Taking Your Sales Process to the Next Level - HINT: Think CRM Integration
Sales managers are the front line in promoting adoption of the sales process with their reps. They achieve this through consistent and ongoing coaching sessions that focus on moving deals through the pipeline.
When utilised correctly the sales process can be a powerful tool to facilitate rapid behaviour change within your organisation. Taking your sales process to the next level can open a new world of opportunities, just like Super Mario getting the power-up mushroom in the popular platform video game series. The secret is sales CRM integration in the sales process.
Integrating Your Sales CRM in the Sales Process
Sales CRM Integration into your company's sales process sounds simple enough, but the reality is that most companies treat their CRM as a data repository.
Sales reps are required to input and update information about their calls, and sales managers access the data to make forecasts - and to adjust those forecasts, when necessary.
In reality, the level of adoption of the CRM is limited because the tool itself offers limited value to sales reps. Typically, they use it to discuss their activities with their sales manager, schedule appointments, and set reminders. Some companies try to do more with their CRM, adding marketing content at different stages of the sales process to align with the progression of the deal. There might be a benefit analysis to share with the prospect, a white paper on an industry issue, or a blank contract to provide initial terms.
Your Sales CRM is a Training Tool That Can Help You Improve Your Team's Sales Process
What we recommend at Richardson Sales Performance is to fully integrate the sales process with your organisation's CRM platform in order to raise adoption levels and usage of both the CRM and the sales process itself. When joined together, the CRM becomes the platform for coaching conversations because the activities for each stage of the sales process are defined and sequenced. You can also use the CRM to measure the success of training sessions, outcomes can be verified and discussed. There can be links to conversation models for particular activities. The sales manager can have access to high-impact coaching questions, and the CRM can capture the results of coaching sessions, noting commitments made.
With the sales process integrated into the CRM platform, sales reps gain greater value from the tool. They can see where they are in the process and what they have to do next. They can access training and marketing materials within one platform, so they don't have to search for resources. Everything is available within the CRM. Conversations between sales manager and rep can focus on moving deals forward instead of adjusting forecasts to reflect current circumstances.
The organisations making the most progress in this area are those where the responsibility for CRM strategy resides with sales support functions, like Sales Operations. When the IT department is the product owner, the CRM is less likely to reflect a customer-centric vision that best supports and enables sales reps to be more efficient and effective in their work. The IT department is better at security and policy and technology, while Sales Operations has a more comprehensive understanding of collaboration among the sales force, Marketing, and Learning & Development.
When closely aligned with the sales process, the CRM becomes a valuable and valued tool for taking results to the next level. In Super Mario terms, it's like getting extra lives to go further in the game.
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