The Painless Way to Merge CRMs Post-Acquisition
… the emotion-based relationships that founded CRM 1.0. This means sellers are in need of different tools. They need technology that puts them ahead of deals. They need better forecast accuracy. They need mobile-first design. Ultimately, sellers need a tool that enhances their training, bringing sales strategies into focus with data and analytics.
CF: How critical is a CRM system for a modern enterprise?
AR: A traditional CRM is nothing more than a system of record. It won’t help salespeople sell more. It’ll simply help sales organizations report on selling.
To get to the core of sales and help the seller manage the client relationship to close a deal, companies need solutions driven by methodology. After all, how do you know what one person’s sales stage means if you aren’t tied to a common set of actions?
To get sales organizations to embrace sales technology, it must be backed by proven sales methodology that guides the actions of sellers on the ground and helps sales reps improve their win rates. Two, three or four different CRM systems won’t solve this problem. Sales organizations need tools that they can add to their CRM or use standalone that will use data backed by analytics to help sellers improve win rates.
CF: What should companies be looking for when selecting a new CRM system?
AR: Before you decide to invest in a CRM, I’d encourage every sales leader to have a consistent, repeatable, data-driven point of view on how to close a deal. If they don’t, a CRM is just an expensive spreadsheet.
The key is to find a tool that aligns around a sales methodology that the sales organization can live and breathe everyday. Data-driven sales technology aligned around a core methodology will deliver results every time.
We discovered it was almost impossible to merge Miller Heiman Group’s sales methodology into a traditional CRM, which prompted us to initiate the build of Scout. We wanted every seller action tied to CRM to be aligned to our methodology and aligned to closing a deal. Without that connection, your sellers are just filling out spreadsheets.
CF: Any other best practices you’d like to share?
AR: I would caution any sales leader not to buy a system without an implementation plan. Most CRMs are the same system they were 15 years ago when introduced to the market. Ask yourself, is this tool going to help you close deals? Can you take actions against the data in these tools?
Talk to your sellers, take into account their feedback and remember that selling time equals revenue. Creating a consistent, repeatable CRM process that is easy to absorb for sellers is key. Plan to train twice as much as you think you need to — and plan for it to take longer and cost more than you expect. It’s a lot like working with a contractor on a house plan for 20% contingency across time, cost and resources.
Sales and marketing executives know that data means everything when it comes to making critical business decisions. Shouldn’t we provide the same type of data to one of the organization’s most important assets — the sellers who talk to customers every day?
We like to say that you need to see the move that moves the deal. This is why I urge sales leaders to seek out technology solutions that serve as deal-closing machines within the organization. The critical tool that helps sellers sell more tomorrow isn’t going to be the same tool they’re using for forecasting and compliance today.