Part Two is called “The Core Competencies” and discusses the topics of territory, account, contact and sales cycle management. When I wrote this material I was looking at the issues facing the sales manager and how he or she might be setting up a new CRM system. The competencies definitely are a good starting point.
When I look back to the way I framed this—I was writing it ten years ago—I was very much homing in on the CRM view of things. Later in the book, the strategic importance of what happens in the sales cycle took over and moved conversation more in the direction of SFA.
Territories, accounts and contacts very much fall under the jurisdiction of CRM. The information deals with the details of “who is the customer?”, “who do they work for?”, and which salesperson is assigned to them (geographically or otherwise.) It’s good to get all of that stuff straightened out before launching a CRM initiative. The data under in these three silos needs to be complete and above all, accurate—salespeople do and should demand that.
When I talk about “sales cycle management”, I’m referring to the sales opportunity. There is a side of the opportunity that resides fair and square with CRM such as product details, customer, scope, and deal size. Strategic information relating to actual selling activity such as competitive advantage, sales tactics, sales methodology, etc., belongs to SFA. But the SFA action is virtually always stored in, and is a part of, the CRM system. Nothing wrong with that, but bear in mind, the customer doesn’t care a fig whether the salesperson is using Solution Selling or Miller-Heiman in the sales transaction.
Why bother to belabor this point? Because I’m leading a crusade to bring back Sales Force Automation, as regular readers will know. Territory, Account, and Contact Management are about gaining efficiency in the sales department. Sales Cycle Management is about improving effectiveness. Anyway, I hope Part Two, The Core Competencies, will be useful.
Please comment if you have questions—we welcome discussion. Part Three should be ready very soon.