Managing your Sales Pipeline - Why don't sales people use CRMs?


CRM's.  They're an essential element to managing any sales team. 

So why don't sales people use them properly?  And why is the wrangle to have a CRM with data integrity such a struggle for many sales managers?

Here are 3 ways for sales leaders to address this issue with their teams so that their CRM becomes a sales tool rather than a chore:

1. Develop protocols for imputing information into CRM

You've employed your sales people for their ability to connect with people and win more business, not for their admin skills.  Remember that.  So, unless it's easy for them to update your CRM, they won't.  And that means that you won't be able to trust it as an accurate forecasting tool. Make it a business imperative (or even a KPI), to update an account, contact or opportunity in your CRM after every sales call. Outline for sales people that you're looking for the following information in bullet point format:

  • New information discovered during the meeting that progresses the opportunity (size of opportunity, areas affected, competitor information, stage in decision making process, cost of problem/need, etc)

  • Additional people in the decision making matrix

  • Next steps

2. Develop protocols for using CRM as a planning tool

Because most sales people see their CRM's as a data repository, they only use them when they are forced to add information or at best, as a source of information in researching an opportunity.  Make it a practice for them to use the next steps piece from their previous visit as a way for them to identify how best to progress their next conversation with an opportunity. Help your team to develop a business as usual approach to going in to the CRM prior to every visit to help them identify what they need to focus on in order to progress that opportunity.

3. Drive accountability and relevance with your sales team

Doing the above 2 steps will help your team start to see why keeping their CRM up to date will help them.  But human nature suggests that unless there is an accountability measure, over time, the practice will drop off.  So here are a couple of ways in which you can drive accountability:

  • Based on previous and upcoming meetings had and upcoming meetings, let your team know you're doing spot checks on opportunities in the CRM and will be discussing these during your one on one catch ups

  • Keep the opportunities discussed random but relevant: they must be opportunities with meeting scheduledmet with or upcoming opportunities. The focus for these discussions should be based on captured information and its relevance to moving that opportunity forward and how these insights are being used to focus the next conversation.

Once 'the why' is established with your team, you can organise the structure of your CRM so that it's driving value rather than busy-ness.

Tips from John Buchanan, Beyond 19, Coaching Practicing Lead:

1. Data is very important to success provided it is accurate and relevant

2. Good analysis of the data is essential to good planning and decision making

3. Data alone will not drive results

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