Most of the Sales People I Coach Hate Their CRM Software…
Yes, it’s been some time since I posted…not because I’ve abandoned my blog, but rather, I’ve been heads down moving to a new CRM system! For those who have made this move, you know it’s a big deal – but an important one. The fact is, most of the sales people I’ve coached over the past 10 years hate their CRM – why? Because all it does is slow them down.
What CRM Software Should Do For Sales Reps
Customer Relationship Management Software – well, that about sums it up. The software should enable or automate customer relationship management…if it doesn’t, something’s wrong.
Does your software really help you manage relationships with your customers?
If you’ve been in this business for a long time you might remember the days of using Outlook or even manilla folders to manage customers. Those days are long gone and I’m glad.
You might have used ACT on your PC at some point – remember, back before Windows. ACT was actually a great software program before they rewrote the software to truly be a Windows application. I was on ACT early in my career. It worked. But after the Windows version, I think I spent more time rebuilding my database than managing relationships. It wasn’t long before I made the move to Salesforce.com.
I also had some time with Siebel – another business inhibiting application. They must train their sales people to call high, because a sales rep would never have chosen this route.
What should your CRM software do for you? If I think back on my own sales, or those I’ve coached.
It’s the automated customer relationship aspect that really matters. I can look up people in Outlook, and even send a one-off email to them. I can take notes in Evenote, or on paper if I have to. But it’s the automation that I covet.
Many of us are keeping up with hundreds or thousands of contacts – looking for those ready to buy. We need a system that automates the “Keeping in Touch” aspect, so we know where to spend our time. No one has time to keep up with 500 or 2000 people by phone or with one-off emails. And you and I know, if you forget to contact someone for over a year, they’ll forget they know you. Somehow we all need a way to stay in touch.
Sales managers – you need to know if your sales people are getting the functionality they need on their current platform – If not, it’s either because it has not been properly customized, they have not been properly trained, or the software just doesn’t do it.
Here’s what CRM should do:
1. Allow the rep to group their contacts into like-groups for prospecting and follow up.
2. Mass mailing (Without the bureaucracy of getting marketing people involved). A sales person should be able to come into work, have an idea that includes reaching out to 50 or 200 people, and send out mail to that group…I’ve worked with several sales people who can’t send a mass email!
3. Campaigns – taking that a step further, a campaign process allows that rep to create a series of emails and set them up to go out sequentially to that same group. That means they can script them out, schedule them, and track them. To make this even better, if the system knows which clients responded to the first mail, and don’t need to be involved in the second, that would be great. Supplementing with an auto responder would be another option – I recommend to my clients that they subscribe to an auto responder if their CRM solution can’t do this for them.
4. Organize information – emailing and capturing replies, deal history, etc. This needs to be easy and quick to use. If all of the email correspondence happens in Outlook, the history is either lost or saved, but not with the CRM record for that contact – which is useless in the long run.
5. Pipeline management – with an easy to navigate system. Of course, this has to be easy to use, responsive, and include meaningful reporting. But every sales person needs an easy to use system for tracking deal progress – one with meaningful deal stages.
6. Team work and Collaboration – If your team sells in teams, the system should allow for some way to collaborate in a social business-like atmosphere.
I’m sure there is more – but these are the basics. Feel free to comment and add other must-have features.
What Sales Managers Need
A Sales Manager’s needs are much different. But the number one thing a sales manager needs is a productive sales team. So when the software of choice is the sales manager’s choice, but not the sales person’s choice, the manager gets great reporting tools without the required information in the system. So the reports are meaningless.
The other thing every sales manager needs is history after a sales rep leaves. If the system doesn’t encourage sales people to keep everything in their CRM application, when they leave, the company loses just about everything that rep has produced over their tenure. This data is important to the company…
Why I Moved From Salesforce.Com
I’m sure Salesforce has a great solution – I’ve used it for 10 years. I moved to Salesforce from ACT, and it was a much needed move for me. I used it as best I could and even recommended it to others – it’s been ten years!
My primary reason for joining the Salesforce customer list was uptime. I was tired of ACT and the constant database issues. The good news is, I don’t think my system was ever down. The one great thing about cloud applications is this – as a small company, I can suddenly join companies like Cisco, having access to the same enterprise tools as a 40 billion dollar company, without spending a million dollars. The problem is, I can’t afford the customization a company like Cisco will go through to implement Salesforce in a way that works for my particular sales process.
“Campaigns” is my biggest issue with Salesforce. A way to stay up with thousands or people while adding hundreds of people automatically each quarter through pay-per-click ads and landing pages. I also need a way to reach out to hundreds or even thousands of contacts at one time, with follow up sequences that make sense.
After much trial and error, I found the Salesforce Campaign process to be completely unmanageable. On the other hand, Infusionsoft Campaigns are easy. Set up a sequence on a map-like interface, write some emails, and click “go”. The software does the rest.
Hopefully this will allow me to stay on top of more campaigns, reach more people, and reduce the number of people who just don’t care about the things I offer. At the same time I would like those I do stay in contact with to get more of my time – especially those who I call customers. After all, it’s a relationship that needs to be managed – or perhaps nurtured.
© David Stelzl, 2014