a (CRM) system, so that you can monitor them and track them through various stages.

When is a lead a lead?

Defining with each other what constitutes a lead is a prerequisite. When do you call a lead a lead? What is a cold lead, a hot lead, or a qualified lead? Your sales staff can easily designate them in the CRM system, so that an overview of the various types of leads is always available with the touch of a button. Sales managers will enjoy a clear view of the situation. They will have the right tools at hand to make adjustments. Too many cold leads and not enough qualified leads? That means there’s work to be done!

Knowing what the customer wants

Finding leads is step one; step two is securing them. Who are you targeting? Not only which sector, but also which contacts. In the orientation phase you’ll often need initiators, while at the time the deal is closed the management team might have the last word. Every role demands different information and a different approach. Marketing automation can help by providing the relevant information you need to respond at just the right time. The ability to effectively assess the needs of (potential) customers is an important factor for success.

Sales forecasting

The key question is: how can you predict sales? Based purely on leads, how can you make a prediction of how much revenue they will yield? A CRM system provides insight. Past predictions and actual revenue give you an idea of how realistic those predictions were. They tell you something about the conversion of leads into deals. Once you know what that factor is, you’ll have a better idea of how many leads it’ll take to eventually close one deal. Next comes the question: should we adjust our guiding principles, or invest in better lead generation, or in training the sales team? Or perhaps some combination?

From lead generation to securing leads. From closing the deal to after-sales. You monitor, analyze, adjust, and start all over again.