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CRM concepts worth to be known

My name is Christelle INANAHAZWE I have been at Water Access Rwanda for almost three months! I head the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Department which is charged with every sales and marketing: making sure all our customer’s experiences reflect our internal belief that indeed the only boss is the CUSTOMER!

It's been a wonderful journey so far! I am learning a lot of things. Before joining the company, I had some notion on CRM, but there are some concepts that I thought were the same before and have come to realize how different they are, especially from the seller's point of view. Ever heard of the sales pipeline and the sales funnel? Well up until a few weeks ago, I thought the two meant the same, so here is a blog on their subtle and not-so subtle differences.

The sales pipeline represents the stages a prospect goes through to become a customer. What is a prospect? A prospect is a potential customer who has been qualified as fitting certain criteria such as a company target market which would show such person as being a potential customer of our product. While the sales pipeline shows stages each prospect goes through, the sales funnel represents the number of prospects who make it through each of those stages.

Understanding the return on investment (ROI) of marketing is key to driving new business, and that's obviously a benefit of analyzing the sales funnel. A proper analysis of the sales funnels allows understanding how many leads are needed to generate a sale. What is a lead? A lead is a person or business who may eventually become a client; sales lead also refers to the data that identifies an entity as a potential buyer of a product or service. From this, as a CRM manager, I must set department targets and plan organizational growth. Pipeline reports help me to keep track of the status of every deal and understand whether we have an appropriate distribution of deals to meet sales targets. Our sales pipeline structure is not different with what I knew before. It has the basics such as: qualifying leads, assessing their need through meetings, proposal by sending quotation and then closing by converting the prospect into a customer.

Analyzing the sales pipeline can help to gain a clear picture of timescales. How long do leads take to convert? This can be seen through a metric called the sales velocity. I am currently learning how to calculate the sales velocity, which can reveal the speed at which deals move through the pipeline.

Like a pipeline, the sales funnel is split into stages, however, the focus of this model is entirely different. The sales funnel is a visual representation of your conversion rate between each essential sales stage. It’s wide top and narrow bottom depicts the difference in numbers- no doubt you’ll generate plenty of leads, but they won’t all become qualified, and they certainly won’t all become clients. As the customer journey continues the number of potential customers moving on the next stage diminishes with each step, and the sales funnel clearly displays this progression. The stages potential customers move through are entirely bespoke to the business processes. A well-planned sales funnel will define the actions the business needs to take to push prospects to the next stage. The funnel offers plenty of chances to use marketing and customer experience to capture the customer and their needs.

In conclusion, I can say that the understanding of the above concepts is a must for us salespeople and fortunately we do have access to the best software at Water Access Rwanda that feature all those concepts. My aspiration is to use them properly and even exceed the company sales target in the next upcoming months.

Why is this important?

“Our customers are our bosses at Water Access Rwanda. We offer services and products that truly improve people’s lives, livelihoods and secures their relationship to water: a most basic need. Creating a great solution is not enough. We must create the avenues to reach our customers in growing numbers and ensure that their experience with our only draws them closer to achieve safely managed water access. Having a talented person like Christelle at the helm of this critical department is a great move for our company and a game changer in our quest to reach more”

- Christelle Kwizera, MD.


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