3 Keys to Success with CRM (No Matter Who You Are)


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CRM has been with us for decades, yet most sales forces still struggle to get the most out of it. And this struggle is not relegated to smaller, less sophisticated organizations – We see the same issues at our large global clients. Big investment… Little adoption. High expectations… Low perceived value. Lots of data… Limited insights. But how can this be, when so much sincere effort has been invested in making CRM the game-changing innovation that it should be?

Ironically, it’s our observation that many sales forces fail to get the most out of CRM because they literally try too hard. They want CRM to be the omnipotent center of their sales universe. They view it as the single, all-knowing hub of all selling activity and information. If that sounds like your organization’s desire, then we would offer you only four words counsel: Good luck with that.

The number of companies that we’ve seen succeed with this center-of-the-universe strategy can be counted on one hand. And the number that we’ve seen fail is, well, all of the rest. If you want to have a successful CRM implementation, regardless of the scale or scope of your sales force, then here are 3 fundamental strategies that could put you on that path:

1. Keep It Simple
The French philosopher Antoine de Saint-Exupery said that “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” And so it is with CRM. We’ve seen company after company add as many bells and whistles to their CRM tool as technically possible, and they did so with the best of intentions. Yet they typically realized disastrous outcomes. The fewer tabs, the fewer fields, the fewer functions you can get away with in your CRM tool, the better. Period.

2. Focus on the Things that Matter
Salespeople need focus, and sales management, candidly, is not good at giving it. We tell salespeople that everything is important, and in no place is that more evident than CRM. When you’re choosing those few tabs, fields, and functions that should survive in your CRM, choose the ones that will focus your sellers on the things that really matter. CRM should be put in place for one reason… To make salespeople more productive. Any distraction from that focus is a waste of bits and bytes.

3. Remember, CRM Is for the Reps
If we’re honest with ourselves (and even if we’re not), CRM was originally sold as a fantastical reporting machine for senior leadership. Consequently, it functions tremendously well at generating management reports. However, that’s not the best use of CRM. The ideal role for CRM is to make it easier for salespeople to do their jobs. How can it enable better selling and improve buyer/seller interactions? That is the riddle that needs to be solved. And when you finally solve it, user adoption, perceived value, and field-level insights will soon flow effortlessly from your CRM tool.

So these are the 3 strategies that we have seen lead to highly successful CRM implementations within our clients. And we measure CRM’s success by its ultimate sales outcomes, not by its technical merit. CRM is an extremely powerful technology that can flex and grow to amazing heights. And therein is the problem. If you want to succeed, tame your ambitions. Focus on the few important things that will make sellers better. And then, miraculously, CRM will become the game-changer that we all want it to be.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jason Jordan
Jason Jordan is a partner of Vantage Point Performance and co-author of Cracking the Sales Management Code. Jordan is a recognized thought leader in B2B selling and conducts ongoing research into management best practices in hiring, developing, measuring, and managing world-class sales organizations. For more information, visit www.vantagepointperformance.com.


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