CRM management

Are you satisfied with the way your salespeople are using the CRM you bought?

Are you satisfied with the data that comes out of it?

Are you satisfied with the degree of engagement between your sales managers and their front line direct reports?

If you are not, and you want to fix that, where do you start?

Countless conversations, online discussions and consulting projects have me convinced – the reason that salespeople don’t embrace their CRM is because doing so requires additional tasks in an already busy day.

In other words, the things that salespeople actually do to get sales are different than the things that need to be entered into the CRM.

If – on the other hand – the CRM was a tool that helped support their work, they would use it eagerly. Imagine – CRM as an actual productivity enhancing tool!

Unbelievable – right?

I’m pretty sure that this is supposed to be at least part of the point – and in some cases where attention is paid to how to deploy it properly, that can actually be the result – a result that is much more achievable than you might think.

And what if you reached that glorious result?

Salespeople would use it, because it would make the execution of their sales work more efficient…

…and…

Managers would get the data they needed – since what is in the CRM reflects what the salespeople actually do.

The difference comes when the sales process that the salespeople use is developed to reflect what they actually do to get sales, and that same process is used as the map for the CRM and the basis for sales management accountability and support.

This may seem too basic and simple to even think about, but therein lies the trap!

I was going through just such a process with a company recently, and in the middle of a workshop, a senior executive spoke up and expressed concern that the things we were talking about were too basic.

The truth is, they were. We were discussion things like:

  • How exactly are we defining a “lead”
  • What do we call them once we have made contact?
  • What specifically needs to happen before we change the status from “Prospect” to “Qualified Prospect” in the CRM

Very basic stuff.

What the senior executive didn’t immediately recognize was the mistake that management had made. They bought a CRM and told the salespeople to use it, but didn’t know how it connected to their actual work, and worse yet – they had not agreed on definitions about what the different things in the CRM meant or what exactly had to happen before a record was changed from one category to another.

Terminal errors!

Vince Lombardi – legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers American Football team and namesake of the Super Bowl trophy famously started each season the same way….

“Gentlemen, this is a football”

He did this for a very important reason……

Unless we agree on what terms mean, what steps need to be taken and how we will adopt our own unique style to a more uniform expression of our work as reflected in our CRM system, CRM will always be a waste of money and a source of frustration.

If you want to be successful in a CRM deployment, or as a sole user of a CRM, then map your sales process, and connect it to the terms in the CRM. In this way, the tool might work well for you.

If you don’t do this foundational work, then it is your own fault that you can’t get any value from the CRM. You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip either, no matter how mad you get!

In other words, CRM success boils down to mapping your process!

Some people have told me that the sales process is basic and simple. Everybody knows the steps of the sales process, so what is the point of focusing on it?

But the truth is this – many people may know what the steps of the sales process are, but that isn’t enough.

Until a sales organization does the work of reaching a common agreement about a universal but customized sales process that reflects both what the salespeople REALLY do to get sales AND the stuff that needs to be captured in a CRM, then no-one will be happy.

To your success!

Photo Credit: CRM Improvement/shutterstock