Unless your CRM system is used wisely, you’re better off without one. Yes, that’s coming from a veteran Sales Manager who, like most other Sales Managers, is controlling and directing by nature just as an effective Sales Leader must be. Since we’re all happy with more business, let’s explore how to use a CRM system to boost your sales.
Understanding What It Is For…
When you use a CRM system as a communication tool between a Sales Manager and a Sales Rep, the purpose of the CRM is to move prospects through the sales pipeline efficiently and swiftly as reasonably possible to achieve your sales goal. To this end, it is a coaching tool. From my perspective this is it’s greatest inherent value and closest connection to winning more business.
Be Careful to Not Chase After Too Many Details
Unfortunately, all too often when ownership sees the power of a CRM tool, the Sales Manager is asked to “drill and collect lots of details” during his/her one-on-one pipeline reviews with direct report Reps. This seems like a reasonable request form the top, but it robs the precious one-on-one connection between the Sales Manager and the Rep that will lead to more sales. It’s fine to collect more data, but take time implementing the report capabilities to provide information to all interested parties anytime they want them. What you want to avoid is spending 60 to 90 minutes in a one-on-one dissecting 20+ prospects. This scenario is not in the best interest of growth. It is not in the best interest of the Sales Reps. It’s about data collection and reporting and it’s counterproductive to sales growth.
Turn Technology into a Coaching Tool
The optimal way to use your CRM system with your Sales Reps is this: pick four or five high-potential, high-probable prospects and spend 60 minutes coaching the Sales Rep to greater closing success. Forget the rest of the pipeline. Review each one from the prospects perspective. Challenge the Rep with questions that can lead to a better understanding of needs and potential next steps. Has your Rep been thinking strategically and insightfully? Or have they too been “drilling for details” to satisfy your informational needs? If you follow this strategy, good things will happen. Your Reps will become more knowledgeable about the sales process. They will become more effective at qualifying and discovering true needs. Often, they will formulate unique solutions. They will close more business and their earnings will rise. And finally, they will no longer think that one-on-one pipeline reviews are a wasteful and unproductive use of their time. Coach. Don’t gather.