An entrepreneur is someone who forges their own path through business and life. They perceive opportunities that others miss, and turn those opportunities into profit. Entrepreneurs excel at being creative in the moment, and utilizing that skill to theirs and others’ considerable benefit.
Notable examples of such people in modern times are Steve Jobs, Sir Richard Branson and Anna Wintour. Keeping such people in mind, ask yourself this: Could you ever see any of them as bookkeepers?
Salespeople As Entrepreneurs
In actual fact, salespeople are entrepreneurs in the enterprise. If you look at the above qualities of entrepreneurs, you’ll see that sales reps share most or all of these qualities in common with them. Sales reps prefer making their own financial ways, and hence are paid on commission. Scanning over a list of leads, sales reps can readily see—where others wouldn’t—those that might qualify and those that probably won’t. In casual conversation with a prospect, a salesperson will be very creative in getting the prospect interested in the product or service. Throughout the life of the sale, the sales rep is finding ways—such as demonstrating a product or service or taking a meeting or lunch at the most opportune times—to continue to reinforce the prospect’s interest. This type of ingenuity follows all the way to a close.
Due to their considerable innate abilities, salespeople are the backbone of most organizations, being the ones primarily responsible for the creation of income. Once again we must ask: why would you ever waste such major talent on bookkeeping?
Blame CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
The real fault for turning amazingly skilled salespeople into bookkeepers lies with classic CRM software. Not having been designed to support and assist salespeople, most CRM applications require salespeople to engage in extensive reporting and data entry. In addition to the fact that such tasks are most definitely not among a sales rep’s core skills, this is valuable time that is not spent engaging in what a sales rep alone can do well: sell your product or service.
This might not be as much of an issue as it is (and it is—just ask any sales rep) if the CRM solution truly assisted salespeople in accomplishing company sales targets. But too often it does not. Not following the company’s sales process, CRM is often not logical in its arrangement of data. Sales reps must then depend on their own methods—such as spreadsheets or even sticky notes—to remind them of important activities, to stay on top of their sales pipelines, and to evaluate their own priorities.
Because CRM isn’t intuitive and logical, sales management can’t readily locate and analyze needed information either—which means that periodically reps are having to verbally report to their managers about their various sales-in-progress.
Choose CRM Wisely
Today, it is only possible to scale a business with CRM software that actually supports salespeople in all their efforts. That means that CRM is intuitive, logical and easy to use. It reflects the company’s sales process exactly, and is flexible enough so that as the sales process is modified, it can also be modified. Additionally, any needed data entry or reports are accomplished with a minimum of effort, so a sales rep can get right back to selling. Sales management doesn’t need verbal reports, as needed data can be quickly located right in the CRM application.
As you can see, such CRM is no longer a burden to the sales rep and is, in fact, an asset. It allows salespeople to truly manage their pipelines, prioritize their sales and see every one of them through. In a word, it allows them to be the entrepreneurs they are.
Your entrepreneurs are not bookkeepers. Choose the right CRM application so that they can cease to be such—and thus contribute their time and efforts to really expanding your company.
Stay tuned for more articles on sales reps as entrepreneurs.