Sales intelligence—the knowledge that strengthens a sales force and enables it to accomplish more—comes in many varieties and from many places.
A 2013 survey by the Aberdeen Group reveals the benefits of sales intelligence when used properly. Unsurprisingly, the most successful businesses have significantly more accurate sales information than others. Counter-intuitively, however, these business also have their sales reps spend considerably less time looking for information. This points to an important insight: the best businesses find pertinent information quickly and efficiently, so that their sales forces can focus on selling.
This raises the question: what is the most effective way to gather sales intelligence? The Aberdeen study also examined this issue. The most common source of information for both average and top businesses was email. Web search engines were also popular ways of gaining intelligence among both. But one key difference between the top 20% of companies and the middle of the pack was the use of
CRM platform use is the #1 difference between the leading sellers and the rest—the former rely on CRM almost 50% more than the latter.
So why is CRM such a key factor in acquiring sales intelligence? There are several reasons. CRM allows for a “push” delivery model, which, in contrast to a “pull” model, automatically sends relevant information—and only relevant information—to the sales team, rather than requiring them to spend precious time looking for it.
Another helpful time-saving aspect of a CRM system is that it stores all data in a central location, usually in the company’s cloud so that it can be accessed from anywhere. This further reduces the need for a salesperson to hunt for information, freeing him or her to spend more time acting upon it. Anyone who needs information can find it quickly, exactly when they need it. Because circumstances can change fast, being the first to have pertinent intelligence often means being the first to make the sale.
In conclusion, for a business to excel, it must have a good CRM platform. Without one, its salespeople will find themselves wasting time trying to inefficiently gather information, while competitors are already making plans and putting them into action. If knowledge is power, then a CRM system is the cord that delivers that power to the sales team so that they can put it to good use.
If you are considering a CRM system, you can use this helpful tool to calculate costs and develop a business case for the initiative:
By Socius, a CRM partner in Ohio and Kansas (www.socius1.com)