Through the years I’ve come to appreciate the tremendous impact CRM technology can have on sales operations, but most importantly on the organization as a whole. No matter what your business or industry - you are selling the value your organization brings to the markets you serve. How effectively you do this will directly impact your bottom line. Companies who benefit greatly from implementing a CRM Strategy are those that first focus on automating “sales” operations. Now I’m not talking about CRM technology - that’s the easy part. Technology will not fix organizational problems and it won’t magically instill a sales strategy.
Sales management is the driving force behind the ultimate success a business has implementing a CRM strategy. The most important consideration in successful sales management is having a focused and accountable sales force. Secondly, sales management must instill a well defined sales process, selling phases, and clearly articulated goals and expectations throughout the sales organization. Thirdly, instilling a sales operating rhythm with regular business reviews will provide insight into sales pipelines and help you accurately forecast business results against business goals. The old adage “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” illustrates the critical role technology plays in a business’s CRM strategy.
From a sales organization perspective there are a few key focal points that need to be taken into consideration when introducing CRM technology to the sales force.
Reduce the administrative tasks required by the sales force as it relates to the CRM system. Align the business’s expectations of the CRM system with the goals each sales person is being measured on – then make it as easy as possible for the sales person to interact with the CRM system. Focus on reducing the number of “clicks” from an input and output standpoint. Taking time from selling or talking with customers and prospects is a self-defeating strategy.
Institute a top down view of business metrics as it relates to sales pipeline. From the CEO, VP Sales, Regional Sales, District Sales to Account Executives a consistent reporting package will ensure common definitions, expectations, and visibility up and down the organization. A reporting package that serves as the barometer for sales execution will also drive user adoption – the top executives will require it. If done properly, it will provide real time measurement of actual performance vs. goals at every business level.
Implement CRM technology that takes technical barriers out of the equation, is easy to use, and is flexible enough to adapt to your organization without high customization costs. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is AbleBridge’s only CRM technology focus because we feel it is encompasses all of these elements. The that fact it’s a web based solution that can be accessed from within Microsoft Outlook or any internet connection is huge from a sales person’s perspective. In fact, we have several customers whose “road warriors” manage their pipelines through their mobile phones.
AbleBridge’s business first, technology second approach has always been about defining and aligning internal processes with technology. Once an organization does this the impact is tremendous. When an organization can do this for the sales organization it will transform the business. This is the beginning of a true CRM Strategy.
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