The trap: when fear of change is greater than the value of the solution
You’ve just made a killer presentation. The prospect gets all hot and lathered up about the solution your offering provides. They seem sold. BUT--nothing happens. Time goes by. No decision.
What is the prospect thinking? That things aren't really that bad, that they have too many things on their plate, that they don’t have the time for the hassle, that it’s not worth the risk
What has happened?
The buying process and sales process are probably not aligned. We are not helping the customer to buy. There's no path forward.
Missing: the case for change?
You probably have NOT made the prospect realize that the consequences of doing nothing are far greater than the challenges of changing. Think about your own buying experiences: If the pain of doing nothing isn't greater than the pain of change, the only rational decision is to not change. Nada, no action.
This can happen with any improvement opportunity. But it’s not true that no decision has occurred. Keeping the status quo is itself a decision.
What's hobbling your progress?
Hobbling cruelly restricts the movement of one or more feet in order to limit severely an animal’s movement. Think of prisoners with shackles on their feet. Not a good way to live.
Yet sometimes businesses hobble themselves with inadequate processes and infrastructure. Maybe there’s no sales opportunity tracking and management system. Or no way to identify ideal prospects based on customer data. As a result, too much selling time gets wasted working on low quality leads.
Inadequate systems make it extremely difficult to effectively match our sales processes to our customers’ buying processes. You might have moved away from product to solution marketing, but if you’re still more focused on the way you do business than on the stages your best buyers go through, you’re still hobbled.
A well-chosen and implemented CRM transforms both Sales and Marketing.
- With access to Sales intelligence from your CRM, Marketing can better provide content that really matters to your target customers and guide them along their buyer journey.
- With access to data on who is opening which marketing messages, Sales will know which prospects are interested and ready for a contact regarding a specific product or service.
A weak CRM system hobbles you in chaos, spreading business intelligence among disjointed silos. Duplication and mismatched contact information frustrates employees and customers and is a huge time suck. When lone-wolf sales reps horde contact intelligence in their heads, it can’t be easily shared with others in your business who could do their jobs better if they had it.
Business progress requires data to be in one place--one version of the truth, at your fingertips
Impaired Vision Hobbles Accountability
Having one version of the truth facilitates accountability, too. Sure, each person who has customer contact can keep and track communications in your email system. But it’s so much more useful to include it right in their contact records in your CRM, where everyone can see the opportunities, the service issues, and who has communicated what.
Our prospective clients often tell us, "We simply aren't paying attention – we’re not keeping our sales pipeline and deals updated." By using CRM and its sales performance dashboard effectively, you’d see the downward trend of wins versus losses early on. You'd see the lengthening number of days opportunities sit in the pipeline. You'd notice fewer and fewer new accounts being added and fewer calls, meetings and proposals
What's the Solution?
It’s time to set your business free for success. Here’s how:
Start Doing Your Job
Each salesperson's responsibility is to make sure each opportunity is moving forward. Management's responsibility is to coach them to help move deals along. When something gets stalled, help the salesperson figure out what to do. Pay attention and do your job or your management will find someone who will
Maximize available CRM tools
Today's CRM solutions provide the foundation to effectively attract, convert, retain and grow more profitable customers. Relationship development is your first focus with People First CRM. E book available here.
Integrate your CRM with your Outlook or Gmail system with bi-synchronization so email communications and your schedule are available in either. A full web portal will facilitate using the full capabilities of CRM including a mobile accessible option that works the same using your smart device.
Personalize your CRM system to show only what matters to you, hiding tabs, group lists and fields that don't apply to your job. Configure it so you will first see key lists of groups for My Accounts, My Contacts, My Activities, My Open Opportunities, My Open Service Issues, etc. You’ll be able to slice and dice a list with a simple click on filters like City, Sales Territory, Account Type, Industry, and Opportunity stage in bpm'online or Infor (Saleslogix) CRM . Finally, set up your management dashboard to measure key metrics for your business role: Sales Management, Customer Service Management, etc.
Sales professionals will more readily adopt a CRM system when they can visualize how it will help them manage their daily tasks, connect with the best opportunities, and know when to restart the conversation to move a sale forward or stop beating the dead horse.
Update and use your mobile technology
Any CRM solution must be readily accessible whenever sales reps need it. This means a web portal and mobile (smart phone/tablet) portal with Internet access. Optionally it may mean also having an updatable copy of the data on your laptop for access when you don’t have an Internet connection.
Imagine the uptick in productivity when reps can simply speak notes of important meetings into a contact note and colleagues can immediately access the automatically generated text .
Update your skills
We get it—it’s hard to find enough time to keep up to date on all the best practices of CRM and the new features coming out to make using CRM more productive and enjoyable.
Successful selling requires you to be a continuous learner, and so does an effective CRM strategy. There are lots of options for skill-sharpening: YouTube How to Videos, the CRM Help button, Tips and Tricks webinars or hands-on training.
We’ve helped our clients find additional success by providing short "How-to-do...." videos using their real data and operational processes. We can even set it up so the sales manager leads the video.
Use your CRM partner
You know how to sell and support your product and service offerings. It is what you deal with day in and day out. You have years of experiences. Likewise CRM professional service firms like Success with CRM Consulting know what works best, know how to help a business acquire, retain and develop customer relationships and can collaborate with you to tailor a CRM that works the way you do business, not the other way around. Like you, we are are business owners, entrepreneurs, sales- and customer-service-oriented people who live to help their clients build a more successful business.
Unlock the hobbles and move into the future
A better future awaits you and your business when you maximize your CRM system. It’s strategic, in changing focus to the customer-buyer experience. And it’s tactical, in using consistent processes and up-to-date technology.
CRM can move the whole organization to the same page and house one trusted version of the truth. Based on stronger knowledge of your customers, your decisions will be higher quality and better timed.
It’s your time. You deserve the freedom to do what you do best. You deserve to transform good to great. For over 30 years, we’ve helped small to medium sized businesses maximize their potential for growth. We can help you.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2014 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.