Don't Let Your CRM System Be a Sales Black HoleDon't Let Your CRM System Be a Sales Black Hole
Today’s CRM systems are meant to help organizations manage their entire sales pipeline more efficiently, data mine and prospect better, and more accurately forecast revenue. But, like anything else technology-related, they are no good if they aren't effectively used.
January 15, 2014
For solution providers, or any professional services company for that matter, managing salespeople can be a tumultuous task. They are usually Type A personalities that are self-motivated and don’t conform easily to processes and procedures.
However, manage them you must because they are on the front lines representing your company, products and services and, therefore, have tremendous influence over your revenue flow. Most goods and services don’t sell themselves (Apple consumer products aside), so having sales rhinos can either make or break your company. The problem is usually chasing them down for updates on proposals and prospecting.
But while motivating, incenting and managing sales individuals requires a skilled manager, keeping track of their customer communications, touch points, proposals and prospects can be greatly assisted through the implementation of a customer relationship management system (CRM).
Today’s CRM systems are meant to help organizations manage their entire sales pipeline more efficiently, data mine and prospect better, and more accurately forecast revenue. They also can create an environment of collaboration and resource-sharing, allowing sales to access the latest customer information to service them better. In other words, it forces sales professionals to share their information with the rest of the company so there are fewer surprises come end of month or end of quarter time.
But, like anything else technology-related, just throwing money at it isn’t the answer. We saw this last decade with enterprise resource planning (ERP). Organizations spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ERP deployments only to find out that if executive management doesn’t support the move and nobody uses it, then it will obviously fail.
Company executives and sales managers need to use their CRM system and be active in it to communicate with their sales professionals, thus creating their own internal environment. If salespeople don’t see their supervisors using the system and holding them accountable as to what is input to the system, then they, too, will ignore it.
While sales professionals need the freedom to manage their own schedule and move at their own pace, they can be corralled if you as a business owner or leader use the very same technology to manage them. By fully embracing CRM you should be able to manage the sales pipeline better; keep track of latest meetings, contracts and proposals; and share information and manage workflow—creating more sales opportunities and efficiencies and, hopefully, fewer headaches.
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