Based on our research, less than 5% of organizations who have invested in Customer Relationships Management (CRM) technology are currently optimizing their investment. In fact, every engagement I have ever been involved in has recommended changes to the CRM system. (Download the CRM Change Management Worksheet). Folks, CRM investments are not being optimized. Software applications are an enablement tool, not a solution. A distinction must be made between data management and Sales Performance Management.
Over the last several years quite a few Sales Performance Management and Incentive Compensation applications have hit the market. I am not going to argue who is worth the investment and who isn’t. However, you absolutely should be maximizing the current investment in your CRM system before you purchase some of these additional applications that bolt onto your CRM system. If you are not squeezing everything you can out of the CRM platform why would an investment in additional applications not lead to the same unfulfilled result?
There are three basic steps toward optimizing your CRM solutions today. They all focus on how do we sell more and make the number.
Step One: Cut the Clutter
Have you ever watched the show, Hoarding: Buried Alive on TLC? It follows real life people who hoard all kinds of things in their house and the situation becomes so dire that health and quality of life become critical issues. In the information age we are buried alive in data. If your company doesn’t organize, manage and clean up, data issues will arise.
The best way to ensure you are cutting the clutter is to clearly define the information that you need to run your business effectively and efficiently. This is your Sales Performance Management Game Plan. Each organization will be different based upon structure, industry, etc. but a great place to start is by downloading the Sales Performance Management Self-assessment tool to get an idea of what metrics to look at first. After you have determined the best metrics, only focus on them and cut the clutter. Don’t make fields mandatory that you don’t need or care about. The information will just get in the way and isn’t valuable to you anyway.
Step Two: Maximize Selling Time
Several weeks ago I was talking with a Director of Sales Operations at a Fortune 100 company. We were discussing best practices for Sales Operations Teams. One of the areas we both felt strongly about is that Sales Operations must stay connected to field sales. The most effective ways to do this are through a DILO (Day in the Life of), field surveys, and sales representative conversations.
A DILO is an observation where an individual spends an entire day riding around with a sales representative to observe what he/she is doing. As a Sales Operations leader your focus is how do the tools my team provide enable a rep to maximize selling time? Look for things like:
- Does the sales rep enter data into our CRM system?
- Does the rep utilize the dashboards we create?
- Is the rep spending an inordinate amount of time filling out forms?
- How many calls can the rep get to in a day?
- How far is the commute for the rep from one client to the next?
Identifying what is going in the field paired with the data you capture will maximize your Sales Force.
Step Three – Leveraging Tools
The world we live in today is not the world we lived in 5 years ago let alone 10 years ago. To optimize the investment in CRM you have to leverage the tools that are available to you today. For example, if you are currently using SalesForce.com how are you utilizing chatter? Are your sales reps sharing best practices? Is marketing making competitive information updates? Are you disseminating information as quickly as possible? Are the dashboards useful? Are the sales people utilizing iPads and smartphones to make information updates quickly and in real-time?
Job Aids and tools need to be leveraged and integrated to be used quicker, faster and easier than ever before keeping your organization on the leading edge.
Effective Sales Performance Management programs require sales operations split their time 50% on people and 50% on data. A new software application is not always the answer. Building a Sales Performance Management battle plan will enable your organization to make the number by cutting the clutter, maximizing selling time and leveraging technology.