Zoho Best Practice Guide: Sales

22 Feb 2022 02:42 PM By alycoy

Integrating Sales Process with CRM to work smarter, not harder

The Prodigm "Best Practice" series of blogs is designed to help you use your Zoho system to achieve your business goals.

    • Are you losing sales opportunities because your sales people don't follow up at the right time? 
    • Do your sales people only concentrate on the bottom end of the funnel and neglect the top? 
    • Do you have a guided qualification system that you can rely on to be followed?


    Finding and developing qualified leads is an expensive business process. Here's how to make sure your sales investment is spent as effectively as possible.

What is a Lead?

A Lead is someone who you have not Initially Qualified. That means you are not sure if they "Fit" your customer profile.


​In Zoho, a Lead can be stored in the Lead module or if, for example, you met someone at a business show, and had a really good qualifying conversation, you may create them directly in the Contacts module. 


You would then create a Task associated with that Contact, to urgently complete the Initial Qualification process. See best practices on Task Management for more details.

What is an Inbound Lead?
An Inbound Lead reaches out to you. They put their hand up! 

Inbound leads happen from a chance meeting, a website visitor, networking, phone call, website chat or web form inquiry. Treat them like an ice cream, melting in the sun. 

These are people who have have heard about your company or product and are interested.

Initially Qualify them fast, TODAY, THIS MINUTE! Do it before they melt away. These are people who are expecting to hear from you pronto!
What is an Outbound Lead

An outbound Lead is someone you reach out to. You may never have met them and you may not know all that much about them.


An Outbound lead means that you have acquired the lead contact information, for example from a list of attendees at a trade show. They are not expecting your call or email so they need a different automated qualification strategy, perhaps one that encourages them to “put their hand up” in response to your email campaign for example. However be cautious to seek permission beforehand to send emails or you can run into Privacy and Spam Concerns.

Once you have permission, Lead scoring is a useful way to pre-qualify an outbound lead - do they open your email? Click through from your email to a landing page? Spend time on your website? - all “scorable” actions. Use the CRM linked with Zoho Campaigns to perform outbound qualification and engagement. Also you can optionally use Zoho Social to engage to the Outbound Lead group.

What to do with an Initially Qualified Lead?

If your Lead is initially qualified and ready to engage:


A successfully Qualified lead next step involves using sales resources, (For example setting up a meeting or presentation).


Immediately convert the Lead to create a Deal during Lead Conversion, to track your success.



If your Lead is initially qualified but not ready:


If the Qualification process identifies a future sales opportunity, that implies staying in touch until they are ready to buy your product.

  • Convert the Lead to a Contact and Account.
  • Add the Contact to an automated email strategy by assigning a Tag or Campaign and creating a follow-up task to call them regularly or send a personal email. 
  • If they then become actively interested, Create a Deal record at that time.

If your Lead is initially qualified but is unlikely to buy your product: 

  • Note why. 
  • Convert the Lead to a Contact and Account but do not create a Deal record. 
When should I create a Deal record?
Once you have Initially qualified a Lead and immediate sales action is required, a Deal record can be created from the Lead by pressing the Convert button or added from a Contact record (Deal option on the left column). 

In the "What is a Lead" section there is a description of Initial Lead qualification. That qualification is required to ensure that precious sales time is not wasted on prospects who will never buy from your company. Once that "Triage" is completed: (Immediate action, Future prospect, Not a prospect), Then in-depth engaged qualification begins for the "Immediate Action" group. 


Once the In-depth qualification questions, demonstrations and needs analysis are completed, the Deal is updated to a "Qualified" stage. 


The sales manager should be able to see tangible proof in the Deal record that the Qualification process has been completed. Proof can be notes, phone records, completion of criteria information, addition of attachments, video recordings of sales meetings, quotes provided, needs analysis documented and flow-charted - whatever fits your business management needs.


"Proof "management can be managed in two ways: By establishing "Blueprinting" criteria for required fields and/or by inserting a management review hold until the Deal is approved by the Sales Manager.


During the In-depth Qualification Process, The Sales Person expends sales resources that can include:

  • A survey
  • A product demonstration
  • A meeting or meetings with the prospective customer and executive team
  • Preparing an initial quote
  • Discussing pricing and discount levels
  • Asking in-depth questions and completing the required information boxes for the Qualification Stage in the Opportunity/Deal/Potential record. 
  • Identifying the appropriate product or service that will meet the customer's needs


Once the investigation of the prospects needs and "fit" with your products/services is completed, the sales stage is moved to "Qualified" in the Deal Record. 

What Happens when the Deal stage is set to Qualified?
Once the customer is fully qualified, the details have to be discussed  in preparation for creating a proposal or quote.

Qualify Hard, Close Easy!

This discussion could result in a document outlining the general requirements, a design document to discuss with the prospect, or possibly a detailed quote or estimate using specific product details from your Inventory Items.
  • Some customers have an integration between their CRM and Accounting system so that transactions such as Estimates, Sales Orders and Invoices can be created by their sales people - often with an approval step.
  • Some discussion can occur refining the proposal or estimate. Payment terms, warranties, deposits, delivery details, performance, information etc. are required before the approval team give their go ahead and a Sales Order (SO) is created and Approved. 
  • Once the Proposal or Quote is provided to the prospect, the sales stage is changed to Quoted.
  • Once the Quote or Sales Order is accepted, the sale stage can be changed to Accepted or Invoiced as possibly an Invoice is created on SO approval.
When do I mark a deal 'Closed Won'?

When do I mark a Deal Record 'Closed Won'?

This varies from company to company. 
  • When a PO is received
  • When an Invoice is issued
  • When a down payment is received
  • When the contract is signed
The main criteria should be consistency. Is the Purchase Order (PO) a match for your Sales Order? At this point the Production/Delivery process or Project begins. 

Note that if your accounting system is integrated with your CRM Estimates, Sales Orders and Invoicing can be completed by sales people from the CRM. If the sale involves creating a Zoho Project, it can be initiated from the Deal
Why follow a sales process?

Your Deal records provide you with insight to your sales funnel and also into sales performance. The sales funnel is a good indication of future production load or inventory requirements. It can help you understand cash flow or personnel challenges. However it is a prediction. Not solid data. 


With a standard sales process that is required to be followed, that prediction process of when a sale will close, and what it implies in product inventory, personnel and production facilities required, can be much more concrete. Better predictions = better profitability and less stress.

Is a Deal the same as an Opportunity??

Yes! a Deal is the same as an Opportunity. Zoho changed the name of the module a few years ago. Most CRM's refer to a Deal or an Opportunity. It represents the effort and coordination required to make a sale - who is involved from the vendor and potential customer, what stage is it at, conversations, notes, estimate, documentation, images, associated projects - a lot of data is associated with the Deal.

Best Practices

✔️ Qualify hard, close easy (understand your client's needs in-depth to offer the right
solution)
✔️ Don't show up and throw up (don't overwhelm your client with information about your
business and capabilities, rather focus on their needs and opportunities)
✔️ Discover the decision making process
✔️ Identify the decision team
✔️ Who is the final decision maker?
✔️ Identify three main problems you can solve
✔️ Find out when a solution is needed
✔️ Find out when and if a budget will be available
✔️ Why would they pick your solution rather than your competitor's

If you need hands-on help to refine and manage your sales process...

We offer a "Best Practices" half-day course where we walk you through implementing the practices and topics of specific interest to your business.

This course offers hands-on time to get used to the functional elements of the "Best Practice".

Half-day course starting at $500

Book a meeting to discuss what we would cover in the half-day course below.