CRM (customer relationship management) has a direct relationship to sales management. But unless a customer relationship management system is flexible, intuitive and implemented in the right way, sales management will not be able to benefit from it.
Sales Management is A Tough Job
Sales management is already a difficult assignment. They’re not trying to manage run-of-the-mill employees—sales reps think for themselves, evaluate their own decisions and make their own ways. They do something (selling) that many others cannot. For these reasons, salespeople can sometimes be labeled as “hard to get along with,” “prim donnas” and a number of other unflattering terms.
But the fact of the matter is, salespeople understand the sales game where oftentimes others do not completely. For that reason, it is sales reps that are the most often promoted to sales management positions. But as they all-too-soon discover, isn’t enough to have been in that hot seat. While that qualification certainly helps, a sales manager must have a quick and accurate way to view the sales pipeline in order to know how sales are actually progressing and be able to answer to their own management as to analysis and prediction.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Makes The Difference
A properly configured CRM application software gives sales management a clear window into each of the steps of the sales process: what leads exist and who they’re assigned to, what sales are ready to close, which sales are priorities, where customer service should becoming involved, and much more. A CRM also informs the sales manager which of his or her sales reps are pulling their weight, who might need help, and which of them might not make it.
Without a proper CRM a sales manager often has to depend on information about sales progress directly from the sales reps themselves. That information may or may not be accurate—yet management decisions will occur based on it, and it will be incorporated into reports passed up the line. As anyone who has been there will tell you, relying on secondhand data for operations is a highly risky business.
In the area of personnel, it is even riskier. Without full and accurate data on who is doing what, sales management can make incorrect and even unjust decisions. There is nothing that will kill morale more quickly—and that, probably more than anything else, will make a sales manager’s job a real nightmare.
Analysis and Forecasts
While a sales manager is managing the day-to-day work of a sales department, he or she is also being constantly asked by their management how sales are progressing. They must make regular opportunity reports on where sales stand and the predicted outcome for a week, month, quarter or year.
It is only the CRM which makes these tasks reliably possible. With an accurate view through the CRM, sales management can report with confidence the current scene within the sales pipeline, and make accurate sales forecasts. It should also be noted that the CRM should have easy-to-use and intuitive reporting options so that a sales manager is not wrapped up—as is all too often the case—in creating time-consuming necessary reports for management.
Without these capabilities, sales management is at considerable risk—for themselves, and (more importantly) for the company itself.
With the right choices made in CRM (customer relationship management), sales management can do the job it is meant to do: manage sales into ever-increasing levels of viability and profitability for the company.
Watch for further articles in our series on CRM (customer relationship management).