How to Get Sales to Love CRM Back (Video)

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Good morning, everyone. Welcome to this session, which is, “How to get sales to love CRM back” because CRM definitely loves your sales folks since that is its purpose in life. In this session I’ll do a quick introduction, recap why salespeople sometimes hate CRM, what the prospects are expecting, and then ways that sales folks can use CRM to their advantage to implement best practices, which hopefully will lead to a little bit more love for the CRM in your organization. So with that, my name is Wendell Simmons, I’m the senior solution specialist in CRM, one of them. In the past, I’ve been product manager, I’ve been an entrepreneur, a number of startups. I’ve worked in large companies like Oracle and Siebel and Microsoft. And I have, in my past, been a salesperson myself carrying a bag. I ran my own little company for about 10 years. And if anyone else has done that, you know that you’re selling every day. So, I feel for the needs of the salesperson who is trying to hit that number and is overwhelmed with the amount of information coming towards them. And when they’re given CRM, traditionally, it’s been viewed as a tool for management, a little overhead for the sales guy who’s actually trying to make things happen out there, creates a lot of busywork tracking what they’re doing. A big brother-type scenario sometimes develop out there. And this bottom line for most sales folks using CRM, it doesn’t help them sell, at least from their point of view. And that’s true. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

So one thing we would like to think about is today, you know, if your management is using a board like this or this is their aspirations, there’s huge benefits to the management of the sales process using CRM. You can analyze and understand how your actual pipeline works, your sales process works. You can refine and tweak that at the different stages of the decision process of your customer journey. But for the sales guy who’s actually got a couple of dozen or a couple of hundred leads and deals in the pipeline and he’s on the phone and on email all day trying to close the deal, this is not really relevant to him day to day. But we’re gonna talk about that. And before we talk about that, we’re gonna talk about someone else. And that’s the prospect. So the person you’re dealing with as a salesperson, as we all know, has evolved over the years and has evolved quite a bit. Since I carried a sales quota myself, our prospects are much smarter, much busier, and much more demanding. And there’s three things that prospects require, they’re expecting. They expect you to know who they are, what their plans and desires are, what keeps them up at night. They are not expecting you to call them up and ask them, “Oh, what do you do or what’s your main pain points?” They don’t have time for that. They really want you to know that when you first reach them.

They also wanna personalize experience, no spam please. You need to know what my situation is and help me solve my problems and anticipate. If you’re a real partner, you’re gonna anticipate my needs. I don’t have to drag you along in my sales journey. Myself, as a trusted adviser and partner, the prospects are really expecting us to come to them with solutions without them asking, real solutions to their real problems, not new functionality that you think they might like to look at and has a little whiz-bang aspect to it. So that is a background going into a sales call, finding leads is very information intensive because we really have to know a lot more about our prospects, their companies, their goals and issues to have any chance of being…setting ourselves above the rest of our competition because all of our competitors are looking at the same set of prospects and dealing with the same set of expectations. And some are addressing them, some aren’t. So if we think about how could CRM help the salesperson, well, first thing I thought about was, well, what would that look like? It would really probably involve what are the best practices that a salesperson would be using to be successful and how could CRM help them really implement those best practices. So, I did what anyone else would have done. I went to the internet and did a search. And I found 17 best practices of top performing salespeople by Kelly Robertson out of Toronto, a well-respected sales executive. And nowadays, he’s a sales guru as it were.

And his 17 items, which I leave to you to read at your own leisure, obviously, all makes sense. They’re all common-sense things that people need to do but lose track of just due to the pressure that they go through every day, try and hit their number usually. So, I took all of this and kind of broke it down to four buckets. There’s really four big buckets there that Kelly is recommending to us. And it comes around building your pipeline, making that connection to the decision makers and individuals and the organization, gaining their trust, getting to yes, getting to a proposal that they find acceptable. And then after that, how do you land and expand on that because the deal, the first deal hopefully is not the last deal. The first transaction is not the last transaction. So it’s an ongoing process, an ongoing relationship.

So if you think about this. The first one was Kelly says, for building a stronger pipeline, we really need to set our targets. We need to have goals. We need to have a plan, not just for what we’re gonna do today or this week over this month in this quarter. And they need to prospect continuously to keep their pipeline full. And so that’s really challenging because there’s things that needs to be closed today and prospects months out. They’re just the lower priority for many, many people. So, how do we deal with that, and I get caught short of having glitches in our pipeline. There’s a couple of ways we can do that for building a pipeline.

So in CRM, we have things like sales dashboards and deal stage management, and new tools for Microsoft like Sales Navigator. And if we look at… There we go. So this is the Sales Hub in Dynamics 365. And it has a lot of the information that you would be using in managing and building your pipeline. On the left is the pipeline chart, the famous pipeline chart showing through the various stages of a sales, in this case, the estimated dollar value that’s writing at each stage. Other information tracked here. The middle slide frame here is showing you percentage of goal. So goals can be set up. Make it easier to track. You don’t have to keep a separate Excel spreadsheet to see where you are relative to a goal. So you have different kinds of goals set up for your tracking pleasure. And over on the right-hand side, we see our open leads. And we have a variety of ways of looking at our information. We can search it. We can sort it. We can drill down into it. So if we go into our proposed terms, tactics to advance deals, so the tactics to advance the deals to the next stage. We need to understand what those are. And if we do, we can apply those to move each stage to the next. So if I’m clicking on in the pipeline here, I’m gonna click on the proposed part of the graph. And you see, everything’s interconnected in CRM and that now that I’ve on the chart, I’ve selected one of the segments on the right-hand side. It’s now displaying the detail. So here are all of the opportunities that I’m currently working there at that stage. So I now can spend some time focus on these people, these groups right here because they need to be moved to the next stage. What does it take to do that?

And if I need to go and modify and update the information online, I could open each of these records and click on it and make those changes. But if I’m gonna be changing a number of them, I need to like reset these probabilities for instance. As a salesperson, I don’t have time to click through each one of these. So what I’m gonna do is at the top, I’m gonna click on export to Excel, open an Excel online. And this is gonna give us Excel. So I can now go in and edit. I can do formulas. I can do calculations. Most house folks are real Excel jocks, so you would be right at home here. You have a pretty much all of the Excel online functionality at your fingertips. And as you make these edits and changes, the Save button here in the corner is going to save that Excel in the background. And in the background, it’s gonna go and update all of those records. So Excel is a great tool to augment to CRM. A lot of folks use Excel exclusively. And you can continue to use those skills. And if you have some things you like to do in Excel that helps you run your business, you don’t lose that. Matter of fact, you can incorporate that into this business process around CRM. So if we look at this thing, I’ve talked about stages here a couple of times. So if I go into one of these opportunities and look at the stages, you’ll see that out of the box, there’s a set of stages that’s been defined, you qualify the lead. You develop the background for the information. Eventually, you have enough information. You can propose a solution. Once you propose a solution, you can negotiate to close. These stages can be changed. So they should be adapted to your business. They can be dynamic. They can change. Some sales processes are very short and only have two or three steps. They’re reordering something they’ve ordered before. Other sells cycles are very complex, involving a lot of research, a lot of approvals with stages along the way to get to closure.

The business process part, which is what this is called across here, the opportunity sales process adapts to all of those things, and the value of it is for the sales person, it is just giving you some perspective on your bucket of business. If you have several hundred leads and opportunities on your desk, being able to segment them into where they are in their lifecycle just helps you have a better handle on it. For the business and for you operating and working with your sales manager, the real value here is definitions. The company has to come to a common understanding of what does that mean to qualify? What does it mean to be in the development stage? What does it mean to be in the propose, a ready to close stage? So a lot of conversations you may be having with management is helping them understand where your deals are in their process. So this is a tool that helps minimize those conversations hopefully. If you’ve agreed on the definitions, what the stages are, now when your sales manager sees how much money you have, revenue you estimated you have at the develop and propose stages, they understand what that means because you now have a common language, a common set of definitions that you can work with. And that just really cuts down on the amount of conversations and email back and forth about what’s going on with the XYZ deal.

And lastly, another thing that would help in building your pipeline is LinkedIn. So LinkedIn, which is now owned by Microsoft, builds in some capabilities that’s available, which can give you a linkage to the LinkedIn Sales Navigator right within CRM itself within Dynamics. So now you can look and see what connections you have in the organization, who else in your organization has connections in that organization, as well as history of how things are changing in the organization, as there a lot of turnover, a lot of new management, for instance. What does that mean? And LinkedIn information on the individual that you’re communicating with is also available, all within CRM, and can be used to help populate your CRM records, which again, saves you some typing and minimizes errors. So when you’re looking at building your pipeline, there’s a variety of tools that really help that and gives you a way to work with a lot of data without getting overwhelmed or swamped in the end.

So the second thing that Kelly said of best practices for sales folks was really around making the connection. And that was really the meat of the deal, who you’re gonna meet with. Do you have objectives for how you’re going to proceed in those interactions when you do get those interactions with your prospects? Are you focusing on what the prospect really needs? Are you asking and listening to their requirements before you propose? Are you prepared for objections as they throw things your way or if you need to reposition your product to really match with their needs? So these are really the key aspects of your daily life, is working specifically with those prospects. So in making that connection to your prospect, to your customers around those areas, there’s a lot of capabilities within CRM to support that. So you can schedule your next steps. You have a full view of your activities and your history. You can use templates. InsideView is helpful for understanding what’s going on inside the organization, and then a lot of other tools that we can look at. So, for instance, on this one right here back on our opportunity that we were at, so engaging and staying engaged with our prospects, there’s a variety of things that we can do from CRM under activities, the little plus mark here on our timeline in the center. So we can set appointments and emails. Make phone calls, as you can see, tasks. We can use the in mail system in Sales Navigator. We can use messaging, a drive point, which is also part of the Sales Navigator. And we can use things like OneNote as well. So using all of these tools and other potentially custom types of activities may be unique to your business could be added to this list. This gives you the ability to, in one place, manage all of the actions you are going to be having with a customer, which you can do here in CRM. You can also do it on your phone and you can do it in Outlook. One of the super values of that Amex CRM traditionally was integration with Outlook. And that is still in place.

From within Outlook, you can see and set all your appointments and tasks from CRM and vice versa as well as accessing information in the CRM database. So I can create a appointment to review the proposal, for instance. And I can set it for the 8th. There we go. All right. So now I’ve created an appointment. This is now visible on my Outlook calendar. Anyone else on my sales team also sees this as well at this point. And this information is going to be combined with other information inside of Dynamics CRM in my organization. And if I’m using Exchange for my email service, then the system also can utilize that information as well here in the relationship assistant. So as you see in the relationship assistant, it shows you cards of what the system has identified as things that may be relevant to you on a timely basis. So these are kind of time-sensitive cards that display says there’s someone you need to call back. Is there a deal that’s supposed to close at the end of the week that you maybe need to pay more attention to, make sure everything is on track there? And do you have any leads that have gone cold which had high potential? So across all of your activities and things that you’re doing, the relationship assistant looks at all of that and filters through things, through a set of business rules, determine that. These are things that you probably care about right now, and we’ll bring those up. And with that, you notice that I can click and drill right into it from the card to make the adjustment, verify the appointment, whatever I need to do and close the card and go to the next one. So the relationship assistant is an assistant, which there’s an interesting job of looking across all the information that you are acquiring about your business and sorting it down to, these are the key things you probably need to look at today, really critical.

The other aspect functionality that you can get if you’re using Exchange along with CRM is that you can monitor the system, can monitor for any other interactions with that customer or that individual or the company they work for even if those emails are not coming to you. So say you’re working on a proposal at Acme Incorporated that, for a couple of months now, and you’re trying to close that down but you don’t realize that another department at Acme is in communications with another group in your organization over on the East Coast or another department in service, for instance, or customer service. The capabilities called the Outlook engagement, once that’s turned on, the system will monitor all across the Outlook servers, email servers. And if anyone else is communicating with this client that you’re working with, their emails will show up here in this list just like your emails and activities will show up in this list for that customer. So now you’ll see soon whenever you look at this opportunity that Joe in accounting is having a conversation with someone in your prospect. That might be very important to know what that conversation is all about. And otherwise, you could get blindsided on your next visit. So making connections, which is really critical, it’s the core of your best practices. Having that kind of information within your organization of who’s interacting with the prospect is critical along with the other information that is being pulled in from things like InsideView and Sales Navigator. You can track your competitors. And this really is something that… Down here’s a little boxes tracking your competitors, competitors are Washington Distribution in this particular case. On this particular deal, that’s good to know. Maybe there’s two or three competitors and that’s for you. That’s gonna be excellent information because you know how they deal and how you compete against those. The ability to collect that information, especially over time, will give you enormous insights, potentially enormous insights of how you win and lose against competitors. And you can find out what those trends are and really validate if you have some gut feelings about why you win or lose against certain competitors. There’s ways to validate that information once you collect enough competitive deals with them.

And I said that the prospects really wants you to know them, to personalize your experience with them. They don’t wanna be spammed. So as you’re interacting with this prospect, say I want to send them an email. Pretty typical, it’s an email I’m gonna sending out here. And if you’re like me you spend a lot of your day typing out emails, and to some degree it’s somewhat repetitive information, can be. At the top here, we say “insert templates.” That really gives you the ability to not only customize but standardized. If you could have both things at once, there’s a concept of being able to have a set of templates that will fill in yet they are personalized. So here’s the name Tamer, dear Tamer here. And this could be highly customized with kinds of information coming from anywhere within the Dynamics 365 environment can be incorporated into this email template to a Tamer here. So Tamer gets a personalized experience. You as a salesperson did it with a click or two or three clicks at most. And you have the option to provide more rich and meaningful information. If you’re like me, I knock out really short sentences and move on to the next thing, which is great for my time efficiency, but it may not read that way when it’s opened by my prospect. So if you develop templates for some situations that occur over and over and those templates can be built out to be very rich and contain a lot of value, more information and thought that you wouldn’t normally think you have time to commit to each and every email of that sort. Templates allow you to do all the hard work once, optimize your communications, your branding and have that standardized into this template. So it gives the impression that you’re doing a lot more with the time that you have, which is something we all really are trying to achieve these days.

And lastly, in terms of just connections and in terms of best practices, one of them was to ask and to lesson. All right. One way we can do that is when you’re in meetings with prospects is to listen and take good notes basically. And a lot of us spend time in meetings and we’re heads down typing the notes as we’re listening to someone talk and maybe we’re not really fully engaged as we should be. So we pick up those subtle clues and cues about what’s really going on and what’s relevant to the conversation. So OneNote can be integrated into this as well. And so when you have OneNote integration, which doesn’t work right yet, so I must pretend I click and click. So now look, it’s pulled up OneNote. So now with OneNote, not only can I type notes, and I can do this on my phone. I can do it on a tablet while I’m sitting in a conference room or meeting with a CEO. I can write on it with a stylus. I can draw pictures. I can retake photographs. I can record audio. So OneNote is a fantastic information input tool integrated right into this record. So this opportunity for the PC selection, well, has its own OneNote file now. And now as we work through the sales cycle with this, we can refer back to our OneNote documentation that we collected in those sales and that information can actually be translated in OneNote into text and paste it into other parts of the information that we’re storing on this opportunity. So as you can see, there’s a lot of capabilities in CRM today that’s really to help support these best practices for sales without double typing and having to search and call and ask people for information or the status of the different aspects of the project. And eventually, you have a quote. And you want to get to yes, someone needs to sign something. But during that process, how do you identify the deal or decision-makers? Are you dealing with the right people? Are you adapting as more information is revealed to you? Have you clarified all of the issues that they have that you’re trying to address? So in this area of getting the proposal negotiated and signed off, it’s important to track who are all the stakeholders, who are the approvers, who are the gatekeepers, so you can manage all of those relationships. Are you following up and not letting anything fall through the cracks in terms of activity management? They’ve sent an email or left a message asking for an extra piece of information and it’s been sitting for three days. We don’t want that to happen. We won’t be able to adapt how we’re quoting and be able to be very agile with that and get approvals very quickly when we need approvals.

So when we’re in CRM, it’s important to track who our stakeholders are. Down here at the bottom Tamer is our stakeholder and you see two or three other stakeholders here. We can change their roles here if Tamer is not really a generic stakeholder. Tamer is actually the decision-maker. So we figured that out. And we know that these other folks here are approvers for the most part, for different reasons. So understanding who these people are and keeping track of them. And each of these has their own contact record and all our communications with each of those is now being tracked, of course. So we have 360-degree view of the players that we’re gonna work with in closing this deal. Part of that is going to be, probably involve a lot of paperwork. So instead of saving your documents and your specifications on your local hard drives or a shared hard drive that someone maintains on a laptop someplace using SharePoint, the integration with CRM allows you to store that in a secure way in a shareable way from within CRM itself. So if we’re thinking about documents, I’m gonna click on the related option here. So this line across here, summaries of what we’re looking at for the most part on the screen, the LinkedIn company page and member page, we looked at that a few minutes ago. There’s some other capabilities and functions that you may deploy. Another one is documents. So the things related to this opportunity can include a lot of capabilities. One of them is document storage.

So with documents, these documents are now stored that I click and add here, if I upload, there’s an upload button here, we’ll put it into SharePoint, which allows us to not only store it and share it. Give visibility to other folks. There’s versioning. So if you have multiple versions of documents or contracts, then each of those is stored as you make edits and you save it back the same way we kind of did at the Excel a few minutes ago. You can work on a document in Word. It’ll save it back in here to the SharePoint in the background, but you’ll see it only here. You’ll see it here in CRM. You don’t have to go directly to SharePoint unless you want to, to look at it. But it gives you a place to bring all that together because some sale cycles involve a lot of paperwork that needs to be tracked. And once that’s all together and you’re ready to actually make a quote, quotes are generated straight from within the opportunity itself. So here I can create a quote. And as I create each quote, it’ll be listed here, it’s listed here. For instance, I’m gonna add a new quote just using information from the opportunity that we’ve collected during this whole process. And here comes a quote header. And there’s a place for the quote lines, just brought the lines over from the opportunity. I can edit these. I can change the quantities on the pricing. Once I have the quote in the shape that I want it, then I’m going to activate the quote up at the top and that locks it down. So now we have a quote that has been reviewed, approved, effectively locked down so that we can send it to the client to our prospect. If there’s gonna be revisions and they come back and they change something up about this quote, we don’t actually change this quote. This gives us a historical record. What happens is effectively we copy the quote and gives us a new version. So we can have a multiple version. So we can watch and review the history of a deal. So a long complex deal may have a lot of quotes and there may be a postmortem activity action to review how the negotiation cycle ran, what was impacted at each stage of the game. So each of these quotes, and again, we can collect activities and tasks and emails associated with sending this quote back and forth to the client and have that history in place for post analysis, that’s great. In the moment of being a salesperson, you just needed to track those emails and respond to them. As we have seen already, that’s pretty easy to do with CRM.

And we’ll go back to Sales Hub. There we go. I hope you’ve seen some of the ways that some of these best practices and sales can be implemented and be done probably more effectively and more timely using CRM than it would be using Excel and other pieces of sticky notes that you may have. What we’re looking at in particular today is the Sales Hub. So there’s a couple of different ways of getting to the information for sales that Microsoft provides. There is the classic Dynamics 365. If anyone has Dynamics today, that’s probably what you’re looking at. The Dynamics app for Outlook shows up in the Outlook, which we saw a few minutes ago when I supposedly showed you Outlook. And then we’re currently using the Sales Hub, which is most often used by sales folks because it gives you one good place, only focuses in this area here on the left. I can look at all the different options that I have as a salesperson, so they’ve minimized this to just watch relevant to me. There’s no customer service or marketing kind of capabilities shown in this particular views, so that gives us a quick focus. The little arrows next to these things gives us the most recently. So I was recently looking at A. Datum. That was the company we were looking at just a few minutes ago. So I can get back to it really quick. I don’t have to search for it or come back to the screen and do a search in any of these search boxes to get to that. So with that, I will close with land and expand. So there’s always needing and is… You always need to do the next steps. So every step results in the next steps.

Following up after the initial call is super critical. A lot of sales folks don’t seem to do that very well. And for looking for ways to keep in touch with their customers. As we’re saying, we can set up follow up task. We can set up reminders and escalations. We can keep in touch using LinkedIn and using the InsideView that we saw just a few moments. So the process that we’ve been in, we just continue the process, continue the communications of keeping those lines open to our contacts that we’ve developed over the course of the sales cycle. Using LinkedIn and InsideView, we will get updates as to when things change in the organization. So that gives us more fuel for engaging. It shows that we’re paying attention to them if we follow up with an email in the future going, “Oh, I see that you had these changes in your management structure and you’ve gone into this new market segment, fantastic. How can we help you? Something we may recommend that you look at.” Those kinds of communications is what prospects value today. And you can use Dynamics to do that on a scale that you could not do without it. Excel has a limitation of how far it can take such a complex experience as the life of a modern-day salesperson, especially here in the US. So with that, I hope, even if you didn’t gain anything from the specifics of CRM, you’ve had a few moments to think about what are some of the best practices for the sale process itself and are we doing them. Are we letting something slide that we really should put some more focus on as a best practice in any of these four areas here that would really help us hit our numbers and be more successful in the future? So with that, I’m gonna ask, are there any questions?

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