Last week, Joe Caprio of InsightSquared joined us in the studio to record our 21st episode of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast: “Must-Have CRM Fields For Data-Driven Sales Teams.” In this session, we walked through the top CRM data fields that Joe feels have really allowed his sales org to streamline its funnel, highlighting a few that are less commonplace. In this follow-up post, I’ll outline how you can use each to close more deals:
1) Lead Source
This CRM data field indicates where the initial lead came from. It’s standard field in Salesforce (and pretty much every other CRM system), and is also a concept key to marketing automation platforms like Hubspot or Marketo. In fact, amongst all the terms on this list, Lead Source is probably one you already know well. Joe and I discuss it here, however, as it’s the basis for all the others, and step one in determining why you are or aren’t efficiently closing new deals. Lead Source fields will always be pick lists, and will likely include a number of inbound and outbound options, such as—for example—website signups, PPC, or social media. But it’s critical to ensure your list of Sources covers the bases but is tight enough to start seeing actionable trends right away. Joe found that at InsightSquared, for example, customers that used Salesforce as a CRM were much more likely to close. Therefore, outbound calling wasn’t effective until the particular Lead Source was one of their marketing campaigns that only attracted Salesforce users.
2) Loss Reason
This CRM data field explains the reason(s) why a particular closed deal was not won. It can also sometimes manifest in the form of a Lead Status on leads that have irreparably stalled. Variations of this field are commonly used, but too often teams are either not diligent in mandating that it’s filled, or don’t fill it in a way that is easy to analyze later on (e.g. are you losing deals on price, due to a competitive bid, or because the target wanted a feature that was missing?). These insights can drive key decisions not only in sales but also in finance, marketing and product management. As Joe mentions, in this case and all others, a pick list field type is ideal as it’s easily searchable. But sometimes companies fear they’ll miss out on new Loss Reasons and so will add an “other” option. Go that route, however, and you can expect to see “other” shoot through the roof as reps take the path of least resistance. Protect yourself here by requiring a free-form text description in the case that the rep wants to choose “other.” One other tip from Joe: deals often die due to “Lost Momentum,” but that doesn’t help you much (there’s a reason why contact petered out). To avoid this, consider having a Sales Manager reach out to the dead lead to ask what your rep could have done better; you may hear back with a more helpful Loss Reason, or in a few cases, revive the conversation.
3) Number Of Attempts
This CRM data field is the numerical sum of touch points a rep had with an opportunity throughout his or her sales effort (e.g. emails, calls, in-person meetings, demos, social interactions, etc.). Number Of Attempts can be a pain to track with 100% compliance, but for big teams building repeatable sales machines, one of the most important. Number of Attempts determines how hard reps have to work to convert a lead, hence how many leads they need to hit numbers, and hence how broad the top of your funnel needs to be. In this CRM data field, it’s also important to know what type of attempt each touch constitutes; you’ll hopefully develop a sense of your optimal “touch pattern” for various customer types (e.g. 2 emails, 1 call, a demo and 2 calls).
4) Contact Roles
This CRM data field includes all of the contacts (with name, contact info and role) that a rep engaged with throughout their dialogue with an opportunity. In our podcast, Joe relates that understanding the value of the Contact Role field was key in his development as a sales manager. This field’s importance ties back to the fact that different products end up requiring “sign-off” from different stakeholders within an organization. Most startups probably have just one contact attached to each opportunity in their CRM. Your rep is just getting the lead and hoping the attached contact happens to be their white knight in the org. By adding all Contact Roles involved in a sale (rather than just the initial lead contact) into the opportunity, you might learn—for example—that your product sells 2x better when the CFO gets involved early, or that internal champions are likely VP-level vs. C-suite. By using Contact Roles correctly, in other words, your startup can eventually optimize its sales process by looping in the right roles at the right time.
5) Primary Use Case
This CRM data field indicates the main reason why an opportunity is interested in using your product. Many startup sales teams are familiar with the concept of a “sales framework”; two popular ones are BANT and MEDDIC (see another of our podcasts on MEDDICC here). In Joe’s view, the keystone of any framework is Need, which should manifest in your CRM in the form of Primary Use Case. When you combine Primary Use Case with the other key fields mentioned above, you can really start to understand granularly what makes for a customer win. You might just be able determine things like “when we MQL via an eBook and then speak with the CMO within 3 touches, we sell product 80% of the time.” One more tip from Joe: Primary Use Case is a CRM data field that probably needs to be a free-form text field; but if your company can develop a “common language” around how to articulate use cases for your product, you can at the least go back and analyze this field for instances of those common phrases, and optimize accordingly.
This CRM data field tracks the types of engagement efforts your sales reps used to move the opportunity down the funnel. When you first get a leads list, if you’re a data-driven and CRM friendly startup, you’ll start to optimize toward effective Leads Sources. That said, your head of sales will likely also learn that in some cases, certain lead types respond well to particular types of engagement efforts, or “Campaigns.” These Campaigns could include invites to events, check-in calls or social media campaigns. If you take the time to log these various types of Campaigns, you can get even smarter around optimizing leads by source.
If you haven’t checked out the full podcast yet, we hope you’ll do so by heading over to our original post.