A common complaint in sales departments across the country is that their CRM has promised more than it has achieved. It’s promised to increase sales, improve customer retention and make it easier to gauge how well each sales team is performing.
Often the issue is not that the CRM itself has been a failure but rather it has not been used to its full potential. Often sales departments are measuring the wrong type of activity or failing to enter sufficient data. Worse is when, because they’ve been imposed by management, the CRM is seen as a tool of enemy not a paragon of improvement.
So, what goes wrong? The idea of using customer data to target sales is not new but what a CRM should allow you to do is mine your data and extract every last ounce of information from it. Which, in turn, should allow you to target your sales far more effectively and efficiently.
Spreading data across multiple systems unnecessarily
You already have lots of customer data and one of the first tasks will be to migrate that data into Salesforce. Now is the time to take a moment to ensure that you are only importing information that is useful and to prune out duplicate records. Use links to make sure that you only ever enter data once, but have it duplicated across Salesforce, Outlook and wherever else you need it. That way you’ll have a single comprehensive record for each customer.
Salesforce has an impressive degree of native interoperability with other major software systems such as Outlook and SharePoint. Many other commonly used systems integrate through Salesforce Apps. Bringing all your customer focussed systems together “under one roof” so to speak enables you to gain a far better overview of what is going on, and avoids issues such as multiple records for a customer which not only dilute the quality of data in Salesforce but can also lead the customer to believe that interactions are not being properly dealt with.
Logging the wrong data or not logging data
Too many sales departments are quantity driven. The amount of activity and number of sales is seen as a good indicator of how hard they are working. And yet getting ten sales from ten different customers could require a hundred phone calls - far more work than making one or two quality sales that will lead to a long and reliable relationship with new clients. Identify profitable leads earlier by using tools that integrate with Salesforce and lead you to log the essential data to know which leads are worth chasing and which aren’t.
Treating Salesforce as a contact manager
Salesforce has a powerful array of partners offering apps that integrate into the base software. Utilising the functionality of them can revolutionise your sales approach leading to a better, more consistent customer experience. Plus, by rolling it out across all customer relations, you will be able to gather even more of that quality data that is so vital to the quality of the predictions Salesforce make.
Tying data to the desk
Fast entry of customer data is vital. If it’s not done during customer interaction, or just afterwards as appropriate, then it’s likely that the quality of data entered will be poor with missing fields and half-remembered outcomes. There’s also a risk that sales personnel will muddle meetings if they wait to be back at their desk. Make sure that you provide your sales people with the tools to do their jobs by making the most of Salesforce1’s mobility.
Not involving the end users
Your sales team are going to be the primary users of Salesforce so it is important to get input on what their current CRM processes are and work out how that maps into Salesforce routines. Undoubtedly, bringing in a powerful CRM such as Salesforce will mean that some processes will need to be altered, but bringing the actual end users on board early will allow you to identify where sales training is going to be required and how to best set up Salesforce to integrate with your current systems.
The whole point of implementing a CRM is that it automates the sales process. It should allow you to track leads through the entire period you are in contact with them from the first touch to delivery of their most recent order. And by tracking all your clients across all sales you can mine for data that will focus your future sales and marketing efforts. But that power is wasted if you don’t use it. Sales managers and team leaders need to generate reports and actually take heed of the information contained within them.
Not training for change
Migrating to a Salesforce environment can be a good time to change outdated and ineffective modes of thought. At the same time that your sales personnel are being trained on the mechanics of simply entering customer data and logging interactions you can also update the methodology that underpins the whole department.
However - expecting your sales teams to adopt a new methodology at the same time as you introduce a new CRM could well spell disaster – unless you offer sales management training to help them understand how the new way of thinking can improve their performance. You need to be able to offer them a framework that not only improves their efficiency when the target reviews are announced, but also that they can see works right from the start. Training to ensure that everyone using Salesforce is aware of what it can do and how it can help their function is vital to success.
Using Salesforce only for sales
The “R” in CRM stands for “Relationship” and you can improve the customer relationship immensely by using Salesforce Communities to keep the relationship alive. Move FAQs, knowledge bases, product manuals and self-help forums into an online hub and use Salesforces’ analytics to guide your product development, aftermarket services and marketing efforts.