What makes a successful sales force?
Should your sales team reflect the CRM Solution, or vice versa?
That might sound like a ridiculous question—but a recent article in a leading business publication (we’ll spare them the embarrassment of revealing their name) actually stated that, in order to get a CRM solution fully into use by your sales force team, it should be enforced to the point that it becomes “company culture”.
Besides the fact that this sounds amazingly like a corporate nanny state, wouldn’t that enforcement, in actuality, be building the company around the CRM solution, instead of the reverse? Let’s really look at this: a CRM solution is purchased by an organization. If it is like most CRM applications today, it has limited usability by the people that must use it most: the sales force. So to get salespeople entering all the data they should into CRM—which they’re already doing begrudgingly because it does little to nothing to assist them—heavy rules and regulations are put into place.
This sequence of actions would result in the company and its operations being forced into compliance with the CRM application. When you look at the ideal CRM and its use, the whole concept is quite laughable.
Step 1: Successful Sales Force Follows The Sales Process
Let’s start from scratch, and pretend the hypothetical company in the above example has not yet purchased and implemented a CRM solution. What they likely have in place already is a sales process: the series of steps taken with a sale from lead to close. Even if the sales process isn’t exactly stated—which it should be for any sales force to truly succeed—it is most likely there, and the proven sales reps are following it.
In other words, there is already an existing and probably successful sales process pattern being utilized in creating sales.
Now, in that the actual mission of automation (despite some opinions to the contrary) is to empower and assist those who use it, it would follow that a CRM solution would dovetail right in with that sales process. Sales could be entered, have their potential value rated, and be analyzed through that process. This is a solution that is intuitive and logical, and makes it easy for any salesperson to utilize in managing his or her sales pipeline. The sales process can be easily grasped by anyone else in the company who would interact with CRM, and therefore make it possible for them to make good use of CRM, too.
Step 2: CRM Solution Following Success
Taking a broader view of the above scenario, it can be seen that we took a company that was already succeeding, and with the CRM solution enhanced that success. The rapidity of organization and analysis brought about by automation made it more possible for sales to be made and closed, and for others outside of the sales force to fully understand what was going on, evaluate data and otherwise interact with CRM as well.
Let’s look back at our first example, and see that we had a going concern with a successful sales pattern there as well. But instead of contributing to it and enhancing it, we took an ill-fitting CRM solution and forced it on the salespeople, and therefore detracted from the successful pattern in which they were already engaged. We would then of course have done the same thing for everyone else in the company that was moving forward on that same pattern.
Which makes more sense?
Step 3: Harmony vs. Conflict
One of these scenarios (the one proposed by our esteemed business publication columnist) is an attempt to force something that is natively a conflict into a harmony. The other is actual harmony. It is quite evident—not only in theory but in practice—which of these would be more successful.
Take the high road, and have your CRM solution be exactly reflective of your company’s successful sales operation. Your sales team, along with many of your other employees, will thank you. And much more importantly, along with company morale your sales will soar.
Look for our other articles on CRM solutions and empowering your sales force.