Today’s post is brought to us by Ron Wille in Rochester, NY. Learn more about Ron below. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us today, Ron!
Whether you are a die hard whale hunter or follow some other sales methodology, success in sales really comes down to following a defined sales process. I am not going to get into the specifics about any one process, but I would like to talk about the value in pairing your process with the right technology. I look at technology as a tool and not an end in and of itself. Like any tool, when it is used correctly, it can help you do great things.
I am going to keep this high-level for now but I might spin this into a series if I get positive feedback on what I am about to say. So here goes….
After documenting a solid sales process, I think the #1 tool that should be in place is a properly implemented CRM solution. I talk with hundreds of sales organizations each year and I am still shocked at how poorly technology is being used to drive sales. Either they have no solution in place or they have one but it is a glorified Rolodex.
An organization that is serious about driving new business should be able to use their CRM solution for doing, measuring, learning, coaching and driving a return on their sales investments.
For Doing – Most organizations that use a CRM use it for activity management. What are my reps doing every day kinds of stuff. If they have good reps, the reps are using activities to keep track of next actions to ensure that they are keep promises and keeping things moving.
This is great but you need to be mindful that sales managers and sales reps do not fall into the trap of believing that sales activities = sales. Activities are not the end, they are not the goal. Organizations buying from you is the goal.
Organizations that have moved beyond tracking activities are using CRM to build complete customer and prospect profiles or as used in The Whale Hunters Process, Scouting Dossiers. This helps drive future target filters as well as have a more complete picture of a target organization so that you can watch for buying signals or in general ask them better questions in the sales process.
For Measuring – A well implemented CRM solution will help you measure what is working, what might need an adjustment and where your organization is against plan.
An organization serious about sales growth should be able to answer the following, and it should be a simple as running a report or viewing a dashboard. To name just a few of the important things….
- Sales Per Rep
- Sales Per Service / Product
- Sales Against Plan
- Win / Loss Ratios
For Learning – Sales organizations that have moved beyond activity tracking are using their CRM for learning.
- What is your win ratio and why?
- What is does your pipeline look like? And is it shrinking or growing?
- What is the dollar value of deals sitting in each stage of your sales process?
- Where do your leads coming from?
- What is really your average size deal?
- How long is your sales cycle really?
- How accurate are your forecasts?
Just to name a few of the important learnings.
For Coaching – When I talk about coaching people automatically focus on coaching the sales reps. But an organization serious about driving new business should be able to use their CRM solution to also coach their sales managers, their sales reps or the entire organization. This coaching is often over looked.
CEO’s are hiring me to help their Sales Executives and Manager to better understand and use their CRM solution to manager their sales teams more effectively. If your sales team is not performing is it a sales rep issue, a sales manager issue and an organizational one. Who really needs the coaching?
For Taking Action – Weather it is using your CRM to measure where you are against plan or to learn how long your sales cycle real is, it is really helping you to take further action. Should you coach Jimmy the sales rep some more or let him go? Do you need to drive more marketing because your pipeline is shrinking? Which lead generation activities are driving the highest return?
Sales is fluid and you need to move with it. Waiting until the end of the year to see how you are doing or what you should change is too late. You need accurate and timely info a well implemented CRM can help.
For Driving Return – Organizations will spend thousands of dollars on training, seminars, marketing, defining new sales processes and on the most expensive resources…people. But they do not look to spend on their technology in support of these initiatives. What is hard to believe is that everyone I speak with agrees that technology is a tool that will create leverage in their sales departments. That CRM is important. That technology will help their sales managers to be more affective, their sales reps to be more efficient, that it will help their organization to learn and take action. But so few are willing to invest what is really needed to give your organization the right technology, the right tools.
Websters defines a tool as “something necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession.” A well implemented CRM solution is not a nice to have, it is a necessity in our sales profession.
Ron Wille is a Certified Partner with The Whale Hunters. He has been helping organizations better leverage their technology to achieve superior performance for almost 20 years. Prior to founding BlackTab, Ron was the coCEO of NimbleUser.