Do you have a Customer Relationship Management solution (CRM) that elevates your salespeople? .... or encumbers them?
Sales leaders - how important do you think a CRM is to reaching your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual objectives? How much do you think it impacts your b2b sales process... or your sales training programs for that matter?
I'm betting that it's pretty darned important to most of you, since a study recently showed that 75% agree that they're critical. I've been in b2b sales for most of my adult life, and I have YET to work somewhere that didn't use one. And I can't tell you how much energy I have seen sales leaders waste on trying to get their reps to use it properly.
But (and this is a HUGE but...) CRMs are typically not built for sales. They help managers, but not the actual b2b sales cycle.
This is a major problem.
First, do you agree that CRMs are largely built for management purposes, not sales?
What I mean by this is that they help managers track activity, create "objective" objectives, and pass information from one rep to another... Do you agree?
CRMs make it easy (for you) to make judgment calls on a rep's engagement and find areas for improvement when the chips are down. They help you calculate cost of customer acquisition, and develop metrics around how many leads you need to close a deal.
But the data is flawed.
It's wildly incomplete.
And it only addresses what a manager thinks is important.
If this sounds like your CRM, I think you have a problem. To illustrate, let's review a couple of important statistics:
- 20% of your sales peoples' time is spent on administrative tasks
- Your sales people are 100x more likely to connect with a prospect within 5 minutes of them engaging with your website than if contact is made after 30 minutes - but the average is 42 hours, and more than 20% don't respond at all!
- Only 57% of your teams' sales activities are making it to the CRM*
- 40% of sales reps still use spreadsheets or their inbox to store important lead information*
*State of Inbound compiles this data on an annual basis
So, every week, you're losing an entire day from each of your sales people to administrative tasks. They're also losing the battle of sales response time, and most of what they're doing is invisible to you... and them... and their successors... and your growth objectives.
Here are the top 5 ways a Modern CRM can change all of that (using Hubspot Sales Pro as our guide):
1. Entries are automated
I think one of the biggest problems with the bulk of the CRMs in play today is that they don't have a complete picture of information... not even close. And since databases are only as good as the data they contain, your CRM is detracting from your outcomes. Yes, I'm even talking about the big players (cough, cough, Oracle, SalesForce, etc cough..*)...
Why does this happen?
Simple. Your CRM wasn't built with salespeople in mind. They were built for you, the person overseeing sales operations or managing teams of sales people.
Think about how much energy you have personally applied and the resources spent on getting them to just make the stupid entries where and how you ask them to. Just note here, there, there, and here... Right?
From their perspective, it's not so simple.
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Your b2b sales teams, particularly your top performers, are hunters. And like any good hunter, a lot of their time is spent stalking and tracking. If their instincts are strong, they are good at only attacking when the circumstances favor a quick and injury-free kill. Hunting is not just the moment they strike; it's the entire stalking and tracking process as well.
Unlike your natural predators, however, your hunters are working to bring down entire herds at a time. They are wildly competitive, and a significant portion of their pay hinges on bigger and better take-downs.
They eat what they kill, and their appetites are insatiable.
And they SUCK at administrative tasks. It takes them out of their zone. It saps their energy... even just thinking about it as they put it off until the last possible moment.
Why would you want somebody like that spending 20% of their energy on CRM entries? Let them take down the herd they're stalking!
Your salees processes and tactics should understand this, not try to force them into changing their ways... A modern CRM solves this problem through automation.
After a short initial setup that involved purchasing a subscription and installing the chrome extension, your CRM will automatically record all of your salespeoples' emails to prospects.
Sales calls are made through the CRM using a headset that plugs into their computer through USB. Every time they call a prospective customer, the CRM automatically records duration, when the call was made, how long it was, and whether you connected. It even records calls automatically in states that allow it.
But the automation shouldn't just stop at recording activity. When leads come in through the website, your CRM should have the ability to round-robin them to the appropriate sales reps... automatically.
And what if they could also automate the appointment-setting process? Yep, a modern CRM will do that too. I have a link in my emails that people can click and book a meeting on my calendar without involving me in any way. Then, after the appointment is scheduled, it automatically appears in the CRM.
If the contacts aren't in the database when any of these activities take place, their profiles are AUTOMATICALLY created.
You get the data you need. Your sales reps don't have to do anything extra to get it to you. And, in fact, you improve their sales process while doing it.
2. Data is centralized (marketing too)
Your best B2B sales strategies rely on data, not hunches or gut instinct. To get data, you need adoption. Hubspot facilitates adoption... When your sales reps pick up the phone to call a prospect, they simply login and go. There will be a single timeline that shows ALL of their online activites, interactions with reps, and even what happens with marketing.
They don't have to hunt or guess or assume or flat out lie... They don't have to waste time bouncing between databases. They just click on the profile and hit the "call" button.
3. Insights & access points appear everywhere
By installing Hubspot Sales into their chrome browser, your b2b sales reps will receive insights and access in Gmail or Outlook. You'll even get insights that the lead doesn't necessarily share on their own. For example, by putting a company email address, the CRM will populate company name and other information that you'd otherwise have to track down through your other data dumps.
Here's a screenshot showing you the kind of information that your sales reps will have in front of them when simply drafting an email:
By clicking "About" on the right, your sales people will pull the data they have chosen as most important (company name, last activity, etc).
"Company" will provide insights about company size, phone numbers, etc.
"Deals" will show specific opportunities that are being tracked that are tied to the individual being emailed.
They can also go straight into the CRM or make a call THROUGH the CRM with ONE click (over the person's profile pic).
Pop-ups will appear on the appropriate rep's desktop and phone when prospects exhibit favorable characteristics such as visiting your pricing page or downloading certain pieces of content. So, it doesn't matter if they're in the field or at their desk. They're empowered to Always Be Hunting.
4. It creates alignment between sales & marketing
Hubspot Sales Pro offers a chat function that allows you to assign inquiries to your reps based on any number of conditions you set. Instead of waiting for a human to decide who talks to them, or pawning first contact off to an intern or receptionist, the modern CRM chooses who to send the chat to based on geography, timezone, and whatever else you choose.
And guess what? The chat conversation and all the details around it are logged - automatically into your CRM.
Your CRM can also connect to your marketing software (something your b2b marketers will surely appreciate), and communicate important events to your sales teams. Hubspot Sales has a feature called "Prospecting," which tells you which companies are visiting your website even if they don't fill out a conversion form.
5. It helps you close the gap in your reporting
As you look for ways to improve your b2b sales strategies, data will play an important role.
By having a full view of how your sales reps are actually interacting with prospects, you won't be left scratching your head about who is performing and why. Succession planning will be easier, and your general awareness of what's going one will be much higher.
The Hubspot CRM will automate entries and certain sales processes while enabling stronger outcomes. And your hunters will get to do more of what they do best - hunt. Any business-to-business sales professional will appreciate this, even if they push back initially because change makes them squirley.
Already a customer or thinking about becoming one? Check out this Hubspot CRM Implementation Guide: