Don’t Waste Your CRM Dollars
One thing that makes sales unique from other departments in an organization is that it is probably the easiest to measure the success of the sales organization because it is tied directly to revenue. This seems to be especially true at expansion-stage software companies. However, even within expansion-stage software companies reporting is all too often a major pain point for either the people who use the reports to make decisions, the people running the reports, or both.
With the incredible technology that has been developed over the last 15 years creating an infrastructure to house all of your business data, has been dramatically simplified. With today’s hosted CRM solutions you don’t need a team of IT specialists to have useful real-time data. As a result the challenges facing organizations today with regards to their business data are much less related to the way the data is stored and much more related to how regularly and accurately it is referenced and updated by the people using it. This fact has significant implications for the entire organization from the sales reps to the CEO. This sounds like an exaggeration, but for particular situations putting this idea into practice can have a signification impact. For example:
In a recent conversation I had with someone at one of our portfolio companies (which uses salesforce.com as their CRM solution) I found out that the sales team was conducting daily pipeline reviews off of a Google Doc. This means that every day inside sales reps update the Google Doc with their Opportunities that should be closing, along with: amount, number of licenses, license type, next steps, and some other information. Mean while their sales ops manager who doubles as the salesforce.com admin is working on initiatives to improve user adoption and data integrity, because the sales reps don’t always fill out important fields accurately, if at all in the system.
If the sales managers used a salesforce.com report with the appropriate fields displayed they would then also see that those fields are not being filled out in salesforce.com. This would then send a message to the sales reps that management actually does look at the data in saleforce.com, which would then encourage them to fill out those fields more carefully and take better notes in salesforce.com. Arguably this would also improve their ability to forecast and close deals because they have a better understanding of each opportunity they are managing at any given time.
The point is that if an organizations leadership makes a decision to spend the money and adopt a CRM solution, then they the leadership, should also be driving and encouraging the adoption of the solution throughout the organization. Doing so has potential to create a culture of diligence, organization, and best practices. Doing otherwise is just a waste of CRM dollars.
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