CRM systems have been in use for over twenty years and have become about as commonplace as mobile phones, energy drinks, and reality TV shows. Companies of all sizes have implemented CRM, and they have done so for a variety of reasons. CRM can increase productivity, drive process and efficiency improvement, help grow customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as increase collaboration and communication.
But according to a recent CRM.com poll, the most common motivation for implementing CRM is “to enhance revenue and grow market share”. Big surprise, huh? Companies buy CRM to help them sell more. But unless your CRM does these three things, its effectiveness as a tool by which to increase sales is limited:
CRM should help your sellers win deals
Sales people are like everyone else in that they will use the tools and technology they find to be effective in helping them do their job better. A CRM that is simply a repository of customer information may serve its purpose for other business functions, but it is not particularly helpful to a salesperson. CRM needs to do more than store data. CRM should analyze data and alert sellers to potential danger zones that could cause them to lose an opportunity and recommend ways to address those danger zones. It should highlight which areas of a customer’s business it would be most advantageous to emphasize during a sales presentation. CRM should even help sellers win deals by pointing out the ones they are likely to lose, enabling them to spend more time where the odds are better.
CRM should facilitate contextual learning
It’s OK to send sellers to a training class, as long as it isn’t your expectation that they will remember much of what they’ve learned thirty days later. Salespeople don’t need learning when you think it’s time to schedule a class. They need access to learning within the context of what they do every day. CRM should be the gateway to a refresh of effective prospecting skills when a seller sits down to work the phones. It should enable a quick review of negotiating basics in the customer parking lot prior to a meeting with procurement. And CRM should provide a way for both sellers and managers to track learning and measure its effectiveness.
CRM should make your managers better coaches
Perhaps the most critical role of a sales manager is that of a coach. Sales managers who are effective coaches are the ones who find ways to make as many manager/seller interactions as possible developmental in nature. CRM should drive and enable those interactions. CRM should provide managers with a window into sales performance beyond pipeline and revenue. It should make it easier to identify performance and behavior gaps that are negatively impacting sales. It should recommend specific questions to ask in order to diagnose the root cause of under-performance. And CRM should point a manager to learning specifically designed to address that root cause.
A CRM that does these three things will not only help drive sales, it just might have the added benefit of encouraging sellers to actually use it. If your CRM doesn’t already do these things, I’d recommend you find one that does.