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How to Setup Your Sales Process in a CRM Blog Feature

December 12th, 2016 min read

Untitled-1-compressor.jpgHaving a CRM that’s fully integrated into your organization's sales process can be one of the most beneficial ways to understand and improve the performance of your marketing and, with all the incredible options on the market for free (or affordable) CRMs, there aren’t too many reasons not to leverage one within your organization.  

In this guide, we’ll cover how to start translating the process you’re currently using to monitor your sales process into a CRM. We’ll use HubSpot as an example, but the process can be applied to many different CRMs.  

Also, we’ll briefly cover what to do if you don’t already have a sales process defined.

End of the Spreadsheet Sales Process

If you’re not using a CRM to track your sales process, there’s a good chance you’re relying on spreadsheets or you have yet to develop your sales process.

Either way, you’re in the right place.

For those who have yet to define their sales process, I recommend getting started with this in depth guide on Lead Management. It includes the basics you’ll need to start defining a fitting sales process for your organization. This is an important first step to setting up a CRM that works well for you.

If you already have a process defined and are using spreadsheets (or maybe even pen and paper) to track and forecast your revenue generation, the benefits to moving to a platform like HubSpot’s CRM are massive.  Not only are they easier to use, but they provide tools that enhance your team's ability to perform.  We cover some of those tools here.

Getting Started with a CRM

To walk through the process, we’ll use HubSpot’s free Sales Pipeline spreadsheet template.  This likely contains similar information to what you currently are documenting and our goal is to get that same information into a CRM.

The first step is the easiest: sign up! If you’re planning on using HubSpot’s CRM, you can follow this link at the bottom of this page to sign up for the CRM.

CRM Setup

Step one is critical. We need to ensure that your CRM is setup to precisely follow your sales process. This is important for several reasons.  

For starters, we need to make sure your CRM is getting the right information from the reps that use it.  We do this by customizing the CRM with your own unique Properties, Pipelines & Deal Stages.

CRM Properties


Above, you’ll see deal properties common to most organizations like Deal Stage, Size, and Contact Name. These properties (among others) can be found by default within HubSpot.

When first setting up the CRM, I’d recommend looking at the default properties and thinking about how you can map information critical to your sales process to them.

CRM Contacts, Companies, & Deals

If you’re using the HubSpot CRM, it’s also important to understand the difference in how information is stored for contacts, companies, & deals.

Contacts can be associated with multiple companies and deals. For example, if a prospect is currently involved in two different purchases, that contact (and their assigned company) can be assigned to two separate deals.

This separation allows you to look at information from the contact, company, and the deal level, which is useful for understanding which companies you do the most business with, who is involved in the sales process, and how specific deals are progressing.

There’s a good chance that you’ll need to add some custom properties unique to your business.  For example, IMPACT uses the custom contact property “IMPACT VIP” to track who is a member of our VIP program.

Here’s how you add custom properties to the CRM.

Pipelines, Deal Stages & Probability

The last thing we’ll get set up are your deal stages.  Deal stages allow you to track how opportunities progress through your sales process.  Each stage is also assigned a probability which helps you forecast what’s more likely to close.

The stages live within pipelines which are useful for separating different sales processes. This could be for different product offerings or deal sources.

IMPACT uses two pipelines, one for creating new opportunities and one for existing opportunities.

If your process has defined steps, I recommend creating a deal stage for each major step.  It’s important, however, to keep this simple.  Choose only the stages which, at a glance, give you an update on the progress of a deal.

For example, your deal stages may look something like this:


Each of IMPACT’s pipelines have about 8 stages.  I wouldn’t recommend exceeding this number unless you’re sales process is exceptionally long!

Once you’ve solidified which stages you’ll build within your first pipeline, you can follow the process here to get them set up in the HubSpot CRM.

Next steps

In the next article, we’ll cover introducing your team to the new tool & how you can ensure their successful adoption of the CRM in the process.

Before then, I recommend importing your data as discussed here.

Making the Case for a CRM

As you can see, getting set up in a CRM is a relatively simple process that yields some serious benefits.  Not only does the tool itself help increase productivity, close rate, and accountability of your sales team, the act of setting up a CRM forces you to define your sales process.

Once that process is defined, you’re on your way to improving it both inside and outside of the CRM.

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