Customer Relationship Managers are, when they’re used correctly, beneficial tools for any organisation. From the insights they can provide sales managers to integrations with other platforms that help sellers have informed conversations, CRMs can become a vital resource at every level of your business.
But is your CRM actually helping you?
More specifically, is it helping your sales team?
To answer this question, we need to split the conversation around CRMs into three areas: the seller, the sales manager and the organisation.
CRMs and Sellers
For the sellers, CRMs are designed to keep track of all your customer interactions, help you know what stage your deal is at and what your next actions should be based on your previous conversations with the customer.
This should be an enormous benefit to any salesperson, because even with just five or six clients, it can be very easy to lose track of what you promised in your last conversation, or what price point you negotiated two weeks ago.
In the world of high volume, low value sales, automation is king. If you’re dealing with 200 customers a quarter, you simply don’t have time to be constantly filling out reports or recording your actions in your CRM.
Having a CRM that automatically logs your phone calls, emails, or even WhatsApp messages takes that task out of the hands of the seller or sales manager, and frees them up to do what they really want to do; sell.
CRMs and Sales Managers
For Sales Managers, CRMs are designed to give them a clear overview of the health of their sales pipeline – they need to be able to see at a glance the value, volume and velocity of their pipeline, and where each seller is at in their respective deals.
A good CRM will also help the sales manager to see whether the deals which are currently in the pipeline are going to be good or not. This is mostly achieved through lead indicators like last seller engagement or the sales price always ending in a 0.
In the increasingly fast-paced world of sales, being able to see this information clearly and concisely helps the sales manager make key decisions effectively and efficiently, which will empower both the sellers below them and the executives above them to do their own jobs more effectively.
CRMs and the Organisation
For the organisation, CRMs are reporting tools that enable them to generate sales forecasts, which in turn helps inform the organisation’s approach to resource allocation and investment.
CRMs like Salesforce are exceptional at reporting, and so they are heavily geared towards the organisation. However, the layout, the way it thinks and the way it performs tasks serve as excellent boons to the organisation as a whole, but they can actually become a hindrance for your sales team.
When faced with a tool like Salesforce, sellers and sales managers can often find themselves reporting far more than they are selling.
Sellers want to get out and sell, but they can very quickly find themselves at their desk, recording actions more than they are taking action.
This leads to salespeople doing one of three things;
- They will stop using the CRM altogether, leaving the business to run on guesswork
- They will hide their poor performance behind the “oppression” of the CRM
- Worst-case scenario, they will bluff their numbers, leading to wildly inaccurate forecasts and wasted resources
So, what’s the solution?
Garbage In, Garbage Out
There’s a principle within the world of sound engineering that applies very directly to this conversation; garbage in, garbage out. If you’re mixing a live event or in a studio, and the musicians are playing badly and giving you “garbage”, no matter how well you mix it or tweak the EQ or add gates and filters, the end result is going to be garbage.
This translates perfectly to the world of CRMs and sales forecasting. If your sellers are bluffing their numbers into the CRM, it doesn’t matter how well-tuned your forecasting process is after that point, you’re going to get inaccurate forecasts.
Let’s look at the inverse truth – if you can get your sales teams to put healthy, quality data into your CRM, you’re going to get accurate, reliable forecasts.
You need to provide your sellers and your sales managers with a tool that makes it easier for them to provide you with information you need to forecast accurately. If good data goes in, good reports will follow.
Good reports produce good forecasts, and good forecasts produce happy customers and happy shareholders.
The effective use of CRMs can be a tricky, multi-dimensional concept to get right within your organisation, but that simple principle – quality data produces quality reports – should be the guiding light at all three levels of your business, from sellers to sales managers to the organisation itself.
Here at Mentor Group, we have a world-class team of consultants, coaches and subject matter experts who can help you choose the right CRM for your sales team, or help you maximise the benefits of the CRM you're already using.
Get in touch with us today to see how Mentor Group can get you started on your journey towards selling more often, for more money, faster than ever before.