Recently we were working with a customer and we re-engineered their sales processes as well as moved them from one CRM instance to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
We did a post implementation review 60 days after go live and the sales end users could not believe the difference as well as management noted the increase in utilization. We discussed the factors that were involved in the increase of utilization in this instance vs. the previous CRM. And although there were some nuances on the functionality and usability front it boiled down to the people element during and after the implementation.
1. In this engagement we identified 1 - 2 power users that would be accountable to police the system and the sales team from day one.
2. We setup standardized sales processes with the sales team input during the implementation process with a hands on approach before go live.
3. The CRM Admin/Sales Coordinator and a full understanding as well as authority to manage the sales team regarding their sales tracking and training needed.
4. Training was setup on regular intervals driven by the internal sales coordinator with help from our team.
5. Sales meetings were driven by live CRM Dashboards and management held sales users accountable for those sales metrics and goals.
All of the above sounds more common sense than not but the organization had taken this approach previously but did not have the right internal person or persons to really run with the ball. As well as giving them the authority they needed to be effective.
The sales support team continues to provide training, changes, and updates; however, their focus has been now transitioned to more analytical role providing management insight into the metrics so they can manage, coach, and train from a sales skill set perspective.
Copyright © 2014 Dave Neal
The owner of one of our clients wanted to improve his top line sales performance. Since most of his sales team was 100% commission, they functioned very independently with focus on their respective customers and problems.
There was little semblance of a functional sales team feeding off one another, sharing experiences, and business. Each sales person was an entrepreneur with individual ideas and tactics loosely associated with the organization’s greater purpose and goals.
As a result, strategic planning from the company’s stand point was disjointed and the collective effort was sub optimized.
The owner suggested developing Individual Sales Plans (ISP’s) for each sales professional, then connecting commonalities and the beginning of a “pseudo” team environment. The idea was to capture best practices and reinforce collaboration.
The sales people predictably resisted the idea, sighting wasted time and restrictive planning procedures that limited their individual earning ability.
The underling psychological perception was if they have a plan and share it with management, much less other sales team members, the end result would be loss of power and control of their destiny.
In addition, the sales people had evolved to see their activities and sales as strictly their own vs. the organizations. They were simply mercenaries or hired guns.
The ultimate solution required a number of systemic changes:
Copyright © 2014 Dave Neal
During a recent sales training event a spirited debate started to rage regarding the relative merits of today’s sales technology, as manifested in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.
I‘ll bet you can’t guess who said, “Technology (CRM)
limits my natural sales skills and wastes productive selling time.” On the other hand, who extorted the virtues of technology and stated, “It’s the future and you better embrace it or you still are the guy with a bunch of VHS tapes collecting dust in your closet?”
You’re probably right on both counts; the former were the seasoned sales professionals not wanting to be hemmed in by technology and the latter were the new generation betting everything on speed and scalability. Images swirled in my head of Wile E. Coyote using various technology driven contraptions to catch the faster road runner. But in fact did he ever catch him?
As the discussion took a rather black and white tact, I was shocked that both perspectives missed the concept of achieving a sense of balance.
The seasoned pros were worried that their creativity, flexibility, individuality and indeed personality would be lost in the technological morass. Conversely, the new generation was convinced emails, voice mails, go to meetings, video conferences, social networking and web sites etc. were the key to selling in today’s market place.
The reality is the best sales professionals pull unabashedly from both worlds.
There is and will always be a need for relationship building, personal presentations and face to face contact with customers. Over use of technology removes an important part of solidifying and enhancing the sales process especially in larger deals.
Statistics demonstrate people still buy from people and those with the best interpersonal skills including the ability to listen and ask great questions still have a significant leg up.
Having said that, the marvelous technology as manifested in various CRM industry leading systems (Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce.com, SalesLogix, etc.) is the enabling tool that allows the ability to track the voluminous amount of information required to compete and win.
One common behavior we see in high performing sales teams is an environment where generations feed off one another. This collaboration accelerates adaptation of best practice sales methods and the latest sales technology solutions.
Copyright © 2014 Dave Neal
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