I was at an organization this past week with lots of data and expensive technologies, but they are failing to achieve their expected sales outcome. Their question was how is this possible?
In their case the technology, even the information, is not the issue. The real issue is that they don’t have a view into their sales pipeline process.
Their account reps and managers lack a view into the sales pipeline process through their CRM. As such, using the advantages of a sales opportunity pipeline to drive next action is not relevant. The information associated with the prospect opportunity is not aligned with their sales process. So even the basics, such as what step in the process is the opportunity, or what action will it take to move the prospect to the next step is missing from CRM to guide the sale rep.
In this environment, one can forget about having a valuable sales forecast. Far too many of their opportunities are not only not being won, but neither lost, as they end up as a No Decision. Without vision into the sales process, the no-man’s land of no decision is where the opportunities go to die a slow death, fading off over time. These opportunities get discussed each week until they just drop out of everyone’s memory.
How to Fix
You may have a sales and marketing system, CRM, which can deliver up this information. However, is it working to drive the activity for the growth goals that are expected this year?
Step one: Can you flowchart the sales process? If not, you cannot expect a CRM system to be of much help.
Step two: Are you able to list what action(s) the buyer needs to take in order to move them to the next step in your process? Do you know your next sales or marketing actions that will help them move forward?
Step three: Set up your sales process inside of CRM to drive the next action of the sales rep, or marketing, and in a way that gives you vision into the process and everyone’s actions or lack of actions.
Step four: Monitor, measure, monitor more and make changes as needed.
Keep in mind that CRM is not a destination but a journey. Your monitoring and measurements will better position you to fine tune the process.