Posts Tagged ‘Sales Automation’

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

Written by on . Posted in CRM, Sales & Technology

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.

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The TASC Top 10 – Number 1 You have no idea how much time is left on the game clock.

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology 1 Comment

We’ve been researching and studying and analyzing the sales process and methodology for a long time. Back in 1999, our CRM was called MODE and consisted of three modules: FIND for marketing; TASC for sales; and CARE for after-sales support and service. TASC was an acronym for Territory, Account, Sales cycle, and Contact, and it incorporated the ASPEC technology, although it wasn’t called ASPEC then.

It was, as I said, 1999, and CRM was in its infancy, not really understood as a software tool by most businesses. We wrote a series of ten vignettes illustrating various situations where CRM would solve some business problem and published them as the TASC 10. They are still relevant today, and sixteen years later, here is Number 1 – You have no idea how much time is left on the game clock.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process With Your ComputerReason No. 3 – Singing from the same page.

Written by on . Posted in Sales Methodology, Sales Process No Comments

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.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process with Your ComputerReason No. 2 – Because It’s the Best List Manager on the Planet!

Written by on . Posted in Sales Methodology, Sales Process No Comments

You can’t get lists out of your life – we depend on them. Before writing this I did a bit of research on the history of lists. Belle Beth Cooper in her wonderful article on lists says, “We pack all the madness and ambiguity of life into a structured form of writing. In short, making lists is a great way to increase our overall happiness and feel less overwhelmed.”

Beth’s was the first piece I turned up in my research and it drew me in so deeply I didn’t bother to go any further. She has some very excellent tips for those of us that are always searching for ways to pack more productive time into our lives. But, back to the post—I’m interested in the list as it applies to salespeople.

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

Written by on . Posted in General Sales Topics, Sales Methodology, Sales Process No Comments

Well right off the bat, computers are cool. Every salesperson has one in some form or another. The choice is not limited to laptops or desktops—might as well include smartphones, tablets, phablets, ultrabooks, chromebooks and, of course, pads and pods. And now there’s wearable computing—soon salespeople will be looking through Google Glass, and reading their schedule on their iWatch, Gear 2, and so on (and on).

Technology has proven valuable for salespeople, assisting in a zillion different ways to do things better, faster, and overall, just making things easier. The effect is, or should be, more sales. But all of this is not that new— can it be cool? Cool easily becomes a passing fad.

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Your CRM Solution – Great Dashboard and Poor Results

Written by on . Posted in General Sales Topics, Organization No Comments

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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The Evolution of Computational Selling – What You Need To Know About Sales Automation

Written by on . Posted in Sales & Technology, SFA No Comments

Regular HUB readers will know that at SalesWays we are constantly looking to improve sales performance using technology – that’s been a mission of mine since my early career in sales and my first personal computer. This is referred to as “sales force automation” and I’ve never really liked the term. It sounds too military for me—I see images of rows of salespeople lined up in battle formation. SFA spun out from “contact management” which involved PCs maintaining databases of names, addresses and other customer data. Attempts to store details of sales opportunities morphed it into SFA. As the information expanded in scope and involved workflow between other departments in the company, the terminology Customer Relationship Management (CRM) took over and quickly became the norm. Now most people are confused between SFA and CRM—trust me, my company sells both products and we find it hard to quickly convince people of the difference.

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Google’s Pokémon Challenge and What That Means For Businesses and Sales Teams Alike

Written by on . Posted in Miscellaneous Technology, Sales & Technology No Comments

Do you love Pokémon and want to work at Google? Well, if you follow their challange, you could become Google’s Pokémon Master and earn yourself a spot in the final round of hiring at Google, starting September 1st 2014. Simply open your Google Maps app on your Android or iOS Smart Phone to begin exploring the world and catching Pokémon. Sounds awesome right? Well, while I sit here and wish it were true, I too was fooled by Google’s latest April fools prank.

It wasn’t until I frantically searched through the comments on the Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge YouTube video, that reality sunk in. Yes, I had been an avid Pokémon fan growing up, but more impressive to me is the technology behind this concept. Google Maps for mobile is the world’s most popular app for smartphones and part of that success is due to how much information and big data Google has managed to package together.

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The Army of New Sales CRM Vendors, and Why They’ve Got It Wrong

Written by on . Posted in CRM, Sales & Technology No Comments

We have recently released a new version of ASPEC that has added Accounts, Contacts and Interactions to our Sales Tracking and Opportunity Management functions.  Some call this CRM, others call it Sales Force Automation. I tend to view ASPEC 4 as true Sales Automation.  As usual, however, there is no standard definition out there on what Sales Force Automation actually is – some say it includes inventory management while others define it literally as the automation of sales tasks.

I mention the distinction because there is a resurgence in what seems to be called “Sales CRM.”  Startups and Investors have recognized there is a large market opportunity in CRM, specifically for the sales organization. There are a number of relatively new players in this Sales CRM market, and their focus is almost entirely on sales process and opportunity management.  They all agree one thing – the established current CRM vendors just aren’t cutting it with helping sales people and sales teams win more business, be more disciplined, and be more productive.

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Effective Team Selling – The Culture of Sharing Information

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When the sales department gets automated, spin-off benefits are high both for the individual and the team, or, at least, they should be. An important thing to get right is to ensure a culture of “sharing”. Sharing plays a big role in the effectiveness in CRM, and by default, SFA projects.

I can see eyebrows being raised? Why should there be a problem with sharing? Well, in business (and remember, sales is the business of doing business), sharing is often something that people find difficult to do—sometimes a major shift in culture has to occur to make it happen. Salespeople are by nature competitive—and have to be. Their financial and spiritual reward depends heavily in individual effort, know-how, and tenacity. Knowledge gained from that is prized, and leveraged for career gain and success.

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