Do you remember when you didn’t have a highly efficient CRM tool managing your contacts and accounts? I started in sales when the three-ring binder was your sales bible, carrying important notes and next steps – and I always hit my quota.
Today, sales teams are equipped with CRM tools that create dashboards and sales pipeline reports, and record every action and next step needed. Salesforce, the 800-pound gorilla in this space, continues to create applications that help inside salespeople and road warriors manage their book of business.
So tell me again -- why isn't your sales team achieving or exceeding quota?
The answer is simple: A CRM tool can’t execute the basics needed for sales success. Technology, coupled with sales training, is the formula for success.
Here are four basics that only a salesperson can accomplish.
1. Consistent sales activity. A CRM tool can organize your contacts, and record important information and conversations with prospects. However, the salesperson must pick up the phone, send an email, write a personal note or ask for a referral into a prospect account.
Time to provide training on prospecting and business development.
2. The right decision maker. A CRM tool can host the decision maker’s name and information. However, the salesperson must have the confidence to call at the right level – not at the comfortable one -- in an account.
And when the salesperson finally makes contact with the C-suite decision maker, a CRM tool can’t make the initial conversation a compelling conversation. Only the salesperson can create the customized elevator pitches or thoughtful questions that gain a prospect’s interest.
Time to provide training on self-confidence and value propositions.
3. Compelling sales conversations. It’s humorous how the sales training world (my world) positions the sales conversation. It’s been referred to as solution selling, customer focused, empathetic selling, challenger selling and consultative selling. Call the sales conversation anything you want. But there is a common denominator in all great sales conversations: They must be compelling in order to attract and hold the potential buyer’s interest.
A CRM tool can embed specific questions to be asked during a sales call. What it can’t do is embed the third and fourth questions that need to be asked. Those questions require flexibility, critical thinking and curiosity because they are based on answers from the prospect.
Time to provide training on listening, critical thinking, questioning and clarifying skills accompanied by many hours of role playing.
4. Qualifying or disqualifying. A CRM tool helps you to determine clear next steps. But the reality is that only you, the salesperson, can determine if your prospect really deserves a second meeting.
Too many salespeople are pursuing too many opportunities that never will close. They are deploying the old quote-and-hope strategy and often, the good opportunities slip through the cracks.
Repeat after me: It’s OK for a salesperson to disqualify an opportunity. Only committed prospects deserve to stay in your pipeline and you, not your CRM tool, must make that determination of commitment through questions and conversation.
Time to provide training on reallity testing an disqualification skills.
CRM tools help your sales team leverage technology and time to become more productive. But remember, your sales team still needs to execute the basics of selling. Invest in technology and training to ensure the achievement of revenue goals.