For the last 50 years, Sales Managers have been focusing on 3 activities: reporting, measuring and controlling. The tools used to do so evolved from paper reports, computer reports, to more sophisticated real-time and mobile-enabled information tools.
As Paul Evrard from Microsoft stated at our last annual Sales Summit (in November 2014), having a CRM or a Marketing automation system is no longer an achievement for your company. However simply using technology is not enough to boost your Sales Performance. Sales Managers have to consider the human and collaborative aspects and therefore change the way they work with their teams to leverage all the possibilities of their CRM tool.
Today, as probably 25 years ago, most of the information recorded and measured through CRM systems is related totracking business results (28%) and listing sales objectives (55%). Besides this, the same research conducted by Vantage Point Performance (and captured in the book Cracking the sales management code®) reveals that only 17% of the metrics are related to measuring sales activities while these are the only metrics actually manageable.
As shown in the graph below, many companies in Europe face different challenges in their business development strategy, often resulting in a feeling of CRM failing to meet the objectives (D&B, 2013).
In order to avoid this CRM failure, some key recommendations for Sales Managers are:
- Make relevant funnel and prospect information available and visible; define a single source of truth, through customized dashboards
- Stimulate Sales executives to prepare Sales (Management) meetings using the data captured in the CRM. The CRM can act as key tool to prepare sales and management meetings for both Sales Reps and Sales Management
- Avoid time consuming management activities; like endless sales meetings or emails. Instead, consider using collaborative platforms or mobile collaboration tools to spread same information real-time (opposed to manual data crunching shared in emailed attachments)
- Turn static forecasts into more frequent discussion touch-points; to track funnel and opportunities progresses or to coach your sales executives on those activities that can make them reach their objectives (and finally end results)
- Act as a CRM user Ambassador in your company and encourage Sales Executives to integrate it in their current routines and define incentive schemes (linked to quantitative and qualitative criteria)
- Ensure monitoring of the data quality through “data quality dashboards”; to increase the trust in the data recorded in the CRM and prevent discussions on its reliability
- In the process of lead-qualification, involve the marketing function; rather than limiting their role to “injecting” leads in the CRM funnel
- Embrace the opportunities offered by new and customizable cloud technologies; to answer specific needs that aren’t often feasible in your monolithic ” CRM legacy “