CRM isn’t Superman (it won’t solve your sales problems)
Superman. He’s arguably the most famous superhero of all time—an overpowered, incorruptible, practically invincible god among men. Whether you have a cat up in a tree or an asteroid about to decimate the earth, Superman is always there to save the day. There is no problem too big for Superman to solve.
Wouldn’t it be great if Superman could swoop in to save the day for your sales quota? He could just use his x-ray vision to identify the problems in your sales process, zoom over to the issue and pummel it to nothing with one quick punch.
Sounds fantastic. Sounds completely unreasonable (as it usually goes with Superman plots), but also really sweet!
Too often, sales management relies on CRM as the solution to all of their problems, as if increasing sales rep adoption of CRM will result in 100% quota attainment and a huge boost in win rates.
It doesn’t work that way. Let’s consider the following scenario…
Through some method (gamification, threatening your reps, voodoo magic, etc.), you manage to get 100% sales rep adoption of CRM. Every single rep is using your CRM to log their sales activities, manage opportunities and review their daily task list.
Awesome. Now how does that help them sell more?
Well, they’re spending more time creating follow-up tasks so that they don’t forget to reach out to prospects. I suppose that’s a good thing, aside from the time taken away from selling.
They’re spending more time planning out what to do each day. That’s a good thing, assuming your reps are really good at prioritizing the right opportunities.
Your CRM data is much more complete, which is great, but that’s far more useful for management than it is for sales (and it comes at the cost of spending time logging data instead of selling more).
In short, it doesn’t help them sell more. There are benefits, but those benefits come at the cost of making sales reps spend more time wading through CRM’s clunky interface doing basic data entry instead of engaging with buyers.
There is no single perfect solution for improving sales.
Maybe you’re pushing CRM when the real problem lies in sales training reinforcement. Maybe your sales reps are struggling with finding enough time in the day to interact with buyers (in which case, pushing CRM really isn’t going to help). Maybe the problem legitimately does lie with sales reps who aren’t logging data into CRM.
The point is that in order to improve sales, you need to pinpoint the biggest problems within your sales process, then consider what solution will legitimately have the greatest impact on fixing it, instead of jumping straight to the “CRM will solve everything” mindset.
Canning CRM isn’t the answer either.
“Hey, you’re right. CRM is holding my sales reps back! Let’s throw out CRM entirely!” Hold on there, Jethro. Let’s not be hasty.
CRM on its own won’t get you the results you’re looking for, but you shouldn’t ignore all the good things that CRM provides, such as that fantastic sales data.
Research from Aberdeen found that CRM expanders (AKA companies who build onto CRM with additional functionality and systems) achieve far better results than companies who are planning on reducing or maintaining CRM in these areas:
- 32% higher overall team attainment of sales quota
- 24% more sales reps achieving individual quota
- 11% more quotes resulting in orders
- 5% higher customer retention
Okay, how do I “expand” CRM?
Excellent question! CRM may not be Superman, but you can form your own sort of Justice League by combining the individual strengths of different sales and marketing tools into one integrated, complete sales ecosystem.
This is important for two main reasons: it keeps your team from having to jump from one tool to the next to the next (and receive separate training for each one), and it connects all of your data so that you can pull useful insight from it.
Here are seven CRM integrations that I consider essential for an effective, useful sales ecosystem:
Your reps likely spend a ton of time in an email client. Does it make sense for them to switch back and forth between CRM and email client to review past communication, log each email sent and find new opportunities to reach out to? No, it does not. Integrate the two so that reps can access their CRM right within their email client.
2) Activity tracking/logging
Think about how much time your reps spend logging information into CRM (the industry average is about 5.5 hours per week, per rep). By using activity tracking software, all of your sales reps’ activities can be logged into CRM automatically. This gives your reps more time to spend on high value selling activities, and it actually improves the accuracy and completeness of your CRM data.
3) Marketing automation
Your marketing team is collecting tons of valuable data about buyers right from the moment they start researching your solution. Why wouldn’t you leverage that data within your sales process? Integrate marketing automation and CRM to sync data together so that both marketers and sales reps always have up to date awareness of what’s going on with buyers.
Modern B2B selling environments don’t have reps at their desks 24x7, but that doesn’t mean your reps aren’t able to engage with prospects. Give your reps access to sales resources, content personalization tools, past buyer communication and CRM straight from their phones—everything they need to sell at a moment’s notice.
5) Content Library
When it comes to engaging buyers effectively, content is king. Don’t make your reps go on a wild goose hunt for that perfect piece of content to send to their buyers. Instead, integrate CRM and a centralized content repository together. To make your reps really happy, also integrate content personalization tools that allow your reps to find the right materials, customize them for individual buyers and then send that content to the buyer right then and there.
I saved these two for last because they build on the other integrations wonderfully (although they’re just as useful for CRM alone). Once you integrate multiple platforms together, you can aggregate all that collected data (buyer activities, sales responses, content used, etc.) and then use analytics to connect the dots. An analytics engine can draw incredible insight from all of your sales data, enabling you to identify which opportunities to pursue, which activities and content lead to winning opportunities, which sales reps need extra coaching…and that’s just scratching the surface.
7) Data visualization tools
Once you combine all of your data, how do you turn it into something useful for your team? Data visualization tools can help. Instead of trudging through clunky CRM reports or basic pie charts, data visualization tools transform that CRM information into a super clear picture of sales situations. Sales reps can glance at a data visualization and know instantly what’s going on with an opportunity.
There are tons of other great integrations, such as ERP, conference/demo platforms and sales training programs. Find out which tools will have the biggest impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales process, and implement those first.
It’s time to debunk the CRM Superman idea
Yes, CRM may seem like Superman on the surface, but look behind the proverbial curtain. You have to identify the areas where CRM isn't cutting it for your sales team if you want to make actual improvements to your sales process.
Find the right tools to fix each inefficiency, and you'll be on your way to saving
the world your sales quotas.
Interested in learning more about how Accent’s sales enablement platform can help companies get the most out of CRM? Give us a call or schedule a personalized demo!