Bloated pipelines, inaccurate forecasting, and dirty data, Oh my!
CRMs are a must have in any sales organization however too many companies think that CRM engagement comes from a simple plug and play. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Garbage in, garbage out. The challenge I see with most companies is that they treat CRM systems as a measurement and policing tool for management over the sales team as opposed to an enablement tool for the inside sales team and field sales team. Essentially they use it for tracking metrics, and do not even know what constitutes a KPI. See my post on the difference between Metrics & KPI’s.
I actually once had a CEO ask me how to improve the data getting into their CRM. I asked him what reports and dashboards do the inside sales reps have to help them manage their business. He then said, nothing, do they really need it? I responded, if they don’t get anything out of the data what is their incentive to put good data in the system? He then got it.
What this really means though is that sales management is creating a sales process that is not helpful, has too many fields, and is demanding information be put in the system for their use and not in the best interest of closing revenue. This specifically will not work for organizations with a field sales team. Furthermore, management is not creating the right dashboards and reports to help sales reps build a pipeline and nurture the guide the deals to close. Essentially, management has no idea the amount of time that can be wasted in a CRM just to get some number on a spreadsheet. Management just thinks it shows up nice and pretty. It’s time management learn how to manage and not be dictators of silliness.
How We Got Here
Part of this comes from the Baby Boomer and GenX mentality of telling the reps to “just do it” and expecting it to get done. This simply will not scale.
CRM engagement is critical for any inside sales or field sales team. Generational and technological changes are shifting the mindset within the sales organization and sales managers need to start paying attention. In short there is now a “Consumerization of CRM” that is being driven by everyone on the BDR team to the field sales team as opposed to demands by sales executives or sales management. Management needs to adjust and understand the “new normal”, not the sales team.
Keep the following in mind when you want better CRM engagement:
- Sales people are compensated on business closed, not data entry. If you want quality data into the system you must find a way to marry these two toughts.
- Every extra click and field to fill in for management into the CRM system only creates resistance and resentment by your sales team to actually input the data.
- Avoid field-creep! Management must stop making silly demands on data entry so they can look good to the board. They need to remember the sales team is there to sell, not be data entry people.
- Provide sales training to the sales teams on how to run reports and how to interpret the reports and dashboards to help them understand their core business. It is your responsibility to develop your sales teams.
- Want better data? Hire someone for sales ops who understands the balance between sales team and sales management needs.
- Gamify the solution. Sales people only require two things, compensation and recognition. Gamifying the CRM helps on both accounts. There are several great companies in this space with real data to back up their existence. Often times upper management responds to gamification with a sense of jealousy and resentment. Essentially they feel “why should I pay extra money just to get people to do the jobs I hired them to do in the first place?” At the core this response smells of jealousy and resentment based on the fact these programs did not exist during their sales careers. In short they are letting a personal bias and their ego outweigh the true value of trying to improve revenue. Sales Managers and Executives need to understand there is a “new normal”.
In the end management and specifically executive teams need to stop trying to run their sales organizations like a police state and start understanding how get the sales team to use the CRM by providing value to the sales rep.
The CRM system was originally designed to help the sales team in mind close more business, not create better reporting. Through proper CRM Engagement, better reports and data do exist. However the tail should not wag the dog.
Contact us if you want to discuss your CRM engagement strategy.