CRM software shouldn't be expected to boost revenue or fix sales, but instead can be an ideal complement to an already existing great sales engine.
Recently I attended a presentation by Dave Mattson, chief executive of Sandler Training, one of the leading sales consulting companies. He explained that the biggest reason CRM implementations fail is that companies often buy CRM for the wrong reason.
Instead of buying a CRM software to complement an already good sales and marketing process, Mattson explained that many companies purchase CRM solutions, expecting the CRM solution itself to help boost their revenues or fix sales in some way.
CRM solutions are ideal for companies who already have a great sales engine and simply need a "tool" to layer on top of a sales process to enable better communication with customers, prospects, and sales managers and have insight into sales metrics.
Companies who do not have properly trained sales (or marketing) staff, a disciplined sales process, content to educate customers, and other elements of good marketing and sales best practices are not ready for a CRM solution.
In order to ensure CRM works for your business, it's important to first understand your sales process and how you will use the CRM tool as part of that process.
For example, while tracking sales results is good (it's a must), Mattson advocates that it's better to track specific activity that leads to generating more sales. For example, how many new prospects were communicated with that week? How many existing customers were called? These are behaviors that you can measure and control that all affect your sales revenue.
Taking your CRM tool and leveraging it on top of clearly defined sales best practices in your business means that you are not measuring meaningless numbers or activity that you can't control. You're now measuring data that is part of a clear path to profitability for your business and the supporting activity that you can control.
Instead of buying CRM software to just track how many leads are being generated or how many sales a particular sales person is bringing in, you can use your CRM software to track how many events your sales team are attending that are bringing in those leads. You can use your CRM software to measure which events are generating the best leads and do more of them.
Mattson said he finds that many companies think their CRM system is at fault. After a few months of using their CRM software, when they don't see the results they expected, they want to switch to yet another CRM software.
So before you buy CRM software, ensure your sales and marketing best practices are the best they can be.
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Ramon Ray is Marketing and Technology Evangelist at Infusionsoft and Smallbiztechnology.com. He's a speaker, media pundit, journalist and author. His latest best seller is "The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing".
Some of the events Ramon has produced include the Small Business Summit, Small Biz Big Things with Seth Godin and the Small Business Technology Tour. As a speaker, Ramon has presented at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas with Guy Kawasaki, SXSW, Inc 500 and more.
As a journalist and freelance writer, Ramon has written for Inc Magazine, OPEN Forum, Entrepreneur.com and Clikz.com. Although Ramon is not a comedian, his audiences find him humorous. Despite no law enforcement experience, he is a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy. Although Ramon does not know Jim Henson, he loves to do puppet shows in developing countries. See Ramon's full bio on his website.
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