…But you can’t make them “drink”. As in, drink the CRM Kool-Aid.
And why not? I have some time on my hands so let’s go through why not and the anatomy of a sales producer’s livelihood and a day in the life of your better than average producer. Hmmm, shouldn’t that be a day in the life of your average sales producer? Not in sales, we call those people unemployed or on their way to unemployed. So anyway…back to the analysis of a sales person’s week and how they get through it.
Monday morning comes and the first thing that a real producer is engaged in usually involves customers and moving their deals down the pipeline. At some point during the weekend our producer put together a game plan on how to attack the week and make the most out of it. The thought process of a “work week” is any day that you wake up and you manage to squeeze in a work/life balance along the way.
By mid-day on Monday the previous week’s reports on activities and deals have already been submitted to management and even more time on the weekend was spent to pulling the information together to keep from draining precious selling time. A call from a manager just to confirm the validity of the information and to review deals is the only thing that steals from selling time at the begining of each week.
When Tuesday arrives the selling week is in full swing and meetings are scheduled most of the day. Part of the day is reserved for meeting with internal team members on reviewing existing customer projects because there is no visibility into the project management system. Without getting these updates and helping resolve some of some of the customers’ issues the profitability and compensation plan could take a hit.
On Wednesday on the way to a meeting things start to go sideways. A couple of unexpected requests come in and then a string of phone calls ensue back and forth between customer and one of the project teams. Before you know it several hours of prospecting are gone and at the end of the day nothing is resolved.
As Thursday starts up things calm down and the previous day’s emergencies don’t impact setting up appointments and developing some proposals. The day is going smoothly until two of the most recent proposals begin circulating back and forth between the producer, his manager and project managers. When everything is settled another day is gone.
Finally, the end of the week is filled with setting a few more meetings and negotiating a few contract points with several prospects. As Friday winds down the cycle gets ready to begin anew.
So, why would I go through this narrative and how does it relate to CRM? I went through this because it is a typical situation that I see time and time again. The people that have to use and make the most out of these systems don’t care about technology and don’t care about using a CRM. What they do care about is anything that can make their world more efficient and free up more selling time.
If you are buying, implementing or selling CRM systems you need to take the end user into consideration. CRM success will be measured by what the system actually does to make a difference in day to day life of the people that use the system. In the scenario above CRM could make a significant difference to this producer’s production, happiness, and effectiveness.
CRM can be used to generate reporting automatically so that activity and call reports don’t need to be generated. Project teams can use systems that are extensions of CRM and sales and deployment teams can utilize the document storage features of a CRM to stay on the same page. If you add in mobile access to CRM data and providing more access to internal data sources the real power of CRM comes alive.
If our mythical producer had a well-designed solution he would be a proponent of CRM because it would create more opportunities to sell and easier ways to work through internal team members on customer issues. He would also see more time on weekends with friends and family instead of generating time consuming reports and have a better work life balance and better attitude and morale while performing his selling functions.
The problem with this entire scenario is that many sales people have been made to use these systems in the past with little or no input into what they need or how the system will make a difference in how they reach their goals.
So, the next time you find yourself having problems with adoption or hear people complaining about a system, then look at how the system came about and who was given an opportunity to provide input or feedback.