So far it’s been a productive meeting, Sales are high and spirits even higher; nothing could dampen the mood. You mull it over in your head. Yes, you decide, “I can feel it!” Maybe, just maybe, this time will be different: “Right, team… how are those CRMs coming along?”

But no, it’s just as you’d expected: heads hang, feet shuffle and those blank stares of contempt begin to rise from every corner of the meeting room, all fixed on you.

For your team, CRM means many things (excitement and admiration are probably not amongst them). They are awkward, clunky and do not help whatsoever with selling (at least in their eyes). Sales reps believe they spend far too much time updating them than they do selling. And besides, even if they have taken the time to do so, another colleague may not have been so enthused, leaving a time gap in the data. So why bother in the first place?

But, as you know, they are vital in terms of guiding your team to be as practical and cost-efficient as possible. So how do we get our reluctant sales team to cherish our little digital wonder?

They DO help you sell.
As much as your team may beg to differ, it’s true. By using a CRM, all previous correspondence with a client, whether it be by email, phone or order detail, will be stored on your database, meaning an immediate profile can be pulled up at will. Consequently, customers who are unlikely to buy anything are whittled out, allowing you to identify and target the more high-value leads and prospective clients. This is extremely important from a motivational standpoint because, as a salesperson, you know you’re going after hot leads – you’ve got a great opportunity to make a sale as opposed to wasting time cold-calling, and nobody is fond of cold-calling.

What’s trending?
CRM implementation also highlights possible market and product trends early on, when it matters. As the CRM collects and cross-checks the data coming in from the field, it allows you to tactically adjust your approach to a particular market by pinpointing where certain products are selling, in which area and with what demographic. By highlighting these specific areas and staying ahead of the curve, you can boost your sales teams’ bottom-line (which keeps everyone happy).

Birds of a feather flock together.
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone were on the same page? An easy fix, I assure you. Since a CRM manages all your business relationships with customers and employees, it not only raises your company’s levels of productivity and efficiency, but it also allows more fluent connections to be established internally. Relationships between the staff in the office and those out on the road are no longer fractured as everybody now has the same ultimate goal in mind, i.e. landing more of those sales deals.

Know your customer.
As I mentioned earlier, a key function of a CRM is to essentially provide you with an immediately accessible profile of your next potential lead (a profile that is only made possible if it’s updated – it won’t update itself!). Of course, the benefit is that it gives your rep an immediate insight into a customer before they head off to meet them. They’ll be given a rough idea of how the meeting should pan out, identifying the customer’s needs which, in turn, helps you to serve them. Something that will not be overlooked by the customer, so be prepared!

Spreadsheets, notebooks and everything in between.
Imagine that there are at least four or five different methods for collecting and storing customer data within your team. One person may prefer spreadsheets, cramming everything together on Excel, while another favours storing their contacts’ name, phone number and maybe even a few notes all in a personal, Microsoft Outlook space; alternatively, someone else might choose a digital platform such as Evernote or Dropbox.  None of these are right, nor are they necessarily wrong; however, trying to compile accurate appraisals or sales forecasts from ad-hoc collections of disorganised data sets like this can be disastrous. It’s costly, time-consuming and horribly inefficient. A CRM will help tidy this up and will put you and your team back on track.

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