C-Suite Network™

CRM:  Compliance Hammer or Performance Instrument?

“Thanks to my CRM for helping me win that deal” said no salesperson ever.  In fact, CRM is almost universally looked on as serving management, not sales.  Salespeople view CRM as a hammer to measure compliance, not a tool.  CRM utilization is a constant battle, where management doesn’t trust reports compiled from inadequate usage.

Why the shortcoming?

Today’s CRMs, in even the most sophisticated implementations, track seller activities, not deal-moving sales behaviors.

I just finished reading a new client’s sales process document, which defines sales stages, tells the company’s sales professionals what tasks should be completed in which sales stage, and what resources are there to help them. It was a very thorough document, obviously well thought out and logically presented in considerable detail. It was tightly integrated with the company’s CRM system, and sellers can easily track the activities outlined in the playbook.  Of “selling process/CRM integration” efforts I’ve seen, this one is above average.

Here’s the thing:  in 35 pages, the customer’s buying process was almost invisible:  There was almost no insight into the customer’s journey, what it might look like, or who might be involved.

  • While several common roles were mentioned, zero coverage was given to what each role commonly looks for, or how they interact.
  • There was no mention of common value drivers at all – unless you count “provide test reports on features where we outperform competitors”. That is, there was not attempt to ascertain which product advantages might actually result in customer value.  And, actionable information like which value drivers might apply to which common buying personas was completely off of the radar screen.
  • While the sellers were doing all of their well-regulated selling activity, there was no mention of what complementary buying actions they should expect the customer to be doing.
  • There was strong emphasis on investing time and resources on the best customers, but no real definition what “best customer” looks like, other than “spends the most”.No particular mention of whether they are a fit for this company’s premium products, and certainly no attempt at a scoring system for “best customer”.

The difference between “above average” and “world class” is powerful.  World class selling organizations implement sales methodologies which address these (and other) gaps.  Miller Heiman Group clients have had the ability to overlay such methodologies on their CRMs.

What does the difference get you?

When you have a methodology that aligns selling and buying processes, then helps sales people diagnose the actions that will keep customers moving along their buyer’s journey, several things happen:

  1. You can identify deal-moving sales behaviors
  2. You can diagnose at-risk deals in time to rescue them…and know how.
  3. You can replicate high-performance behaviors across your entire sales team.

This sounds pretty powerful, right?  When sales leaders, particularly front-line sales managers, are able to diagnose and coach within a dynamic coaching culture, sales performance outcomes improve dramatically.

A new generation of CRM is the next innovation in sales performance:  What if your CRM was able to do some of the diagnosis automatically, so that front-line sales manager diagnosis time wasn’t the bottleneck? You’d really have something, wouldn’t you?

The new generation of CRM is here.  It’s an instrument for sales performance improvement, not the same old compliance hammer.  It’s combined with the world’s most highly respected methodology for complex selling…a methodology updated for even greater results for today’s generation of sellers. Where traditional CRMs measure seller activities, this new CRM is centered on selling behaviors that move deals, identify at-risk deals, and coach performance electronically.

Is the view worth the climb?

Adopting any new system is a substantial investment of resources.  While having a more manageable sales system is valuable to managers; real ROI comes from having a dynamic coaching culture.  Close rates climb by an average of 18%.  The view – the return – is high.  The results have been proven over decades.

Our new system is the easiest to implement way to achieve that dynamic coaching culture in existence. The climb – the cost — has never been easier.

This set of instruments are easy to customize to many businesses.  I’m happy to spend some time with you learning about your unique situation to see if we can apply this powerful solution to your needs, the way you need.  Contact me if you want to talk more.

To your success!

Mark Boundy

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