The Talk

by / Monday, 31 March 2014 / Published in Competitive Advantage, CRM, iCORE

In my last article, I gave you a bit of a “pep talk” about having a meeting with your purchasing manager, when it comes to getting their thumbs-up for purchasing a CRM solution.

While the benefits of CRM might be crystal-clear to you, as someone who is not only in sales, but who has probably also done their share of research on CRM – it might not be so clear to someone who is being hounded with solicitations, requests for approval, and has a budget to manage. They’re in a different state of mind.

If you have to have this conversation with someone in order for CRM to be a practical thing in your organization, needing to preparing your notes for “THE CRM TALK” is inevitable. Before, I pointed out how the usability of CRM is not just for salespeople (HERE AT iCORE IT IS ALSO USED FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE, MANAGEMENT OPTICS, SALES MOTIVATION, AND THE ALL IMPORTANT MARKETING ACTIVITIES), as well as how the cost of it can truly be treated at “face value” (as it generally does not require any hardware, and virtually all add-ons are optional).

Critical is the cost of any CRM is more than the cost of becoming a part of the best worldwide Real Estate Partnership, and Platform.

Now, I’m going to cover two more key points that could make or break your “pitch” about the CRM, in terms of having the utmost effectiveness.

It lets you keep an eye on everyone, especially the sales staff

I’ve had many coffees, cocktails, and chats with sales managers. What I’ve learned from all of these discussions is that they all agree on one thing: account managers are some of the laziest people in the office. They’ll sit at their desks and wait for leads to come in, while they fiddle with their personal email, go on Linkedin, and see what their college friends are up to on Facebook.

Naturally, they want those transaction advisors & managers to be out there cold calling, prospecting, and cultivating new business. But there are only so many hours in a day for sales managers (and even supervisors in the non-sales departments) to babysit their staff members. Is it necessary? Absolutely. But, what are you actually learning walking down the halls and peaking your heads in their offices. Almost nothing.  How about this, is your head popping in an out of all of those offices actually motivating your sales people. Absolutely Not.

Since individual users of a CRM will have their own user accounts, it’s very easy for a supervisor to check in on a given user’s activity, to see how productive they’ve been today. How many notes have they added? How many new accounts have they recorded? How many calls have they logged?  How many campaigns they are running, are they filling the pipeline, and where their transactions are in the process (are they stalled, or are they moving forward toward billing).  These are just some of the optics you have in ORiGIN, and YES these are motivating and are indeed what you want to see.

Try a different management approach – This doesn’t just allow supervisors to audit certain peoples’ performance, but since the users of the CRM will know they can (and will) be watched, they might step up their game, given that possibility. Now that it’s a breeze for supervisors to keep an eye on them, they might just realize it’s time to sit up straight and get to work.

Most importantly teach each sales person how to watch and build their pipeline, optics is an amazing thing.

It turns your data into a bragging right

Ever wonder what Radio Shack’s claim to fame was back in the day? It was asking for (and in most cases, getting) customers’ addresses on even the simplest of purchases, so as to build a database of customers to mail catalogs to. They might have had millions of customers walk through their door, but if an investor ever wondered how substantial their customer base was, how would they be able to express that in a finite, or believable manner? Since they could prove it, it made their customer base data infinitely valuable.  Are you building yours?

iCORE promotes, and our CRM allows you to accumulate customer data in one centralized location (as opposed to word-processing documents or spreadsheets mailed back and forth or carried around on a USB thumb drive), you now have a “short answer”. If a prospective investor, financier, or business partner were to ask “how many customers do you have?”, you’ll be able to tell them right away.

All it takes is a simple login to the CRM. It doesn’t require gathering any stashes of business cards, or counting folders in a file cabinet. An investor doesn’t want to hear “we’ll get back to you in a week with our numbers”. They want it now. Being prepared for that question with a CRM might just save you a lucrative business opportunity.

In my next article, I’ll be going over two more key points to mention when it comes time to have “THE TALK”; so that even the least sales-oriented purchasing manager can understand what it’s all about.

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