• April 1, 2007
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Required Reading: A Peak at Sales Process

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For years salespeople have failed to understand how to apply CRM technology to their daily selling activities. Most CRM products don't relate to how people sell, nor do they help model their existing sales processes. In his new book, CyberSelling--Using CRM Technology to Help You Sell, Russ Lombardo (see "Condemned by Every Syllable She Utters," in Insight) tackles all these problems and more, and highlights how to solve the dilemmas using his PEAK sales process. CRM
's Colin Beasty spoke with Lombardo about his new book. CRM: Why do salespeople struggle so much with adopting and using CRM systems? Lombardo: The problem stems from two reasons: sales training and sales processes. Training is necessary to ensure salespeople understand the proper methodologies or tactics for success, such as what questions to ask, how to qualify a prospect, how to negotiate, et cetera. The sales process is the movement of a lead or client throughout your organization. This is especially important, since connecting sales with other departments is a goal of CRM. Companies simply don't spend enough time training and don't have well-defined sales processes. The effects are counterproductive and can jeopardize not only customer acquisition but also customer retention. When you try to match a CRM system to fit such an organization, you've lost the implementation battle before it's even begun. Training and sales processes are the foundation on which to build a CRM system. CRM: The book touches on the idea of sales and marketing working together. What have been some of the problems that have inhibited these two departments from doing so successfully? Lombardo: Marketing typically has its own system, or what it believes to be a process, to handle incoming leads. They qualify the lead according to their own standards without feedback from the sales department; hence the lead is categorized in a way that doesn't make sense to salespeople. As a result, sales will typically treat the lead as a low priority when the opposite may be true. It's only made worse when marketing is using its own database to track leads. This cycle continues, and breeds a feeling of contempt each department has for the other. CRM systems have begun to alleviate the problem, but this is more a process-driven dilemma than it is a technological one. It's a matter of getting all of your customer-facing departments working on the same page, speaking the same language. Companies have slowly begun to get the idea, but we still have a long way to go. I think over the coming years you're going to see a big improvement. CRM: What will readers find most interesting about your book? Lombardo: I think they'll find the real-life examples interesting. In the book, I use GoldMine for illustrative purposes and to show the reader specific examples of how a CRM solution, when used properly, can result in productivity and efficiency. Other Page Turners:
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