Sales Process Is the Essential Success Ingredient for CRM
A rapidly growing number of CRM software suppliers recognize the perception
of their offerings as a risky investment and are taking steps to address this opinion. CRM vendors have discovered that one reason for failing to meet their customers' expectations is not the quality of their offerings, but incompatibility with the sales processes of their customers.
All CRM systems include inherent assumptions about effective sales process. However, virtually every company's sales processes--both formal and informal--contain unique elements that help to differentiate that firm from competitors. If the customer's sales processes are not aligned with the assumptions built into their CRM system, then implementation of that system simply automates chaos.
Some CRM vendors provide the means to tailor their applications to enable customers to align their systems to their internal processes, but customers are demanding more and more that CRM vendors align with proven sales methodologies provided by third-party suppliers to minimize costly customizations. Users of the Solution Selling sales execution methodology, adopted by more than 500,000 sales professionals worldwide, now find automated support in a wide variety of CRM platforms.
In addition, leading sales methodology vendors are beginning to offer software modules that can be integrated seamlessly within CRM platforms. For example, Solution Selling Software, from Sales Performance International and its partner White Springs, fully supports that methodology's job aids and tools, and can be embedded in virtually any CRM application, providing instant sales process alignment. In fact, this integrated-methodology module approach also allows companies with multiple CRM or contact management systems like Microsoft Outlook to automate their sales process consistently regardless of the diversity of applications they employ.
Aligning CRM with sales methodologies produces two key benefits: faster adoption rates and greater usage of the CRM application by end users, especially salespeople in the field. Salespeople who recognize the sales process in which they've been trained inside their new CRM system are much more likely to use that system. They've already been sold on the value of sales process, and this value translates to CRM applications that embrace supporting methodologies.
If you want to reduce the risk of failure in your CRM implementation, seek first to adopt a proven sales methodology. Then, find a CRM platform that can incorporate that methodology seamlessly--your sales force will respond much more favorably to your CRM project, because they'll see immediate value in the new system.
About the Author
Keith Eades is the founder, president, and CEO of Sales Performance International. In a career spanning more than 25 years, he has consulted with the senior management teams of dozens of leading edge organizations. In addition, Keith has personally trained more than 10,000 sales, sales management, and executive management professionals on the principles of Solution Selling. His clients include the world's top selling organizations like IBM, Microsoft, StorageTek, Manpower, and Right Management. Keith is an internationally renowned public speaker, as well as a published author of sales performance books. His newest book, "The New Solution Selling," was published by McGraw-Hill in December 2003. For more information on improving sales performance effectiveness, visit www.spisales.com or www.solutionselling.com or contact SPI at 1-704-364-9298