Boosting sales can be done by using CRM for sales teams. But Raj Sabhlok also says it can be achieved by salespeople implementing three clear-cut best practices.
The new Pipedrive chief executive shares his experience with Ramon Ray in an interview for Smart Hustle. In their discussion, the pair talk about:
- Raj’s decades of experience and his journey to Pipedrive
- What a good CRM for sales teams looks like
- Clear principles to boost sales
- What sales teams and small businesses must do amid COVID-19
Journey to Pipedrive
Born in Silicon Valley, Raj jokes that he never really had a say in choosing his career. Right out of college, he joined the IT management software industry. Then, he worked in the business application sector. Later, he combined both at Zoho, where he was president for a decade.
From Zoho, Raj joined Pipedrive in June, right in the thick of COVID-19. He says it was the opportunity that drew him to Pipedrive, which he describes as on an “incredible run.”
Tracing its beginnings to a decade ago, the CRM company has more than 90,000 customers. It’s profitable, which is hard to say about many software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. It’s running so well that it still has every dime of its $90 million raised from blue-chip investors. Pipedrive is also used by companies like Amazon and Vimeo.
Capitalizing on a Differentiator
The key is its differentiator. Raj says that many CRMs decide to implement a somewhat similar system to Salesforce and differentiate themselves mainly through pricing. However, Pipedrive is a sales CRM and pipeline management platform that is developed by salespeople for salespeople, he explains.
That makes it markedly different from other CRM tools, which could be primarily catering to sales management and for executive teams to make decisions.
Pipedrive is a CRM for sales teams, which is different from a CRM geared towards management and executive teams.
At the heart of Pipedrive is the sales pipeline view. In a sense, it’s intuitive for a salesperson to work this way, Raj says. Having a CRM system that feels and acts natural, even in your industry, allows you to stay on top of projects and deals as efficiently as possible.
That's why the product resonates within its niche. In turn, that niche keeps on growing. Pipedrive is such a success, Raj shares, that it's inspiring other vendors.
3 Best Practices to Boost Sales
Much like how Pipedrive’s CRM for sales teams is being used in an expanding range of sectors, salespeople can also implement some key best practices to ensure they can consistently boost sales.
Here are Raj’s three principles:
1. Ensure timeliness
The first person or organization to engage with someone looking for a product or service will lead all others for that business. Raj makes an example of looking for products like tires or appliances. He says he's going to reach out through email or calls, but the first person to engage has most of his attention.
"I'll tell you what. The first person that engages with me and starts answering questions for me, that individual and that organization is immediately at the top or near the top," he says. "[That's] because I'm making progress in terms of the goods or services that I'm looking for."
2. Follow through
Mean and do what you say. If you’re dropping the ball, your word will mean little to potential customers.
"If you're in a conversation with the prospect, hopefully you're taking notes, you're recording your call, you're doing something that ensures that you’re not going to drop the ball on something," he explains.
This is an area CRM for sales teams can really shine. They give you an opportunity to reflect on your interactions and make it easier to follow through on your promises,. That or just say thank you.
3. Practice common courtesy
Speaking of saying thank you, Raj says that practicing common courtesy shows your character.
Every small thing counts and may clinch you the deal.
He says that he has made a point to emphasize this, as well as ensuring timeliness and following through, in any organization he has managed.
Is it okay to sell again?
Raj Sabhlok and Ramon Ray also touched on whether it’s now okay for sales teams to start working on leads again.
“I think we all went through this period of 'is it okay to start calling customers again? Is it okay to start selling again?' ” he says.
In a way, the industry you’re in and who you’re selling to matters, but he thinks it’s time to get back to it.
“I think we need to have that level of empathy of what's going on around us, but my sense is people want to get back to things. They want to get back to their business and they want to get back to their lives as well," he says. “Businesses can play a critical part in that.”
The key now is figuring out the right way to get back to it. Don't necessarily feel like you’re being intrusive or that it’s not the right time.
“If you're conscientious about it, it's a good opportunity to step in, and you'll be really, really surprised. In many, many cases, people want to have conversations.”
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