I’m hard pressed to find a sales rep that can work a new lead, take it through an entire sales process, and produce a sale quickly Everyone needs support throughout the sales process, but many have a hard time doing a skills self-assessment and asking for the type of support that will make them successful. Reps have different strengths and weaknesses, and no matter who you are, it’s difficult to look at a deal and make those strategic decisions. So where should reps look for the best direction when they are in the heat of battle? More often than not, reps revert to their CRM, because that’s what they know and many times it’s what we tell them to do – because that’s what we’ve spent all of our time and money on.
But is CRM always the right solution or the end-all, be-all solution?
This begs the question – to enable sales reps to be successful and really empower them to execute a sale, what solution do you need most – CRM or sales enablement? Of course neither if you haven’t taken the time to outline a clear strategy, but assuming you have, which do you go with? Alone, CRM and sales enablement have extraordinary benefits, but in most cases, real results are found in the balance of both.
Let’s start with the benefits of CRM and sales enablement. What does each solution provide?
CRM Technology Overview:
- A nucleus of customer information resulting in a baseline understanding of the customer. It’s the central point in the universe.
- A comprehensive view of sales execution – a view of sales pipeline, activity and sales stage, enabling the sales team to determine perceived success.
Sales Enablement Technology Overview:
- Strategic insights to ensure salespeople are prepared to interact with customers and prospects in the most fluent, compelling way. Everywhere. At any time.
- Sales teams are equipped to not only sell more, but smarter.
What can organizations do to help reps see the benefits of CRM?
For sales reps, the misaligned expectation from management vs their own expectation makes adoption of CRM difficult. Successful adoption often means crawling before walking. Sales management and operations ask sales reps to provide a lot of deal information in their CRM –competitors, management information, steps taken, future tasks, etc. While much is necessary, it tends to benefit sales leadership more than sales reps. While entering data sounds like a pretty easy ask, the reality is that sales reps spend too much time on non-selling, administrative work already and receive little personal payback for their investment (I think I just heard an amen from a reader).
To truly optimize productivity, organizations should be mindful of what kind of data they’re asking reps to enter and ensure that reps are receiving useful feedback and next steps in return for their work. There has to be something in it for the rep, something that tells them that the effort isn’t just a mindless timekiller that fulfills some exec’s request for a CRM report. For example, when reps enter competitive information, they should receive competitive intelligence. By providing sales reps a chance to understand the value of CRM before asking for too much information, they can gain higher adoption.
Maximizing the capabilities of CRM can change an entire organizational perception of it. To make it an even stronger solution, augmenting CRM with complementary solutions like sales enablement elevate the experience to one that actually gives reps something in return. As a follow-up to this post, we’ll be discussing the reciprocal relationship with CRM and more about the benefits of CRM augmentation. Stay tuned for more!