In our last blog in this series, we talked about the fact that very often the first pain point of being a sales manager is the sales manager themselves. Specifically, the way they are interpreting data and putting it into effect, and the way they are managing others. All of these which they can learn about from the master of information technology management course.
There isn’t much a sales manager can do without technology. In fact without the right technology, the sales manager won’t even be able to lay their hands on the correct data, let alone interpret it and make decisions with it.
How does a sales manager choose the right technology for their sales organization and for their company?
Of course, a sales manager coming newly into a company will have to go with whatever technology the company had in place before they arrived. But a smart sales manager will not just take what they are given. Technology for sales is too important to simply accept at face value, so it is very worthwhile for the sales manager to evaluate it. There are two basic questions the sales manager should ask in this evaluation:
a. What kind of technology does this sales team need in order to really compete and succeed?
b. Does the current technology answer the question in “a”, or is new, more modern (or more simple or more powerful) technology required?
In further evaluating and choosing sales automation, here are some basic but solid guidelines:
- Benefit: Technology should be something that brings salespeople a real benefit. If it does, you’ll find that salespeople will love to use it and, surprisingly, that is easy to learn.
- Turnover: When a rep has departed and a new one comes in, that new rep will need to get up to speed as rapidly as possible. That not only means with the technology, but with the leads and opportunities left behind by the departed rep.
- Flexibility:No 2 companies are alike—hence the technology should be extremely flexible so that it can be rapidly and easily customized to a company’s requirements. Such flexibility also includes ease of maintenance so that modifications can be made on the fly.
- Implementation: Today no company has weeks or months to get a technology up and running, and trained in on users. It should take days or, at the very outside, a week or so.
- Processes: Your sales processes, reflected in your digital pipeline stages, are crucial and must reflect buyer patterns as closely as possible. With the advent of the Internet, it’s a buyer’s world. If vendors aren’t following the buyer’s patterns and trends, they will be missing deals. Your technology must be totally and rapidly adaptable to buyer patters and your company’s processes.
- Within Each Stage: Within each sales process or pipeline stage, there are the vertical processes. These are the actions and activities a salesperson takes in moving an opportunity through a particular stage. Any technology chosen must make such actions very easy for salespeople to follow and accomplish.
CRM solutions have traditionally been to “track sales reps” and their activities. But as we’re now discovering, technology should instead assist the sales manager in helping a rep do an efficient job. For example, does a rep need more leads? To know that, a sales manager needs to know how many leads the rep can handle. To know that, the manager must know the lead conversion ratio for each rep.
The sales manager should also be able to rapidly see how many opportunities of what size should be in the pipeline for a rep to close a certain percentage of the quota. For example, let us say a rep has a quota of $1 million, and the opportunity closing ratio for that rep is 1 out of 5. In this case the total value of opportunities in that rep’s pipeline must be 5 times the quota—in this case $5 million—for the rep to make that $1 million quota.
For a sales manager to truly provide help to reps, lead conversion ratios and opportunity closing ratios must be known. That’s the kind of data that is extracted from an empowering CRM solution.
“Speak My Language?”
When a sales manager goes out seeking and evaluating technology, a very important point to evaluate about the companies he’s talking to—and evaluating software from—is: “Do they speak my language?”
Do they truly understand the pain points of managing a sales organization? At Pipeliner, we are salespeople—and hence Pipeliner is built by salespeople for salespeople. We are keenly aware that it’s not so much the data that you put into CRM, but what you get out of it.
Traditionally CRM applications were not designed or built by salespeople, but by programmers who perhaps had some understanding of sales. But programmers have never, of course, “sat in the hot seat.” And there is the enormous difference between Pipeliner and other CRM applications.
At Pipeliner we are also applying a very sound understanding of business, based in a business philosophy that has been proven over 150 years. We have created a technology that precisely fits a company.
After The Start
A technology has been implemented. The users have been trained. But now we are arriving at the beginning of the story. Now you discover how this technology perform under real business conditions.
It is only real-world conditions that are the true test of a technology’s flexibility. Business and markets are dynamic—nothing stays the same for long. Your sales process must be dynamic and flexible to keep up–and technology had better be flexible enough for you to adapt needed changes in a timely manner.
As a sales manager, make sure that you are choosing the right technology.
All of the descriptions in this article exactly sum up to Pipeliner CRM. Try it today.