Sales teams are a lot like the fashion industry. People wear the latest fashions even if the style is uncomfortable and not flattering (I still haven't figured out nose and tongue rings.) Sales teams often buy the latest fashions in technology to stay up with the times. The problem isn't the technology, it's the lack of thought and planning before the purchase. CRM tools are a classic example. (I.e. ACT, Goldmine, Sales Force, Sales Logix.) Here are three reasons why sales CRM tools often don't achieve the goal of increased sales and productivity.#1. The sales organization has not defined their ideal client. A question that needs to asked and answered is: should this prospect even be in your data base? Does the prospect fit your ideal client criteria? Do you and the prospect have a match on business philosophy. I.E. You sell on value, they buy on price. What size of company values your expertise the most? A mid-size company may value your expertise more than a Fortune 500. Here's another area of disconnect. The goal of a CRM system is to stay in front of prospects, possibly through a monthly ezine. The problem is without clarity of your target client, the marketing message may not connect with the prospect. The marketing 'touch point' is diminished.
#2. No defined sales process. The limportance of a defined sales process became very clear to me while conducting a sales audit. I was sitting with a young salesman and asked why a particular prospect in his CRM system was assigned a 70% close ratio with a closing date listed for the next day. He gave a very vague answer on the criteria needed to qualify for 70% and solved the closing date problem by moving the date. (Hmmm....and the company is forecasting on this type of system.) Well run sales organizations have a defined sales process. There are three to five weighted questions that must be answered by the salesperson before assigning a forecasting percentage to the potential deal. A sales process removes subjective data such as, "I think it''s going to close," and is replaced with objective data. A winning formula is aligning the sales process with the CRM system.
#3. Hoping technology can replace the human element. A CRM tool can manage contacts; it can't pick up the phone and hold a meaningful dialogue with prospects or clients. Sales is contact sport and on-going sales training is needed. Take your sales team to the next level by teaching them how to how to influence different personality types, ask smart questions and align good solutions. Great sales managers coach and reinforce the principles taught during sales training. Coaching from the sales manager moves the sales team from knowing sales skills to mastering sales skills. The difference is a cookie cutter sales call or a sales call where the sales rep is a professional, adapting and adjusting to the prospect. Technology is great, however, a CRM tool can't teach, coach and motivate.
Don't fall victim to the 'sales fashion' industry and buy technology just to stay ahead of the times. Install a sales process that can be measured and duplicated. Take that sales process and apply the methodology to a CRM system that matches your needs.
Chief Selling Officer ">