Unless you’ve managed to be media free for the past decade, you are very well aware of the digital explosion that has happened. Anyone can be an authority on anything. A corollary of this is that everyone is doing extreme diligence on all of their purchases whether it be ‘official’ online reviews via the likes of Amazon, or unofficial reviews via Twitter and Facebook. This has helped contribute to the fact that customers are 57% of the way through the purchase process by the time they contact you.
As a sales professional you know that this, along with other changes, have affected the way you need to operate in order to help both you and your clients be successful. You have needed to adapt – improving processes, using new tools, or introducing new products.
Many sales organizations have started to leverage some sort of customer relationship management (CRM) software somewhere along their journey. CRM at its very basic level allows for organized data capture of client information allowing for the sales process to be more fluid. Amped up, CRM offers:
- dashboards to better manage key performance indicators (KPIs) in real-time
- lead and opportunity management so you can move items through the funnel
- easy reporting for better decision making
- workflows that manage processes simply
As great as these features are at improving the way sales operates, there are still some weaknesses. CRM is only as good as the info you put in. Some companies never manage to fully adopt their CRM solution rendering it essentially useless. Garbage in = Garbage out. If the CRM system is adopted, the next challenge is convenience. Sales people are NEVER at their desk. Hopping on to a laptop and connecting to the network isn’t always convenient. How do you put info into a system when it’s a pain to do so? If you don’t record your info right away, it is easy to forget details or to put anything in all together.
Often we ignore the fact that there is sales intel outside of the CRM system. A great sales person always leverages online searches and social media prior to a meeting. But, even the most seasoned and disciplined sales person can forget to do this diligence.
How does sales leverage CRM better?
The latest from Microsoft, Dynamics CRM 2013, has been built with the cultural changes and challenges listed above in mind so that sales can excel in today’s reality. It has enhanced mobility features to help improve adaptation and ensure information gets into the system. It also makes that information available on the go. Insight is improved through integration with LinkedIn and the latest news via the Internet offering a 360 degree view of the client. Finally, it has been designed to keep sales as productive as possible so that time isn’t wasted putting information in to CRM.
What do I know about the changing times in sales and why sales should leverage CRM? I work in Marketing. It’s changing too. To learn more about the transformation of sales read The Dynamic Sales Team white paper.
What are the steps in a CRM implementation? What are the biggest causes of failure? How long will it take?