Your CRM Solution – Great Dashboard and Poor Results

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Imagine someone is buying a car simply based on the quality of the dashboard instrumentation. The speedometer is more accurate than an average car, there is a wonderful navigation system that provides the driver with details of their journey, and a number of additional instruments displaying the engine condition. All of this is nicely presented with an attractive design and interface. Now this person takes out the new car for their first ride and it turns out that the car performs poorly. The acceleration is too low to keep up with the traffic. The fuel economy, combined with a small fuel tank, forces the driver to make frequent stops costing valuable time. The exclusive focus on the dashboard led to the purchase of a car with low performance superbly displayed on a fancy dashboard.

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Talent or Education? What Are The Characteristics of the Sales Dream Team?

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I was talking to a group of students about the best strategy to build sales teams, and there came an unexpected comment: “In my ideal team everyone would be like Messi.” (Ed. For us North Americans who play football with an oblong ball, Lionel Messi is a pre-eminent Argentine round footballer. Soccer, right?)

Although dangerous, the comparisons with soccer can help us understand some important aspects when we discuss team configurations in business.  In this case, the discussion revolved around about the importance of having talented or gifted sales professionals versus others who are not so talented, but who respond very well to training programs.  In the end, both can end up giving very good results.

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Is Sales a Customer Service?

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In our customer relationships, it is common to segregate sales activities from those we call service. In most organizations, the sales departments are completely separated from customer service or other post-sales activity. And CRM professionals and consultants themselves always mention that CRM consists of marketing, sales and service activities which, seems to place each of the three as an independent discipline.

Since Kotler and Armstrong, started to discuss an expanded concept of the product as “something that can be offered to a market to satisfy a wish or a need” at the end of the last century and the beginning of this one, sales activity began to have its centenarian paradigms questioned.

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The Sales Organization – Part 2

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There are many, many issues and considerations when building a successful sales organization. The most important thing is to understand this and go about the design and construction in a coherent way. You wouldn’t design and build your product without a clear plan. The same holds true for the organization that carries that product to the market. So, in no particular order:

Direct vs. Indirect. Is your sales staff your own or do you delegate this critical activity? Cash flow and instant market presence argue for an outside sales channel. Customer relations and sales focus say a direct sales staff. The answer might be any combination of these and depends on your product, market, resources, and goals.

Inside vs. Outside. Can you economically and effectively park your sales reps in front of the customer? Or does a phone or web site buffer you? Both can be effective, but the process is very different.

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The Sales Organization – Part 1

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Sales organizations and their processes and methodologies often evolve ad hoc without adequate study or planning or goals. They form out of the current business necessities and go through occasional re-organizations that reflect the demands of the moment, individual personalities, the resources available, or simply the way it has always been done.

They are set up for what is or for what has been, not for what could be.

This may be due to a simplistic view of sales held by management. There are those who believe “Them that can, do. Them that can’t, sell.” Or, that sales is black magic practiced by wizards who are best left alone. Or, by used car salesmen who can’t be trusted. For whatever reason, companies that will spend millions on product development won’t spend anything on sales organization or training or tools. Or, they won’t actively solicit and use feedback from the market because they don’t trust the source, the sales person.

But sales people are your market face. They are your customer’s advocate within your organization. More than your product or your brand, your sales staff impacts your relationships with your customers – past, present, and future.

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