Are your Sales and Marketing Teams on the Same Page?

Growth in your business fundamentally depends on the effective hand-over of leads from Marketing to Sales. Marketing want to be generating good quality leads and  Sales want to be closing those deals. That’s been the way for at least a century – but amazingly, for too many organisations, this seems to be a really hard nut to crack. There’s an old joke in marketing that goes: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” That joke was made by John Wanamaker, a US department store owner. It still seems relevant today, yet John actually died in 1922. How can it be that that so little progress has been made in a hundred years? All too often, we hear tales of woe from Marketing along the lines of: “We’re passing Sales loads of leads – what do they do with them?” “I know it was a quality lead – we met at an event!” “And why is our customer data spread over so many spreadsheets – all in different formats, with no segmentation?” Similarly, Sales also have their own complaints: “I am not hitting target because Marketing do not provide enough leads” “The leads I do get are of poor quality – they are just not sales ready” “I am meant to be spending my time selling – not entering data into a system” Surely with all the progress we’ve made through an industrial revolution, a manufacturing revolution and an IT revolution, it shouldn’t still be this way? Of course it doesn’t – you can bet your bottom dollar that Larry Page over at Google or Jeff Bezos over at Amazon don’t...[Read in Full]

Six Ways to Increase CRM Adoption

CRM can bring a lot of benefits to your business – and there should be benefit for every single person within your organisation. However, change is always tricky to effect, especially if staff believe that they are already succeeding at what they’re doing and perhaps perceive that any change or new technology may be a hindrance, distraction or even a burden, rather than a true enabler to even greater success. For the managers, the motivation to impose a CRM system is often straight forward. Sales Managers want to better understand what’s going on within the sales pipeline, be provided with accurate sales forecasts and know that the team is going to hit target. Marketing Managers want to be able to rely on properly segmented data that reveals who the ideal customer really is and which can provide straight forward and measurable mechanisms for reaching out to the target audience. Customer Service Managers want reliable processes that help to retain customers, increase levels of satisfaction and which can help with SLA compliance and escalation, so that issues are resolved early in the contact cycle rather than ending up as problems on their desk. Given the above statement, it’s easy to see why traditionally CRM vendors have targeted managers when promoting their systems. The problem is that, other than viewing the KPI’s on their dashboards, managers rarely actually use much of the system. The task of entering data, recording correspondence and keeping the system up-to-date falls to others. That simple disconnect explains why so many CRM projects, that could bring tremendous benefit, instead fail to deliver their full potential value. So,...[Read in Full]

Six Ways to Increase CRM Adoption – Part 1 – Understand Sales People

Sales people are not technophobes, nor are they averse to change. They will readily embrace any technology that helps them sell (and therefore earn) more. By way of an example, try and find a sales person that has not visited LinkedIn within the last seven days, has a mobile that is more than two years old and still uses a Filofax or Rolodex, rather than some form of software aid, in which to record all of their contacts and appointments. Sales people are, however, sceptical about technology because technology by itself never sold a thing. It is the act of talking to a prospect that sells; everything else in life either helps or hinders that one singular process. The difference between closing a deal at 11:59 pm on the last day of the quarter versus 12:01 am on the next day could make the difference between earning that commission cheque or not. Time matters. So, in order to persuade a sales person to adopt a CRM solution you must, first and foremost, demonstrate how it is going to help them when it comes to talking to the prospect and how it’s going to free up time from other burdensome tasks so that they can talk to more prospects. To do that, it must tick as many of these boxes as possible: Be a source of new prospect data Enrich or supplement the minimal data that they have to enter Prompt when follow ups are due and remind about other tasks Automate reporting and reduce meetings Provide access to data whilst out of the office Automate laborious processes Show the...[Read in Full]

Six Ways to Increase CRM Adoption – Part 2 – Nominate Owners and Champions

CRM solutions often span more than one business department and this alone can lead to a number of challenges. Different departments or teams will have differing priorities and different levels of requirement. The success of a CRM solution may depend on wide adoption throughout the organisation and in this scenario it will be necessary to sell the idea to a variety of different people by finding benefit to all and avoiding burdening any one particular set of users. Ultimately, you will need to decide who will “own” CRM. Someone will need to coordinate the process, and act as an arbitrator in balancing different needs and priorities whilst still ensuring momentum. This is best performed in collaboration with your key departments. Research of our own customer database shows that in the vast majority of organisations, the process of selecting a CRM solution is owned by IT. However, after studying many successful CRM rollouts, it is often the case that end user groups with strong champions, who hail from departments such as sales or marketing are often more adept at owning this process. Elect a “champion” from the department that will own the CRM. Give the champion overall accountability to drive user adoption and evangelise the benefits of CRM within the organisation. Once you have a champion, select administrators and “super users” from each of the key departments who will use the system. Allow them to represent their departments during the rollout and ensure that they build a consensus around CRM within the department. Make sure that these super users have sufficient influence to represent their departments. Prior to implementation, leverage...[Read in Full]

Six Ways to Increase CRM Adoption – Part 3 – Train and Support the Team

Training No matter how intuitive your CRM solution is, or how familiar with other CRM solutions your team are, be prepared to either train the entire team or at least adopt a “train the trainer” approach. People will usually pick up the basics of using a CRM system quite quickly but often the most powerful features are not the most readily apparent ones. Without training, a new CRM system will struggle to increase productivity. Budget and plan for comprehensive training sessions. Make sure your team understands how the CRM software fits the company’s overall vision and strategy. Make sure that the party conducting the training also understands this view. If possible, work through the “Rules of Engagement” that you plan to implement with the training party ahead of time, so that a common approach and vision can be promoted. Also, whilst manuals, on-line videos and tutorials can provide a good introduction to a system, there is still benefit in either face-to-face onsite training, or at least web-ex based training so that staff can ask questions and can dictate the pace of their own learning. In particular, people will want to question how the system relates to their own work practices and processes and this can be difficult to extract from a video tutorial. Support Implementing CRM software may disrupt and change routines. Make sure management supports and assists the team through the short-term pain with regular coaching and reviews. Consider the level of support that the team will require. Determine whether this is best provided internally or via an external expert in the field such as from the vendor...[Read in Full]

Six Ways to Increase CRM Adoption – Part 4 – Employ Positive Motivators

Positive motivations, such as examples of how the CRM has contributed to a success, tend to be more successful than punitive motivations. For example, making CRM use into a monthly competition between sales people—in which consistent users are rewarded with a prize at the end of a sales period—can be an effective motivator. Identify and reward your strongest adopters. Review how your employees have used CRM during performance reviews. Announce and acknowledge the strongest adopters within the company and promote how they follow best practices. Introducing sales enablement technologies for alerting, lead management, enrichment of data and other functions can be a motivator if those technologies use CRM data to give sales people a leg up in selling. Negative or punitive motivations, such as reducing commissions on sales that weren’t tracked through CRM, can sometimes be effective (and in some regulatory controlled industries may be necessary) but they do tend to reinforce the perception of CRM as a tracking tool for management. Ultimately, a mixture of carrots and sticks may be needed to drive adoption, but do try to lean toward the carrot side of the equation in order to maintain staff effectiveness. Other Posts In This Topic: Part 1 – Understand Sales People Part 2 – Nominate Owners and Champions Part 3 – Train and Support the Team Part 4 – Employ Positive Motivators Part 5 -“Rules of Engagement” & Lead by Example Part 6 – Measure, Review and...[Read in Full]