Today’s guest post is by Somrat Niyogi, CEO and cofounder of Stitch.
Do your salespeople fail to follow your sales process? Are they bogged down by administrative tasks? Are their sales pipelines sluggish and inconsistent?
If your organization is suffering from any of these problems, it’s time to take a look at your relationship to your CRM system.
CRM systems are flawed. They act as a repository for information but aren’t designed to help salespeople actually sell, be more productive, or simplify sales activities. In fact, the number one question sales leaders ask me is how can they effectively use technology in a way that helps their salespeople follow the sales process.
I believe that the solution is to use CRM data in a “smart” way and introduce automation to the sales process. We call this “intelligent sales automation.” Here are two problematic behaviors we see in salespeople and how intelligent sales automation addresses each one.
Problem #1: Salespeople typically choose to work on the deals that they know are closest to closing.
Naturally, salespeople want to invest time in closing deals that are easiest or most likely to close so they can get their commission check and/or meet quota; however, this means that deals and relationships that appear earlier in the funnel are generally ignored. This has two consequences: 1) early-stage opportunities and relationships can run cold (sometimes permanently), and 2) salespeople must start from square one each month or quarter (or whenever quotas are reset) to rebuild their pipeline.
Your salespeople are not necessarily losing touch with early-stage deals on purpose. What they need is a tool that prompts them to follow up with a particular contact at the optimal time, meaning when that contact is likely to be in buying mode.
Your CRM system is a great place to store information and create to-do lists, but it is simply not capable of assisting salespeople at this level. By contrast, salespeople who use Stitch find that the prompts help them reengage with prospects at ideal times. This contributes to a more robust and consistent sales pipeline.
Problem #2: Salespeople frequently fail to enter data and information into CRM systems.
Salespeople want to spend as much time as possible on activities that will help them close deals, reach quota, and collect their commission. Similarly, sales leaders also want salespeople to prioritize selling activities; the more time spent on selling activities, the better the chances of bringing in more revenue.
Sales leaders, however, have an added need to capture data related to sales activities, because this data helps them track the sales pipeline and roll out sales forecasts. When data is inaccurately entered into or missing from the CRM system, sales managers don’t know what’s happening with pending deals, and it’s impossible to predict revenue streams.
With traditional CRM systems, the burden is on the rep to take time away from selling activities and devote time (up to 19 percent, according to a CEB study) to administrative tasks such as data entry. With an intelligent automation platform, however, salespeople are prompted to enter information at precisely when new information becomes available. Auto-fill capabilities make it faster and easier to get data into the system. The data in the system improves, and forecasting becomes more accurate.
For salespeople, a well-defined and optimized sales process can be the difference between success and failure. Although traditional CRM systems fall short, sales intelligence automation actually helps salespeople and sales managers do their jobs more effectively and efficiently so that everyone wins.
Want to learn more about how you can take steps to increase sales productivity and get more out of your CRM system? You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.