Sell to Win

How to use CRM collaboration tools to close deals faster

Ashanté Clemons
Product Marketing Specialist, Nutshell
Ashanté Clemons
Product Marketing Specialist, Nutshell

A typical sales organization has glass walls around each department, allowing each to gain insight, but not always allowing for communication or collaboration.

A winning organization knocks those walls down completely—with CRM as the wrecking ball.

Companies and people alike are shifting towards digital solutions to make everyday life easier. Slack conversations are often more common than verbal conversations. Trello and Zoom combined have redefined the way projects are managed entirely. People are using tech to gain every advantage they can, and CRMs are no exception.

Though often seen strictly as software that helps your sales team keep track of their deals, CRMs can actually be used as collaborative tools for an entire organization. Just as Slack or Zoom are able to unite teams and provide a collaborative playground, your CRM can do the same. And if your CRM allows your organization to communicate and collaborate more effectively, it will ultimately help you close more deals.

Why team collaboration boosts productivity and sales

KissFlow defines successful cross-functional team collaboration as “effective collaborative strategies that align with project goals so that employees can easily work with each other, even if they belong to different departments or domains.”

CRM software enables that cross-functional collaboration by providing your teams the tools they need to effectively do their jobs while allowing visibility into sales, reports,  customer information, and communication histories.

Collaborative CRMs eliminate silos

By knocking down the virtual walls around each department within an organization, a collaborative CRM can allow each team to gain information that was previously inaccessible to them. For example... 

  • Your marketing team can see conversations that your support team is having with your customers, and gain insight to pain points and successes that can be addressed through blog content and email nurturing.
  • Your sales team can see which new leads have already engaged with your marketing team’s efforts, so they’re able to direct their focus on their warmest leads. (For some advice on how to use Nutshell to turn email subscribers into sales leads, read this.)
  • Your executive team can keep an eye on all current, past, and forecasted sales, as well as on the daily activities of their teams.

Collaborative CRMs make the important stuff visible

Whether it’s customer profile information or year-over-year sales metrics, a collaborative CRM should allow visibility into all areas of your account and your business.

While most CRMs will also allow you to set up data viewing permissions and restrictions, anyone with access to your CRM must be able to see the information they need, whether it’s a support rep needing to check on previous communication between the company and a customer or a sales team manager needing to export sales reports for a recently launched product.

Speaking from personal experience at Nutshell, transparency is such a major key to business success. The more your team members understand your organization's sales figures and client relationships, the more likely they are to surface ideas that can drive revenue for you in the future.

Collaborative CRMs let you tactically manage your communications

As mentioned above, collaborative CRMs provide visibility into the communication taking place between your teams and your customers, but they should also provide the tools for effective internal communication. Some examples of these tools could be:

  • Tagging and @-mentioning that trigger notifications for your colleagues
  • A centralized location to see all recent sales and activity within the CRM
  • The ability to change individual or team ownership over specific tasks, customers, and sales 
  • A customizable sales process set-up that provides sellers with guidance throughout the pipeline

Spoiler alert: Nutshell has all these features, plus more!

How Nutshell CRM assists with team collaboration

Ok, so how does Nutshell CRM support team collaboration and assist your sales team in closing more deals...and your marketing team in effectively reaching their audiences...and your support team in being knowledgable on previous customer interactions...and your management team with new lead delegation and sales reporting?

Nutshell is the best platform for marketers who care about sales outcomes, sales teams who care about marketing outcomes, and management teams who understand that team collaboration is necessary to reach the goal that everyone cares about: revenue growth.

Here are a few ways Nutshell encourages that:

Our Tools

Notifications

Nutshell provides over a dozen ways to be notified of action taking place within the CRM. Whether you’re being reminded of a task nearing its due date, being alerted to new leads being added to the database, or being mentioned within another Nutshell user’s notes, Nutshell is designed to keep you informed when important things are happening.

The timeline

The Nutshell timeline (or dashboard timeline) is a real-time, up-to-date list of all actions and activities taking place within the entirety of your account. From newly created contacts and leads to every email that’s sent or received between your company and a client to every note or activity logged, you will see it all is occurring right on the timeline.

[video width="3344" height="1704" mp4="https://www.nutshell.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/TeamCollaboration_Conversations-min.mp4" loop="true" autoplay="true"][/video]  

The timeline can help you stay on top of what's happening in your company, and you can use it to collaborate with your team, encourage your colleagues by leaving comments, respond to emails, and more—all right from the timeline.

Nutshell mobile apps

We recognize that not everyone remains glued to their desk all day, but that everyone does want to stay connected and know what’s happening within their CRM. Our mobile apps for iPhone and Android provide your entire database, timeline, scheduled tasks and activities, synced emails, and sales metrics in the palm of your hand. 

You can leave comments, @-mention colleagues, schedule and log activities, call contacts directly from the app, and more all while on the go! Our mobile app also includes a built-in business card scanner to auto-create new contacts that you meet at conventions, rallies, and out-n-about.

Dashboard cards

Designed specifically for seeing data at a glance, Nutshell’s dashboard cards are customizable for each Nutshell user. Whether it’s a list of leads or contacts, sales metrics for the past quarter, a summary of the current leads in your pipeline, or a measurement of your team’s sales and activity quotas, dashboard cards put the data you want front and center.

A picture of Nutshell dashboard cards

Nutshell dashboard cards

While a list card of all hot leads within the account may be the daily focus for a sales rep, a team manager may benefit more from seeing a team sale’s quota card which indicates where the team is on their monthly sale’s goal, and a marketer may want to know where new business is coming from to focus on a new market through the utilization of a list card of new leads, segmented by source.

The types of cards available include:

  • Leaderboard
  • Quotas
  • Metrics
  • List
  • List summary
  • Pipeline

I previously wrote a knowledge base article about selecting helpful dashboard cards based on your department or role within your organization. 

Managing permissions and team settings

The notion of restrictions isn’t often associated with “collaboration,” but there’s a difference between responsible, effective collaboration and a chaotic free-for-all. Nutshell understands that it may be necessary for administrators and managers to permit or restrict what information is visible amongst their employees and teams. 

For this reason, Nutshell provides both a personal and account-wide email address blocklist. Emails sent to or received from the email addresses on the blocklist will be prevented from syncing into and being visible in Nutshell. The account-wide blocklist ensures emails from your organization’s lawyer or finance department don’t make it into your CRM, while the personal blocklist can be used by you and your colleagues to keep out emails from your bank, doctor, or mother. 

Contact and lead information visibility can also be restricted. Perhaps you have a selection of contacts that are vendors and partners to your organization. It may be important for your marketing and executive teams to have access to their information and stay in contact with them, but it may not be necessary for any other departments to have access to this information. Plus, you don’t want these contacts to get lost in the shuffle with the customers your sales and support teams are focused on!

Nutshell provides administrators with the power of restricting selected non-administrators from viewing specific data through team member settings and ‘Admin only’ permission selections. 

Teams and team members can be placed on three levels of permissions:

  • The employee can see all data in Nutshell (you would use this when someone is not an administrator but should still have access to any information on all of your companies, people, and leads)
  • The employee can see all data in their team (this setting is helpful for employees that need to work collaboratively on their projects but don't want to be distracted by information that isn't useful to their work)
  • The employee can see only their own data (you can add employees to this level when you need to keep everything private except the companies, people, or leads that these employees are working with)

Administrators within Nutshell have access to all data and settings. Non-administrators can create new contact and sales information, but can not access overall account set-up and settings.

Nutshell Marketing

With the addition of our Nutshell Marketing platform, we hold strong to our belief that revenue growth is the shared goal at the intersection of marketing and sales. Nutshell Marketing allows anyone with administrative permissions within your organization to create and send beautifully designed outreach campaigns to thousands of contacts at once.

Nutshell Marketing engagement metrics can be accessed by anyone within your CRM and paints a clear picture of your contact’s engagement with your organization’s outreach. Engagement information can help direct your sales team toward warmer leads or inform your success teams of who’s most likely interested in a follow-up session or secondary service.

For more information about Nutshell Marketing, including pricing, shoot us an email at growth@nutshell.com!

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Pipelines

Probably one of the most important components to ensure collaboration is taking place within Nutshell is a thorough sales process pipeline. With the right setup and automation, team members from different departments can be informed of when the ball is in their court and what’s needed to get closer to closing a deal at all times. 

 


 

How to use Nutshell’s automated pipelines to close deals faster

Nutshell’s pipelines are composed of standardized milestones called “stages” that form the roadmap for closing a deal. Stage features include automated goals for lead progression, tasks lists, automated emails, and more.

Stages can also determine when leads change ownership between individuals and teams. User assignment rules can be created to assign leads to individuals or teams at any point in your sales process. Assigning leads to specific users or teams ensures that all of your team members know exactly which leads they’re responsible for and what tasks they need to complete to move the lead through the sales pipeline.

Distribution rules can be created to segment new and incoming leads into specific pipelines upon creation or to move existing leads to other pipelines based on their criteria. Whether you’re manually creating your leads inside of Nutshell or receiving them from a web form on your company homepage, Nutshell will distribute them to the correct pipeline, getting them in the hands of the right team members.

For example, maybe your leads are collected through a web form that potential customers can fill out on your homepage. Your web form is integrated with your Nutshell account and your leads funnel into your pipeline and are auto-assigned to your sales team. (Psst... we can round-robin out those new leads for you!)

After the sales team has reached out to all of the potentials by phone and email and has established which leads are really warm and interested, it may be time to assign the leads off to your marketing team. Your marketing team takes your list of engaged leads and sends them your newest product catalog. As soon as the outreach is sent, the leads who’ve received the catalog are assigned back to the sales team who is notified by Nutshell, and swoops back in to close the deals!

A photo of a Nutshell pipeline.

Here's the scenario played out in a Nutshell pipeline!

Now that these leads are actual customers, you’ll want to ensure you stay connected with them, right? Nutshell’s follow-through pipelines provide a secondary roadmap to manage leads after the deal has closed. In the follow-through pipeline, tasks can again be auto-assigned so your success teams can follow up with and continue to nurture the relationship with won leads and your sales team can be notified to set up a re-engagement call with lost leads who may not have been ready to buy at the time.  

A photo of the follow-through section of a Nutshell pipeline.

A follow-through pipeline to illustrate this example!

For more pipelines recommendations, check out this blog post for 8 simple and complex sales process templates.

For more instructional and guided help with your Nutshell pipeline and sales automation, check out the sales automation section of our knowledge base.

Whether the intention of the process is for a quick sale of a retail product or relationship building for long-term subscribers, Nutshell can assist in ensuring your teams are aware of every sale and its current position in your process as well as team members’ individual responsibilities to the sale.

With a collaborative CRM, your teams will not only have the tools they need to work more effectively together, but you'll be able to see the proof of their efforts within the same system.