CRM Is Yesterday’s Answer To The Wrong Problem


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Why doesn’t CRM work? Because its an answer to the wrong problem. Another heretical thought from the people who suggest sales managers need to change just about everything.

Of course, that’s nothing to do with the technology, and everything to do with the way its used. It’s the bean counters’ tool for controlling sales people.
The original sales pitch for CRM was really quite innovative, and engaging, and very attractive to the big software companies who’d max’d out the ERP market with solutions for the Millennium Bug problem. The consultants loved it too. It was a new way of keeping the gravy train running, with big companies spending even bigger budgets on software to fix problems they didn’t understand.
Understand more about your customers. Get on top of sales. Make your business more predictable. CRM is the answer.
In all too many cases CRM has been simply about collecting information from the sales team about how hard they were working, and where they were getting it wrong. And that’s why it’s yesterday’s answer to the wrong problem. Today’s problem is the sales people don’t have systems to help them do a better job in the new paradigm.
In today’s flatter, faster world, prospects are smarter and better informed. They’re suspicious of claims made by sellers, more demanding of personalised offers, insistent on controlling the relationship. Vendors must know what will make the customer happy, prove how they’ll deliver it, and do it at a price which can be paid.
  • Sales managers need to evolve from lion tamers into engineers, with resources, strategies and processes which can be continuously improved.
  • Sales people need to evolve from robotic drones into intelligent capable entrepreneurs – business people who can develop value adding and sharing relationships with customers.
  • The sales model needs to evolve, targeting the right prospects, defining a scope of delivery, planning and executing a process through which both buyer and seller agree what will work for both parties, and how that will be achieved, and paid for.
  • Businesses need to evolve. Instead of simply making product because they can, they need to offer value propositions customers want, and can be delivered. They need a sales strategy to decide which offers are put to which potential customers, and how. They need a sales process which minimizes the cost of sale, by not selling to those unlikely to buy.
They need ‘business people’ sales guys who can collaborate, negotiate and manage. And they need to measure the results, and find ways to improve the efficiency of the process. They need a continuous cycle of improvement – just like the engineers in the factories.
And the sales people need systems to help them do it, not software which helps beancounters measure the wrong numbers.

Why doesn’t the traditional approach to selling and sales management work so well any more? What can the modern sales professional do to stay relevant in today’s customer driven markets? Check out our eBook Reengineering Sales Management for ideas on how to embrace the new order of customer driven buyer/seller relationships.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Reeves
Consultant, author, software entrepreneur, business development professional, aspiring saxophonist, busy publishing insight and ideas. Boomer turned Zoomer - thirty year sales professional with experience selling everything from debt collection to outsourcing and milking machines to mainframes. Blogger at Successful Sales Management. Head cook and bottle washer at Front Office Box.


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