If you ask 100 people what Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is, you will likely get 100 different answers. That’s because it means different things to different industries, sectors, departments and people. At its core, CRM keeps track of customer and contact details in one central location. From there, things go in many different directions depending if you are in support, administration, services, marketing, finance or sales (to name a few). What works well for one department doesn’t necessarily work well for another. Such is the case with Sales Organizations.
CRM and Sales Organizations have always had a rocky relationship, primarily because of the way CRM is designed and deployed as a top-down model. Sales Leaders want to know what’s really happening with deals and they want accurate forecasts, but the only way they can get that is if meaningful and accurate information is fed into CRM. Who feeds it? Sales reps…and that’s where things start to come apart.
Getting straight to the point, sales reps just want to SELL (and make their quota). For reps, a management-mandated CRM can be an administrative headache. You will likely never hear a sales rep say: “Wow, our CRM sure helped me close that deal!”. That’s because they view CRM as a management reporting tool that provides little-to-no value to them. As such, the information that reps feed into CRM is minimal, subjective and reactionary at best. Not surprisingly, these input deficiencies usually result in output inaccuracies, which can negatively impact the entire Sales Organization.
So, how can this be fixed?
First, we need to look beyond the wide functionality of CRM to find a deeper solution that actually helps Sales Organizations close more deals (and increase sales revenue). So, what does that solution look like? Certainly, it needs a strong CRM foundation. However, it needs an even stronger Opportunity Management element in order to truly benefit ALL levels of the Sales Organization. Managing opportunities effectively from ‘lead to close’ is what wins deals and keeps sales reps engaged. The information reps feed into this solution should be paid back to them many times over through actionable deal visibility, alerting, guidance and scoring. For Sales Leaders, this would translate into more meaningful sales reports and greater forecast accuracy.