Sunday, November 19, 2006

Is Your CRM Naked?

Are all of your sales reps exceeding their quota for this quarter? Ok, that's a stupid question. Maybe teh reason they aren't is because your CRM (customer relationship management) tool is naked. Ardath Albee has written a great e-book called Why Naked CRM Doesn't Work on how to "dress up" your CRM by providing better tools for sales and an improved process for sales and marketing. This focuses on the B2B sales process which is much longer then B2C.

are some of the items I really liked:
  • In my industry, we sometimes preach to hold off on passing leads (inquiries) to sales until they are "qualified"(I don't even want to get into a definition of this). Andrath feels that sales should be aware of all potential leads. They may have inside information that could help the lead along in the sales process. It also ensures greater buy in from sales.
  • Andrath stresses that you really need to arm sales with the materials they need to follow up with the prospect. She states that the salesperson should be able to plug in the profile of the person (industry, title etc...) as well as the type of information needed (quotes, value propositions) and all related information will be returned. You could take this even further by being able to gather all of this data and have an email that will assess all of the customer data and compile an email for you that can be customized by sales and sent from Outlook.
  • Shes states that there is typically no central database that tracks of the core research on a company. This can come from all aspects of your organization: engineering, support, operations, marketing and sales. This is sooo true. You need to ensure that all company touchpoints are recorded in your CRM. You should know which email was sent to the prospect, when and by whom. You should know if there any outstanding technical support issues. You should even see comments from your developers on how a new feature has enhanced a customer's use of your product.

    While Ardath stresses the need of a sales portal, I think your CRM can be used for your sales portal, what you need is buy in from all departments and incentives to ensure that your whole company is recording all relevant data and has a proper method to record this data that is measurable.
Thanks again Ardath for a great article that gave me some food for thought.

Chad H.

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