Yesterday, I wrote about solving the sales performance problem. Today, I’ll write about solving the CRM problem. CRM is very problematic, not because there aren’t choices, but more because companies make bad decisions. Just a few of the problems with CRM are listed here:
- Company has no CRM.
- Company has archaic CRM.
- Salespeople won’t use the existing CRM.
- CRM doesn’t provide management with an accurate forecast.
- Management doesn’t hold salespeople accountable for using/maintaining CRM.
- CRM requires too much information input.
- CRM is too slow to respond.
- CRM is focused on data and accounts rather than opportunities.
- CRM is not consistent with sales process.
- CRM is viewed as busy work rather than a tool.
- CRM is too expensive.
- CRM can’t be accessed via mobile devices.
- Company wants too much unnecessary information about opportunities.
- CRM allows salespeople to place prospects in the wrong pipeline stage.
- CRM is too difficult to customize.
OK, so that wasn’t just a few, but you get the idea. Yesterday, I spent 90 minutes on a conference call with a client (the president, IT guy and 2 sales leaders) and their CRM provider (salesperson, regional sales manager and technical specialist) as they attempted to customize the application, so that it would follow the sales process which I developed for them, and provide an accurate forecast. That shouldn’t be necessary.
Last week, I spent 90 minutes with another client (8 people from operations, sales, customer service and marketing) showing them how CRM could be the answer to their inaccurate forecasts and pipeline reports. All had different ideas of how much the CRM application should be required to do versus how simple it could really be;
CRM doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, difficult to customize or slow. It doesn’t need to require much data, give salespeople too much leeway or provide inaccurate forecasts. Simply put, CRM can be everything your company needs it to be and more. You just have to make a few good decisions:
- You must already have a customized, formal, structured and optimized sales process in place and, if you don’t, have a sales consultant create that for you.
- You must choose the right CRM application (fast, salesperson-friendly, opportunity-focused using your new or existing sales process; excellent pipeline and forecasting tools, easy to set up, customize and use, etc.) as opposed to choosing a CRM application simply because you recognize the name.
- Salespeople must understand what’s in it for them and why they should embrace it.
- Hold salespeople accountable for providing real-time updates.
I’ve reviewed 15 CRM applications (Landslide, Sugar, Oracle, Sales Logix, Microsoft Dynamics, Membrain, Fortuit, FunnelSource, Podio, OppTuna, Pipedrive, PipelineDeals, Act, Goldmine and Zoho) which aren’t named Salesforce.com and because clients have had some of these applications installed, they’ve had to use many of them. My feeling is that clients need to cut their losses and switch to a productive application, rather than sticking with a failed initiative, just because the money has been invested. The Boston Red Sox dumped approximately $140 million in contracts this summer so that they could start from scratch in building a winning roster. You should do the same thing with CRM!
Some things that CRM should be are:
- An extension of the sales conversation,Salespeople should live inside the application rather than on email,
- Salespeople should love it for the visual references which it provides,
- Management should love it for the pipeline and forecast,
- The best coaching tool on the planet,
- Reports should be easy to coax from it and
- Customizable without extra costs or fees.