The common way for sales teams to get automated is through a CRM system. Early adopters of CRM have managed to iron out the flaws and have settled down to life with CRM doing a pretty good job of assisting with customer experience—making it as good as you can.
Salespeople and sales managers use the CRM system. If the CRM is implemented correctly, they have to. Sales, however, is the last bastion to get into the CRM fold and sometimes only with kicking and screaming. There are reasons for that which are a fairly common topic in my posts. Let’s think a bit about what the sales manager wants out of computer involvement with his team and his processes.
The first thing he or she wants is consistency. That’s a core philosophy of CRM—its mandate is to make things happen fluidly and transparently across the team, which is not possible if everyone is allowed to do their own thing. Take sales methods for instance. These are the cookbooks, the know-how, the processes for working the actual sale. The sales manager doesn’t need fifty people under his wing approaching selling in different ways—using different languages, tactics, and interpretations in working with the customer to win a deal. Everyone is usually required to follow principles, guidelines and rules set down by the sales manager, based on a proven history of success and his or her own preferences based on experience. There has to be a common sales method with a built-in process that everyone is following—or chaos reigns.
Sales managers usually rely on sales training to get their favourite sales method in front of, and used by their teams. Training is usually conducted in intense sessions by inside or outside experts. Reinforcement is handled (or should be) by regular tune-ups, retraining, one-on-one sessions until the method is inculcated into the team culture. But it rarely happens that way. Most stuff is forgotten after the boot camp is over. Sales training does not have a good reputation for long term success.
But making a common sales methodology work effectively across the team can be done—by choosing one that can be baked into the CRM system. Assuming a well-run CRM, everyone has to use it, especially salespeople. If the sales opportunity can only be entered, reviewed and worked through CRM then adoption is high. If the sales method is fundamental and respected retention will also be high. It’s a win-win for the manager and the salesperson.
There are lots of caveats though. Training of the method is still necessary, but it will be easier to do it regularly because the “in your face” nature of usage within the CRM system. Reinforcement on a daily basis with every opportunity the salesperson encounters is nirvana.
But the method has to be effective and workable, that way it gets respect and adoption.
Choosing the right method to work this way should focus on fundamentals: identifying the opportunity, getting the essential parameters reviewed regularly, updated and recorded. The flow of the customer’s buying process has to be programmed into the method, allowing triggers and advice to the salesperson to keep on track.
Next: Reason #4 Recording conversations with the customer