What is sales management trying to do? Some would answer, “the impossible.” It is charged, first and foremost, with making sure sales targets are met. That means making sure each salesperson is making his or her quota, providing any possible assistance or tags for sales reps where needed, and correcting any that are not making quotas.
The “impossible” part comes in with the fact that the people being managed are a group of truly self-determined individuals. They will most always listen to what someone has to say, but will also almost always form their own opinions and—if they feel it will provide better outcomes—proceed in their own directions. It’s a blessing (that’s why they can sell) and sometimes a curse (at least for management).
But undercutting any personality issues something that is often overlooked: the CRM solution. In fact, the choice and implementation of CRM (customer relationship management) software can make the difference between a tenable management position and a living nightmare.
Sales Management With Accuracy
Any individual is going to become upset if their manager corrects them—or even inquires about something—based upon inaccurate data. But for a salesperson, whose time is spent increasing the company’s bottom line, this is really a maddening waste of time. And it’s certainly no picnic for the sales manager, either, who runs the risk of losing credibility by appearing incompetent or even foolish.
It is likewise frustrating for both sales management and salespeople for the manager to constantly require data from sales reps that instead should routinely be recorded in the CRM solution, with the sales manager having direct access to the data.
There is another even more crucial aspect of data accuracy: when it involves information reported to the executives above sales management. The sales manager is factually putting his or her career on the line every time he or she sends up a report or analysis with questionable information. That data will be the basis of decisions made far beyond sales and can even be included in reports to company stakeholders.
Down to the CRM Solution
Most issues of data accuracy lead right back to CRM. Is it possible for sales reps to enter accurate and required data in the first place? And if so, is the information easily locatable and extractable?
A flexible, intuitive CRM solution reflects a company’s sales process. That means that the sales rep knows what data should be entered where. It also means that the sales rep can far more easily manage their pipeline, and stay on top of sales themselves. Right there, some pressure is alleviated from sales management.
But where sales management must step in—to offer guidance, ensure salespeople stay on quota or the like—they never miss with accurate CRM data. The sales manager can then be sure that any assistance offered or any correction taken will be received without protest and rejection due to inaccuracy, and can operate without concern of losing respect due to the use of inaccurate information.
Sales management can also send reports up the line to executives, finance and company stakeholders in the good faith that they are not providing information that will mislead or steer the company in the wrong direction.
Happy Sales Reps
There is another aspect to an intuitive, accurate CRM solution: sales reps will be happy to use it because it actually assists them. What does that mean for sales management? Well, look at it this way: would you rather manage a group of people who have regular trouble with their tools (CRM solution), and might have trouble with you as a manager because you’re not managing with accurate data—or are upbeat, pleased with their tools, happy with you as a manager and eager to do their jobs? The answer is pretty obvious.
Stay tuned for more articles in our series on CRM solutions.