Ancient rivalries. Top-level conditioning. Endless preparation. Nail-biting finishes.
Athletics, of course, has a lot in common with sales. Training, preparing and visualizing the finish are essential, as is having a strong group of advisors or peers to help you get there in the first place. But at the end of the day, it’s your ability to execute that really counts. Because whether you’re crossing a finishing line or closing a deal, the winner really does take all.
On that note, here’s how excelling at sales — and CRM — looks a lot like what’s required to win at the Winter Olympics:
1. Secure Executive Sponsorship
Never underestimate the benefits of strong leadership. That’s why, when it comes to CRM, securing executive sponsorship for any new sales process changes and software adoption is essential, not least for ensuring that everyone from frontline sales personnel to middle managers to the VP of sales becomes strong users of the new software.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan
What’s your goal? Unless you have a well-articulated business plan, everyone involved will be working to reach what they think is the goal, but, in reality, they might actually be working at cross purposes. Accordingly, begin every CRM project by defining your goals and then identifying how new sales processes and technology can help you reach those goals.
3. Take A Balanced Approach
Today’s Olympic teams walk a fine line. On the one hand, they rely on corporate sponsors to help fund their practice sessions and secure the best possible equipment for competitions. On the other hand, the Olympics are about celebrating the best athletes in the world — not their sponsors.
The same goes for CRM. Senior management, for example, may see the CRM system as a great way to give them better reports, including more accurate roll-ups of the sales pipeline. But CRM only succeeds if frontline users not only adopt, but embrace the software. To make that happen, the CRM system must be designed to help salespeople automate repetitive tasks and do their jobs more easily and efficiently. If that happens, they’ll live in the CRM system, and then everyone wins.
4. Focus On Essentials
During the Olympics, no event or race requires an athlete to see the entire course all at once. Well, the same goes with selling: you don’t need access to everything. Forget 360-degree views of the customer or implementing CRM software with every last bell and whistle. Instead, focus on the essentials and avoid distractions. As with so many things in life, less is more.
5. Tap The Right Technology
The most important aspect concerning any technology — be it an Under Armour speed-skating suit or CRM software — shouldn’t be the technology itself, or else it becomes a distraction. Rather, the technology should help you reach your goal more quickly and easily. If that happens, using the technology becomes second nature, allowing you to more easily and quickly deal with the task at hand.
Just don’t take it off until you’re supposed to.