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CRM Best Practice: Are your sales staff working as hard as you think they are?

By Stuart McLaren on Wed 23 May 2012 in Sales

Creating and managing a successful sales team is becoming more and more difficult. There is a fine balance to be had between mentoring and monitoring. 

Getting the most from a sales team depends on quality information and, much like selling itself, asking the right questions.

Is the ‘big brother’ approach to Sales Management right?

A common fear amongst sales teams introduced to CRM is that it is simply being brought in as a tool by management to check up on them.

For CRM to be truly embraced, it has to both empower the sales team, by allowing them to be more efficient, and also provide management with critical information to drive the business.

Big Brother should not be necessary. With the right information and critical questioning through quality statistics, sales management becomes an inclusive and co-operative process. Both sales person and management can use the same information to drive to a common goal.

How can you cross-pollinate success in a sales team?

To understand how effective each sales person is against targets and their colleagues, not only do you need to compare the overall results but also compare the results for each step of the sales map.

Look at each stage of your sales map. Imagine how much the overall result would improve if you could increase your sales performance by 10% at every stage.

Imagine how effective the team would be if you could understand why one person books more consultations than another. Or imagine how efficient the team would be if you could identify who qualifies the customers best and how.

This analysis can be done by comparing a few simple statistics. For example, a sales map combined with sales person scorecards can help identify the precise points in your sales cycle where cross pollination of technique or process can have real impact.

We’ve all heard about working smarter instead of harder… what does this actually mean?

Working smarter is all about focus. As we try to get more from less out of our sales teams it becomes increasingly critical to make certain that they have pin sharp focus.

In the current climate, simply trying to do more – to have high activity levels from the sales team is not enough. Identifying the most valuable and winnable opportunities, and over-resourcing the sales process to create intense focus on them is the best way to work smarter.

See an interview with the legendary architect of the SPIN selling model – Neil Rackham, talking about selling in the current climate.

Clearly, in order to identify the opportunities early enough which require focus, a centralised system with clear identifiers and critical deal reports becomes vital. But the lesson is to contemplate each opportunity, and as managers, take the decision of how to marshal our resources, taking the initiative by choosing the deals that we are determined to win. The deals should match our strategic aims, must be winnable (even if we need to over-resource), and must be profitable. They should have a lifetime value to the company that makes the effort involved completely worthwhile.