No matter what Businness you are managing, you always have to be attracting new clients, nurture them to becoming clients and building the relationship. And you can always sell better and faster with a CRM.
Our latest episode of the Marketing Strategy Show with guest Tom Moin from Hubspot was packed full of information about how Sales CRMs can help you sell better and faster, some of the pitfalls and how newer technology has overcome them. Which made me think about my journey with CRMs over the last 20+ years and how by sharing some of the mistakes I have made could help you avoid them.
Some CRM History
20+ years ago when I was a Marketing Manager working at 3M, a large international manufacturer, management decided to introduce a CRM. The CRM promised to capture all the customer knowledge that was in the sales team’s head to ensure better follow-up, consistency in approach and close more sales. But the real essence was to keep track of what the sales team did.
In various Management and Sales Management roles over those last 20+ years, I have used many CRMs and had various sales teams I’ve managed use CRMs. But almost without exception at some point when the initial gloss had gone from the CRM launch, l and the team started to use it less and less. That meant there was less and less valuable information in the CRM. Which meant it was of less value to me as a Manager, and the team as a business tool. So while we never actually made a decision to stop using the CRMs – they all withered away and died
Why have CRMs failed?
After interviewing Tom Moin on the Marketing Strategy Show Podcast, I looked back on these experiences and realised the problem was not necessarily the CRM, but that the whole project came from a “sales management” approach rather than the user – the salesperson’s view. As I said earlier the major challenge when implementing the CRM was getting the salespeople to actually use it.
Manual data entry has been the downfall of many CRMs because that leads to human error and laziness. There is also a belief that in general salespeople tend to hate entering that kind of data. However management wants salespeople to be selling 100% of the time, while also handling customer enquiries, entering data into the CRM, doing reports, servicing clients, plus, plus. The cartoon above is very true in a lot of businesses.
The reality harsh reality is that the payoff is not there for a salesperson vs. the effort from entering all the data into a CRM.
Will people use the CRM?
In the Marketing Strategy Show podcast on CRMs, our guest, Tom explained why his CRM system is the most critical tool he has as it allows him to manage his business relationships and prioritise his time so he knows who to talk to and when to talk to them from prospecting all the way through to closing or bringing on the prospect as a customer.
We are at a point currently where you can automatically pull all your interactions into one spot. So you don’t have to click, log a call, paste in your call notes and then summarise everything. A good CRM like Hubspot simply pulls in your email transcript and puts it on that contact record, the same can be done for your calendar. Hubspot (among other CRM’s) has now reached the point where you can make calls within the CRM and it will be recorded as a transcript you can view later.
The prospect of being able to access all your information on leads and all the material on ongoing deals and prospects is one of the biggest motivators pushing both salespeople companies towards re-evaluating how they can start using CRM’s today.
Can’t I just use a spreadsheet?
Tom also recalled when there was a very basic CRM system in place, an “advanced excel spreadsheet” – sound familiar to you? Many businesses may start this way. An excel spreadsheet with a list of all contacts and a comment beside each contact re the status of the relationship.
The problem with using a spreadsheet as a permanent resource is that it can get cluttered very quickly and it might be good for the current status business but how do you manage that going forward for years?
Or if there is a turnover in staff how does a new hire easily familiarise themselves with a cluttered spreadsheet bursting with important information. It is important to use a simple CRM system, as it is highly unlikely that you will have the same staff for the entirety of the business. With a proper CRM you can avoid a lot of the hassles of employee turnover by having all your customer relationship information digitised and transcribed for easy access and searching.
The 5 Traps of a CRM
Here are 5 pitfalls that we discussed on the podcast that make a great checklist if your CRM is not working or if you are considering updating/implementing a new CRM system:
- Confusing a database with a CRM. A database is a static document or spreadsheet containing all the data regarding your customers. Whereas a CRM is a moving, evolving system containing contact info, sales information and details on where all customers and prospects are in their sales journey.
- Management telling the salespeople to use the CRM instead of implementing the CRM with a thorough explanation. They tend to forget to make sure the sales people know how to use the system
- Not entering correct data. The CRM system is only as good as the information people are putting into it.
- Not making sure that the sales staff use it as a single source of truth – where they report from, where they forecast from, where all information is stored
- Believing the purchase of a CRM will be an instant solution to all your sales woes. It’s just a tool to help salespeople sell better and faster.
So if you haven’t considered a CRM recently maybe now is the time to take a look. But consider the 5 traps above and make sure you don’t fall into once of them. If you want to listen to the entire podcast go to the Marketing Strategy Show in iTunes, Stitcher or you can listen on our website.
If you would like some more information on how a CRM can help your organisation, you can download our free ebook – “Selling Better and Faster”, call (02) 9125 0520 or book us for an obligation-free discussion call.