The CRM Debate Goes On: Do We Really Need It?

Over the years, we’ve worked with literally thousands of companies considering a CRM system. Big companies, small companies, in-between companies. Some bought ours, some bought someone else’s, and some did nothing. It is this last group that this paper addresses.

I recently polled an industry group of manufacturers who sold capital equipment and services to a narrow, B2B market segment. Their sales cycles are long, complex, and varied, the competition is stiff, and the repeat business substantial. A dream market for CRM. Over half of them have no CRM system, and no active plans to implement one.

One part of me says “great, more sales opportunities for me.” Another part says, “why not?”

The reasons I hear (and interpret):

  • “We don’t need it.”

This is usually accompanied by “Excel/ Outlook/ Quickbooks/ Other works just fine.” But you do need it. You think you don’t because business is going along as it always has, so why rock the boat? The answer is because your customers and competitors are already rocking the boat, and you’re gonna get swamped sooner or later. Continue Reading

  • Multitasking In Sales

    Studies have shown that multitasking doesn’t actually work for people. This is especially true in sales, and Keith Thompson looks at the reasons why and some techniques to increase productivity

    Read this article

  • The Other Side of the Selling Equation

    Wherever there is a sales cycle, there is a buying cycle. The successful salesperson knows this and makes sure he understands the buyer's equation and plans accordingly.

    Read this article

  • Process? We don’t need no stinkin’ process.

    Everything that humans do is process. Everything.

    Process is “a systematic series of actions directed to some end.” That pretty much describes everything you do, from brushing your teeth to designing a jumbo jet. The only time we escape process is when we’re asleep.

    So why do many sales people react with, “Process? We don’t need no stinkin’ process.” (Apologies to Humphrey Bogart and Gene Wilder.) But you do. And here is the most important process you need: choosing the sales opportunity you’re going to work on right now.

    That’s more important than your process for closing the sale because if you’re working the wrong opportunity, winning doesn’t matter. Neither does losing, which you will do more often than your manager will like.

    That’s more important than your process for prospecting a lead because when that lead becomes an opportunity, chances are you’ll screw it up if you don’t get it into its proper priority in your pipeline. Continue Reading

  • Trillion Interactions

  • Multitasking In Sales

  • What is Sales – A View From An Expert?

    I’m reading a good book called Zero to One, written by Peter Thiel, one the guys who founded PayPal. My life was changed by that app – my wife would agree.

    Peter includes a chapter on sales which looks like it’s written for people in business who don’t understand sales – to the extent that in their business sales does not exist.

    For instance:

    “The most fundamental reason that even businesspeople underestimate the importance of sales is the systematic effort to hide it at every level of every field in a world secretly driven by it.”

    Wow! A very elegant statement of a phenomenon that, after many years in sales, I continue to run into.

    “The engineer’s grail is a product great enough that “it sells itself.” But anyone who would actually say this about a real product must be lying: either he’s delusional (lying to himself) or he’s selling something (and thereby contradicting himself).”

    Engineering companies hate to admit they have salespeople. A consultant friend of mine in Germany has a large contract to help ease a large construction company into the idea that they should build a sales department. They realized this after too many competing companies taking business from them. Continue Reading

  • The Difficult Close

  • 20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process with Your ComputerReason No 1 – Because It’s Cool

    In a 20-part series, Keith Thompson explains why the computer (or any smart device) can do much more than keep list and appointments and create reports. It can be your partner in navigating the sales process.

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