Turn Your CRM into the Tool Your Sellers Need
Customer relationship management software has never been popular with the sales force. It’s easy to see why: CRM systems weren’t created with sellers’ needs in mind, and they’re often viewed as time-consuming data repositories that take valuable time away from selling.
But we’ve entered a new era where CRM systems can collect richer data and, with the right tools, afford deeper insights to drive sales enablement. Today’s CRMs capture details that relate to—and create incentives around—the underlying key factor that drives better sales results: seller behavior.
With the right changes in both utilization and management, CRM systems can become a powerful data-driven weapon in the battle for new and legacy clients. For every dollar a company spends on CRM, it earns nearly $9 in returns, and CRM can increase sales by up to 29 percent.
However, a CRM solution isn’t a magic bullet. It needs to be paired with an established methodology that equips sellers with the proper framework to attack sales, including guidance around when to take specific actions. Shockingly, 81 percent of organizations lack a dynamic sales methodology program that encourages this kind of seller behavior. So, how are sellers supposed to thrive?
Taking CRM to the Next Level
To turn CRM into a sales-producing weapon, companies must combine sales methodology with existing data and analytics. The marriage results in key insights into buyer-influence patterns, competitive positioning, and the likelihood of success with specific behaviors. When this happens, CRMs become an interactive resource, informing sellers about the best move to close a deal.
When you weaponize your CRM system, sellers can:
- maximize the time interacting with current and prospective customers to win more business;
- strategically select the best customers to engage in co-marketing partnerships;
- use qualitative data to better understand which messages resonate best with current and prospective customers;
- Show up and inspire buyers, rather than just regurgitating information that can easily be found online; and
- think holistically instead of attacking with individual, non-connected programs.
A weaponized CRM is a boon for sales managers, too. It’s a complete window into sellers’ activities and actions, allowing managers to do the following:
- Constantly analyze the behavior that drives results. Managers learn the traits that help their best sellers succeed, and apply that knowledge to the rest of their sales force.
- Consider both talent and performance. Because sales managers can view reps’ sales funnels alongside a talent assessment, they gain better insight into what makes them tick.
Pairing CRM technology with methodology creates a symbiotic relationship between sellers and analytics. Sellers engage more extensively with their CRM, and, in turn, the CRM provides increasingly more value to both the business and individual sellers.
It’s more important than ever to actively adopt a CRM-focused culture at your sales organization. Why? It’s a key part of a major industry shift. In the past, the best salespeople had high emotional intelligence (EQ): They possessed grit, perseverance, and an innate ability to read people.
Today, the most successful organizations seek a seller’s IQ, the cognitive ability to educate buyers from a perspective that—instead of merely pitching a product—inspires sales. Data-driven insights from a weaponized CRM are the science behind that inspiration.
This new era makes it critical that sellers adopt sales methodologies and embrace the direction that enhanced CRMs can deliver. When sellers bring winning sales methodologies backed by data and research into their selling behaviors, they gain an unfair advantage: the proven weapons to close the deal.
As president and CEO, Byron Matthews leads Miller Heiman Group’s commitment to providing organizations around the world with an expanded, holistic approach for developing, managing, and sustaining long-term customer relationships. With more than 20 years experience, Matthews has consulted for and led sales organizations for several Fortune 500 companies.