Sales is the engine converting your back-end investments like CRM, Marketing Automation and collateral into revenue. If you want to impact bottom-line results, you need a sales process that provides sales leaders, and sales reps, the ability to manage, reinforce and inspect, not just a set of tools that aren’t integrated or relative to a seller’s day-to-day functions. Without real-time insight into what’s working, when, why and for whom, the effort to improve sales performance can become a costly game of darts.
Many companies equate their sales process with their CRM, as insight is often confused with oversight. At SAVO, we see this problem discourage companies all too often. They have a good tool, and they know what they want sales reps to be doing, but their concept for success and sales execution is just not aligning. If your CRM doubles as a sales process, you’ll lack the manager line-of-sight that’s needed to yield positive results.
A CRM system is, without a doubt, an integral part of both sales and marketing teams. However, CRM can’t stand alone as a “sales process.” The most important thing to understand about CRM is, essentially, it accounts for what your salespeople do. It won’t, by itself, influence the way your salespeople behave. It’s only one part of a larger system necessary to be a successful, contemporary sales team.
If you want to drive true sales transformation within your organization, you need a consistent process that enables:
Insight into your customer’s buying cycle
The right mix of supporting technology
Insight into the customer buying cycle
A sales process needs to align with critical, pre-determined events in a target customers’ buying process. It should enable sales activities to best address buyer objectives, dynamics, and participants at each stage.
For each sales stage, salespeople should be efficiently guided to a pre-determined set of selling activities, content, and behaviors known to drive results. This enablement effort should go beyond the sales team and include Marketing, Product Management, Training, and even Finance or Customer Service. Without this alignment and coordination, you risk confusion and a disconnected message for the buyer.
Reinforcement through front-line sales leadership
Front-line sales managers play a critical role in driving the sales process. Their measurement and reinforcement are the leader drivers of sustained change in an organization.
Use the CRM to enable the selling process
Best-in-class sales organizations use their CRM system to facilitate “selling in the process” The CRM should be deployed in conjunction with a sales process, along with any additional technology platforms designed to embed the sales process within the organization. Sales enablement technology often becomes the go-to source for seller productivity and effectiveness, because usage data can be automatically harvested and linked back to CRM.
Top performing sales organizations effectively align their sales process to their customers’ buying process and develop the tools necessary to manage, reinforce and inspect throughout the buying cycle.
Implementing an effective sales process is not a one-a-year training event. It demands cross functional alignment and reinforcement that involves CRM, sales enablement, front-line coaching, and underlying analytics to interpret and gain insight.
Salespeople who experience the value of being fully-enabled will engage more consistently in a process that drives measurable results.
Joellen Sorenson is the Director of Solutions Marketing at SAVO. SAVO’s sales enablement solutions help organizations bridge the “growth gap” between strategic revenue initiatives and actual results in the field.