Those who follow my blogs know my passion for CRM.  I write about it because I am encouraged by those readers and because I advocate for a better understanding of how to gain the maximum out of your CRM.

For over 18 years, I have lived and breathed ERP & CRM, specifically NetSuite.  The basic theory of ERP is that each transaction is just part of the data flow. If you keep the documents moving, you keep the information alive.  So, a sales order’s natural state is for it to be invoiced and fulfilled and if this isn’t happening then further attention is required. It’s very easy to focus on the areas needing attention in this data environment.  Nothing is ‘updated as a task’ it’s ‘updated as a process’.

However, in the CRM world it astounds me that more often, than not we expect our sales team to update the CRM as a task.  Using this theory means all that happens is:

  1. Only what the sales person wants you to see goes in – which means you never get the full story
  2. It always happens just before the weekly sales meeting

…And we as management grumble about how the CRM is not reliable.

To break this pattern, I believe we need to change our views, shift the perspective so the sales team sees the benefit of CRM and thus enable management to benefit.

(See my article CRM Pipeline Statistics)

If you want your CRM to really work for you, give your sales team the tools that help them improve their performance.  Allow your CRM to be accessible on the technology that they use every day, embed the training and supporting material into their activity stream so they have what they need to succeed on hand when they need it.  What can assist the sales environment is to close the loop by automating actions to ensure we capture the full story of the sales cycle.

For example, if we automatically open an opportunity when a second meeting (fact finding) is completed, we’re creating a task (close the un necessary opportunities) but also saving effort because the opportunity is ready and waiting.  Whether this particular automation is considered a time saver or a time consumer, be assured that 100% of the time management will get a more, because you’ll have a clear view of your win/loss ratio – and that knowledge is gold!

People use systems that offer them benefit and they tolerate systems that are painful but mandated by management.  If you want the real view of your sales cycle, let your sales teams tell you the story in an accurate and well organised activity pipeline and this will filter into an accurate financial pipeline.  Management will then be able to use this information to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources within the sales team and this will effectively filter through to the rest of your business.

If your sales strategy needs innovation call @FraserMorrison.  If your CRM Data Points need to be aligned with your strategy, I would welcome the opportunity to share my passion and success with you.