Sales Process

CRM Tools: Beyond Tracking

CRM Tools: Beyond Tracking

Many salespeople hate CRM tools

And many sales managers do not fight the noble fight and insist that the salespeople use their CRM religiously.

To the brave new entrepreneur who may have a brilliant product or solution but who also may be going deep in the discipline of sales for the first time, CRM means “Customer Relationship Management” generally.

Specifically, CRM also refers to a company’s IT program where sales people track activities on each account and maintain in-depth customer profiles — from recent client proposals to a prospect’s anniversary and children’s birthdays.

It’s not hard to imagine why some salespeople hate the CRM.

“All that reporting and typing. That’s a drag on my time out in the marketplace.”

There is some truth to that. So any sales manager who puts processes over face-time with clients should take a big step back and assess.

On the other hand, if neither sales manager nor sales person qualifies and tracks each account, follow-up can be ineffective and opportunities can be lost. To any enterprise, start-up or existing corporation, this is your lifeblood… and sales management is the heart that pumps it.

Managed well, a CRM puts a wealth of information right at your fingertips.


But there’s an even bigger benefit

A CRM tool helps you plan… creatively.

I recently met a Business Unit Manager who improved her team’s sales performance by asking them the following question: “When you come back from your next sales visit, what do you hope you’ll type into the CRM with regards to meeting outcome?”

The team gave her a dozen different answers for two dozen different accounts.

“OK,” she said.  “Now when you plan ahead for each respective meeting, make that your meeting objective… in advance. Have a descending order of desired outcomes for each visit, printed on your call plan, most desirable at the top, knowing what you know when you plan.

“To the extent that you achieve these during your sales visit, we can call the visit a success, and we can measure how much closer we are to the sale.”

The B.U.M. told me later that it now helps the team develop creative applications and solutions for prospects and existing customers.

This is golden!

While a choreographer might not call something like a CRM tool “creative,” a sales manager should.  A good way to “sell” the CRM discipline to a sales team is to show them — as opposed to tell them — how the CRM can help them find creative sales solutions to prospects’ challenges, provided they do the disciplined stuff every day.


The gist 

A CRM tool should be seen as much more than just a tracking tool for salespeople and a control tool for sales managers.

Once the disciplined work is done, we can draw “business pictures” that help sales people and start-up entrepreneurs alike develop creative solutions for their prospects and, thus, close more deals earlier.


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