There are a few great sales people and many average ones. There are simple and logical CRMs and there are complex and unflexible ones. Many owners, CEOs and managers of companies believe that a CRM is a complete solution for everything connected to sales. I would say it's a good start or rather a must but it's also just a tool wich can be used for good or for
I personally have experiences with CRMs from both sales representative and sales manager positions. One of the main reasons of why I left my first big company was the new CRM they've implemented. It was much more complex, ultra-slow and user unfriendly. I believe nowadays their CRM is tuned in but at that time it took about 10 minutes to report one simple sales visit. Some years later I stood before my own big task - to implement new CRM system, being new sales manager of a functional team. And the very first version of it was really not something I would be proud to present to my team.
Noticing same problems in many other companies I would like to share the 5 key reasons why CRM doesn't bring dream results automatically:
#1 Choosing of CRM system provider is done without sales people
Top managers, often without a sales background or being too long out of the field, meet a few providers, choose the one that seems to be the best ( for the best price). Often the key choosing criteria is "How much can we control our sales people".
#2 Fait accompli
"Dear sales team, we are about to launch a new CRM system. It wasn't my idea but we have to do it. If You won't have Your visits reported You get no bonus. I am sorry." Despite the fact that such manager would just have lost his authority to the team, the key problem is that most of sales managers can't present and explain all the benefits such system can have. So then it just becomes an irritating reporting tool of "where I've been and whom I spoke with". What if a SM rather says:
- You will save a lot of time as You will have all customer information in one place
- You will better prioritize on wich customer to focus on thanks to Your pipeline tables with potentials revenues
- You will manage Your portfolio more easily by seeing activity history at each big or small client
- You will always know what are Your current results by checking a timeline with revenue charts. So You'll know whether to speed up or be relaxed :)
- You can plan Your sales visits straight in a client's profile and it will get copied to outlook calendar automatically
- You will be able to monitor Your region, sectors, seasonalities etc.
#3 Using CRM as a controlling tool
Many sales managers think that the main reason of why their team doesn't bring results is because they underperform ( or even cheat) in doing sales visits. That of course is a serious problem if that's the thing. But often it is seen as the only possible reason why results are so weak. No wonder that the other things like market conditions, pricing strategy, sector targeting, product and service quality or customer service promptness are overlooked. But humbled sales guys cannot sell, they will not want to and they will probably leave and find a more clever employer.
Think beyond performance and make deeper analysis of what is happening and why it is happening. Discuss it with Your sales team, listen to them and let them help You to find the right direction of Your strategy.
Use CRM data as a great source for analysis and discussion, not as a GPS to track if someone took a nap at a gas station.
#4 Too many visits?
What I still can't believe is how some of huge international companies rock solidly believe that 30-50 or even 80 sales visits a week are doable, bring results and must be done. Even more crazy is the fact that they know their sales people are cheating reports and still substantiate that by saying: "If we gave them a target 20 sales visitis per week they would do only 10. So we give them 30 visits per week and they do at least 20". Clever, isn't it? :) Now seriously, this is happening and no-one except the sales guys them selves consider this a waste of time. Not mentioning what working atmosphere and unhonesty in a team this creates.
So before determining the ideal number of sales visits that should be performed at regular basis, make a deep strategic analysis of Your market compared to Your company goals. Only after You know what is the total revenue of Your potential market, what is the average size of one prospect and what is needed to acquire him ( number of calls, visits, time for decision, implementation, costs..) You can set up a target on number of sales visits. That shall be done for each country separately.
The number of visits very much depends on market sector and services You provide. So it is very relative. Anyway You and Your sales team should be very much united in this.
#5 Forgetting about the sales process it self
Again: CRM is a tool but it is not equal to a sales process. It isn't made to turn sales people into sheeps or asking robots. Sales is not a mechanical thing. It is a very human art. Creativity or psychology are much more welcome than excelent grades in math. Yet so many CRM systems are designed to lead sales people through a sales process like a mommy leads her kid hand to hand. Come on, that doesn't work.
CRM is about quality data, right connections among subjects ( customers, suppliers, partners), activities, clever charts, financial result reports and well-arranged sales funnel. Btw. if You want to read more about some CRMs check The 10 Best Free and Open Source CRM Software Solutions . Another interesting sales tool is also LeadSimple , definitely a tool I would choose for my own company.
Sales process consists of every action leading to sell - including being dressed like a true gentleman, having shoes always pollished, knowing hobbies of a customer, keeping word, doing follow-ups or having a ready made tactics for each type of client ( big, small, resistant, bargaining, international etc.).
Sales process is a system above CRM. It is like a franchise system. If it is designed well even an average sales guy can be very succesful.
If You'd like to have a more detailed chat about #salesprocess just visit me here and I'll be more than happy to support You.