CRM and Sales Reps… at last, the end of the love-hate relationship! What I’m about to say may seem obvious, but bear with me ...
Whatever the size of your business – whether you’re a creative entrepreneur selling online courses from your tiny guestroom-turned-office or you’re heading a multinational corporation providing complex software solutions to blue-chip organisations – you need a solid CRM system to work from.
You need it because this is where all your business intelligence resides; your prospects, your customers, your competitors’ details, your sales reps’ meeting notes…
And it’s here, where it starts becoming a little bit less obvious.
You may have had the privilege to have been around when your current CRM system was selected (and if you weren’t, I’m sure you have heard the war stories). Expectations were flying high, as you foresaw simpler times ahead where your reps would finally have a tool to help them sell more, learn more and share more. Forecasting would be clearer, business decisions easier to make and the data accumulated within the realms of your CRM would set you miles ahead of your competitors.
Fast-forward to the present day and the reality is perhaps a little different. Your reps and the CRM you selected for them have developed a strange love-hate relationship – in that CRM loves your reps but your reps hate your CRM. Far from seeing it as a productivity tool created to propel their own success, they see it as a management spy tool, only on to catch them out.
This unrequited love has left your poor CRM in ruins. Unvisited, its data has become out-dated, knowledge and innovative new techniques are not being shared amongst your team members and CFOs have nowhere to turn when they’re trying to predict the next quarter. It’s time to press ‘eject’ and leave this sinking ship at the bottom of the ocean.
Or maybe, we should stop blaming our CRM for something that’s not really its fault. And if we’re going to point fingers, let’s aim them directly at our users and the people leading them. It is their behaviours and bad habits that are ruining our chances of building a solid and profitable knowledge base.
How can we turn our users from haters to lovers?
The main users of CRM are salespeople. And salespeople are renowned social beasts who thrive on competition. They much rather spend that extra hour making 10 more calls than filling out reports. This, albeit laudable, is a double-edged sword.
Yes, we want our sales guys to be self-starters that relentlessly chase up our leads but we also need them to be strong pillars to our teams. Lone wolves hungry for their next commission cheque will not reinforce your business. Sure, they may boost your revenue but the knowledge they possess on your prospects and deals will go with them if they decide to leave the business.
So, how do we get the team to start using our CRM system properly?
If it’s not on the system, it doesn’t exist:
From today, start leading your team through your CRM system, evaluating deals only if these have the appropriate back story recorded in the system. Warn reps that if the deals they close don’t have the appropriate steps within the system, they will not count towards their commission. This ought to get them paying attention...
Manage by Leading rather than Lagging KPIs:
Lagging KPIs are the indicators that tell us what has happened, the final output of our efforts (e.g. £100K deal closed) these are easy to measure but very difficult to impact. On the other hand, Leading KPIs track the steps necessary to reach our KPIs (e.g. 50 calls a day, 4 face-to-face customer meetings a week etc.) and so, have the biggest impact on our end results. By working out exactly what Leading KPIs make your Lagging KPIs happen, you will be able to influence the overall performance of them. Use these to coach your team so, rather than telling a sales guy to ‘sell more’, encourage them to ‘make more calls’.
Reward the journey, not just the destination:
Typically, reps are measured on their end results; like how many deals they closed this month. But, if what you want to do is improve their CRM usage, start rewarding them every time they use the system to update their meeting notes, set closing dates or add new contact details. Using an app like SuMo Motivate will help you to easily track and monitor these positive behaviours, offering coaching prompts at the time of action and rewarding users with points and badges every time they use the system correctly. Start small and only increase the complexity of what you’re asking your reps to do when the new behaviours become habitual.
You are already sitting on the only resources you need to bust your quarter – your team and your CRM tool. All you need to do is supercharge the relationship between these two great assets. Better user adoption will lead to insightful data, a stronger, more knowledgeable team, clearer forecasts and a happier CFO.