Many of our sales training clients in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto have Customer Relationship Management programs in place. If you’re a Professional Salesperson, there’s a strong likelihood that you’re expected to use a CRM Program to track your sales activity and health of your sales funnel. For every Salesperson who loves them, you’ll probably find another who feels much differently. Are they worth the time and effort in data entry? Do they really drive sales? Here’s our opinion.
Customer Relationship Management Programs – CRM
Salesforce, Pipedrive, HubSpot, Insightly, and Zoho are just a few of the more popular CRM software programs. Earlier this year, Forbes estimated Salesforce revenues to be $13.12 Billion (not a typo) with about $9.6 Billion of that coming directly from its software program.
That staggers the imagination. Salesforce is the Google of the CRM industry and companies both large and small have adopted it. It also has the highest investment required per license and comes with many justifiable benefits.
Are CRM Programs Too Time Consuming?
Many Salespeople feel that CRM programs are data-heavy and require a lot of time to maintain. Here are some of the comments that we typically hear:
“I was hired to sell, not spend hours per week logging my appointments and client follow up.”
“CRM is just a way for management to monitor my activity because they don’t trust me when I say I’m doing my job.”
“If my Sales Manager invested CRM time into training me and going on high-level calls, I’d make more sales.”
I started my sales career over 30 years ago when Sales Managers only judged you by one thing – your monthly sales performance. I can recall when call sheets became an industry practice. At the time, experienced Salespeople pushed back to the trend citing mistrust and claims of micromanagement.
CRM for both Salespeople and Sales Managers
I will be direct with no sugar-coating.
- Sales has changed. Salespeople are now required to be held accountable for their monthly performance through the monitoring of their sales activity. Great sales activity with qualified clients leads to great sales performance. The opposite is true. Salespeople who hate being held accountable need to adapt or re-evaluate their career.
- Sales Managers need to use CRM as a tool, not a weapon. The job of the Sales Manager is to train, support and assist Salespeople to achieve their monthly targets and earn the income that goes with it. Useful sales tools greatly assist performance. Having CRM discussions only when a Salesperson has low sales and sales activity is not interpreted as helpful. That leads to a complete misinterpretation of what CRM is designed to do.
- CRM is a Salesperson’s personal administrative assistant. It reminds you of who you need to contact, follow-up, book an appointment and nurture to turn customers into champions, repeat buyers and advocates. If you’re using a manual system with handwritten notes or a note on your phone to track all your leads and current clients, you’re not effectively working enough leads.
- Sales Managers need to avoid analysis paralysis, get out from behind their screens and get back on the streets with Salespeople in the field. This is the best place for training, coaching and building a relationship with buyers. Too many Sales Managers are chained to their office preparing reports and being involved in too many meetings. Meetings with clients drive sales. Internal meetings drive administration and communication within the company. Have a balance and be the leader your Salespeople want and need you to be.
- CRM is not data-heavy unless you make it such. Salespeople need to open their CRM program at the start of each day and update it right after making client contact throughout the day. Don’t wait until the end of the day, Friday or when your Sales Manager reminds you to do your updates. Many programs have a phone app that allows you to do that the moment you leave a client meeting. It’s up to you to have the self-discipline to do this. After all, it’s your sales funnel, not your Sales Manager’s.
- Sales Management needs to provide CRM training and sell the benefits of it instead of simply saying it’s a job requirement. Every sales team will have at least one CRM champion. Ask that Salesperson to head up training to show others how to use it effectively for client follow-up. Every Salesperson I know has said “Has it really been 3 months since I last called this client?” If you work your CRM program properly, it will return your investment many times over because nothing will fall between the cracks.
- Great CRM programs can be customized to the specific sales cycle of your client base. Each step of the sales cycle can be monitored by you – the Salesperson. You can see where you are strong and where you need to improve in your prospecting, appointment booking, presentations, and closing ability. This is like having a Doctor to constantly monitor your sales vital signs. Doesn’t it make sense to use technology to keep your sales funnel in great shape?
The Bottom Line on CRMs
CRM is here to stay. It’s a great tool that allows Salespeople and Sales Managers to manage sales funnels. If you don’t like it, it’s probably because you’re misinterpreting it or your Sales Manager is not using his or her selling skills to convince you of its benefits.
Find the Salesperson in your office who loves it. Sit down with them and ask them to show you why. Be open-minded to change for the better.
Your ability to use CRM effectively will drive more sales for you.
If you’re not using a CRM Program, click the link below to get educated on all the software programs available. We are not affiliated with any of them. We currently have clients using Salesforce, Pipedrive, and HubSpot.
Tips On Sales Techniques
Looking for more tips on sales techniques and ways to be a leading Salesperson? Check out the free trial of our online course The Sales Skills Incubator for $199 CAD including tax. We’re also in the final stages of producing our latest online sales training course, Negotiating 2 Party Payoffs. Every great Salesperson wants to learn the skills of being a great negotiator. If you wish to be notified when the course is being launched or future sales ensure that you are signed up to receive the PROSALESGUY BLOG by email. If you prefer reading, check out our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money available on Amazon.
If you are a Sales Manager interested in investigating Group or Individual Sales Training on-site for your Canadian location, please give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to talk with you.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY