Is CRM Just For Management?
Sales Management has long loved CRM for its ability to help us “see” what salespeople are spending their time on. We love being able to look at activities and pipeline, gazing fondly into the reports and dashboards that help us know that the future is bright with lots of great opportunities in our pipeline. We know that our reps are working hard.
Our reps, on the other hand, don’t love being watched. As a long-time sales leader, I know that a high percentage of salespeople say that they are just doing data entry to satisfy the system and their managers. They don’t feel that CRM brings value to THEM, just to their leadership. They tell me that there is nothing the system does that helps them grow revenue.
A Sales Team Focused CRM Does Wonders
When correctly set up, with the salespeople in mind, your CRM should provide all the essential data your team needs. Does inventory change rapidly, and your team needs to know what’s on the shelf to sell? Do you want them to have the latest pricing and specials to drive closed sales? Do you put customers on credit hold, or release that hold and your team needs this data in real time? This information should always be in your CRM so your team can sell with confidence, knowing they have the inventory the customer is asking for and they are clear to take this order. These are a few ways data can help your salespeople value the system. But the biggest value is your well-thought-out Sales Methodology.
What’s A Sales Methodology And How Do I Use It?
A Sales Methodology is a set of steps or milestones that guide salespeople through the sales process. I hear people say regularly that they don’t need this. They just know what needs to be done and that may be true, but how do you lead new reps if you can’t define your process? Someone once told me that he closes 90% of his deals. But he neglected to mention that he disqualifies 50% of his leads. Could we make something out of those leads he disqualifies?
Additionally, a Sales Methodology helps everyone talk about and value deals the same way. The first step is to think critically and clearly about the milestones that must happen before a deal closes. We can spend considerable time discussing what these milestones are – but that’s a different article.
Important: the steps must be actual events, or milestones, not opinions. Think about your experience working through a sales and document. Do you gather needs and requirements? Do you always have a proposal? Does legal have to review internally and at the client? As these things happen, the close becomes more likely to happen.
Here’s The Magic – How CRM Helps You Build A High Performing Team
You now have great data in the system so your team gets value from the CRM system. You have a well-designed Sales Methodology. Now, you get to be a leader. Watch each team member move through each step. Notice who gets stuck where. Who loses opportunities at the demo stage? Who seems to lose steam at the negotiation step? Who doesn’t have enough opportunities in their pipeline to drive the revenue to meet quota?
Let’s look at an example:
Rob says he has enough opportunities in his pipeline to meet his quota, but he regularly falls short. As you look into his deals, you notice that he does really well with prospecting and qualifying but seems to lose momentum at the proposal stage. You decide to work closely with him on his proposals. You learn that he expects the proposal to stand on its own – he simply emails it without taking the time to schedule a call or meeting to review. He says it makes him nervous to discuss it because he’s not sure how to handle objections. You can now mentor Rob on how to conduct a proposal meeting with confidence. You can review potential objections and help him have solid responses.
You can also use what you learned with Rob for your next team meeting. Without mentioning his name, use the knowledge to see if anyone else can benefit from this type of mentoring. Talking about how you use CRM to help your team grow, facilitates a more trusting relationship. Your team knows you are invested in their growth – not in looking over their shoulder.
Another benefit is knowing that everyone is speaking the same language when discussing opportunities. Does emotion and hope become a part of forecasting? Your CRM Sales Methodology can help.
Sarah says her existing customer just loves her and she’s going to get additional business soon. She is forecasting a big deal at 80% but she hasn’t moved through the sales stages. As she does, she learns that there is a lengthy RFP process required before this opportunity can close. By taking her opinions and hope out of the discussion and training her to follow the milestones, expectations are met.
In summary, CRM is a great tool – use it to mentor and grow your team. If you would like help evaluating your current sales methodology, we offer a free 1-hour consultation.
If you have other questions, consider attending one of our Q&A Webinar sessions!