What Should CRM Do For Sales Representatives in a Perfect World.

This week we’re going to focus on the features and benefits of CRM’s that really matter to sales representatives. Here is a short list of top CRM features;
  • Allow fast, easy CRM access regardless of device or location
  • Require minimal data entry – just what you need, nothing more
  • All of my prospects and clients should be easy to access and it easy to see where I’m at
  • They should surface up-sell opportunities
  • They should surface accounts that haven’t had the recent love they deserve
  • Prioritize my accounts for me – which ones should I spend what time on and when?
  • Which accounts should I contact today?
  • Which accounts are in jeopardy?
  • The priority ranking (as to which accounts or prospects are the most important for me to focus on) may change a bit based on their sales roles but most sales people would agree on the all of the above.
Field Sales representatives are going to be interested in a different mix than in house sales reps. Those selling software are also going to be different than those selling CPG, food, electronics, equipment. Each sales rep and each vertical require different features and they will need to be closely aligned to what each reps daily sales narrative looks like.
Let’s look at a B2B Field Software Sales rep to see how that might look like. Key characteristics of this role:
On the Road 65% of the day
Work out of car, client offices, coffee shops etc.,
Proposals, research, meeting notes all have to be mobile accessible
Know every coffee shop, restaurant, library in their territory
Face to Face meetings are the norm on a daily basis
For a B2B Field Software rep their prioritized ranking of features might look like this:
Fast and easy CRM access regardless of device or location
All of my prospects and clients are quickly accessible
GPS enabled CRM system so if a client cancels I can quickly locate another close by so I don’t waste time
Minimal data entry required – especially if I’m on cell or tablet
Which accounts should I contact today
CRM looks and works exactly the same regardless of device
An in house sales reps priorities would be different than a sales rep: Let’s look at key characteristics of this role:
In office 100% of time
Works with a PC or laptop (rarely cell phones)
Has a large number of accounts assigned to them with a mix of phone / email communication
Usually in a office cube
Rarely has face to face customer interaction
For an in-house sales rep their prioritized ranking might look like this:
  1. Fast and easy CRM access
  2. Prioritize my accounts – which ones should I spend what time on and when?
  3. Which accounts should I contact today?
  4. Surface up-sell opportunities
  5. Which accounts are in jeopardy?
  6. Surface accounts that haven’t had the recent love they deserve
  7. Minimal data entry
Except for device accessibility and quick find of a replacement meeting via GPS, the CRM system requirements are similar. Perhaps the biggest difference is in data entry. If you’re trying to type information into a cell or tablet in the field it’s a gigantic pain and takes significantly more time than with a keyboard – this is a huge issue for field sales reps, but not so much for in-house sales who can often type with a full keyboard faster than they can talk.
At the end of the day, each sales role is a little bit different. If your sales process and strategy is solid, its generating revenue growth and your sales team has bought into it, keep it and design your CRM system around it.
If your sales process isn’t working well, no CRM on the planet will fix your problem. Instead it’s time to re-evaluate the sales process and develop a better one before you add a CRM into the mix.
If you do change to a new process, the last tip is to buy a CRM that fits this or get one that requires as little change as possible to fit your sales model. Then sell your team on the new process supported by your new CRM and start them at the same time. Some of the poorer CRM installations I have seen can take over a year just to install, then you still have to get sales rep buy in. That isn’t acceptable when a company’s life blood is sales.
So, do your homework when evaluating CRM systems:
Review and ensure your sales process is best practice for your vertical – before you start looking at software – no CRM system can rescue failed sales strategy / process.
Find a CRM partner that can easily support your sales process without excessive modifications.
If they can’t get your new CRM system up and running in either days or weeks (yes larger enterprises can take longer), I would posit that it isn’t the right CRM for your company.
Don’t be fooled by slick software sales people that say yes to everything. Look under the hood talk to CIO’s that have installed their software and go in with “your eyes wide open.”
Don’t forget to talk to sales people (not just management) that use this new CRM on a daily basis. Quite frankly if the sales reps using it don’t like it – it really doesn’t matter if management does – because they will find ways not to use it and management as well as the reps and organization, lose.
I hope these tips help you out on your CRM buyer’s journey.