When I started in sales, my CRM (customer relationship management) “system” was a shoebox filled with 3 x 5 cards and a spiral bound calendar. I’d fill out tracking sheets on the “hot prospects” and report my calls to a voicemail box.
And then there were the KPIs (did we even call them KPIs then?!) – they were all pretty straightforward:
– How many calls did you make?
– How many appointments did you set?
– How many deals did you close?
It was all written on a whiteboard somewhere deep within the cubicle farm.
I remember the day we implemented Goldmine (a CRM that has been around forever!) – the sales team was SO excited on launch day. From now on, we’d enter info into an actual database, and we wouldn’t have to worry about those silly paper forms anymore! It was going to be awesome!
Now, fast forward 25 years to today and the pendulum has swung….
It’s not uncommon for the ECS team to walk into the office of a new client, meet up with an underperforming team, and see 20, 30 – even 40! – key metrics spread across a dizzying array of reports. And each metric, of course, has its own acronym: MQL, SQL, MOM, YOY, NPS, SAL, SFA, SDR…. my head hurts just thinking about and describing the situation we so often see.
And then what happens once a typical company implements a typical CRM system in a typical way? Revenue drops, sales people don’t last more than 24 months (according to Sales Readiness) and Sales Leaders have an even shorter tenure of 19 months (according to CSO Insights).
This isn’t awesome at all! What happened??
As technology improved, we also saw improvements in what we could measure. And boy, do we measure a TON. That’s the way to get ahead, right? Pour on the data and the ideas of what you want to measure. I recently did a CRM build for a company that wanted me to add over 200 custom fields and 40 KPIs to the reports. Really?
OK – slow down. Let’s look at best practices and see what’s really effective.
1. Less is More –
KPIs are KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS. It’s not API (All Performance Indicators). Pick 5 to 7 KPIs that you then communicate to your sales team and the company …. Yep, that’s it. No more.
No one has the ability to focus on more than that for any period of time.
Set goals and targets on those KPIs and stick with it for at least the year. After that point, you can change up your KPIs if needed – but again, don’t just add to the mix, and keep it seven or less.
2. Don’t play gotcha –
People want to know what to expect and they like consistency. Moving around the focus each month (or even each quarter) is the fastest way to kill your team’s morale. You keep moving the “cheese” and eventually they all will fail. Instead, keep it steady and don’t surprise your team.
3. You don’t have to use every CRM report –
Just because it’s there and accessible, doesn’t mean you should pull the report. If you really have to, then go ahead – just don’t necessarily share it with your whole team.
4. Details, Details, Details…it can become too much –
There is no need to capture every little detail of every call and every interaction. Some of today’s CRMs even go the minutia of encouraging the capture info from all their social media feeds. In truth, knowing that someone had barbeque chicken pizza at their 4-year old’s birthday party is not going to be the difference in getting that deal closed.
So instead: give your salespeople room to breathe, conduct business and mostly sell. That’s what they love doing – so let them do it. Let’s use the best of what technology gives us, but let’s not go crazy.
I can promise you, the “going crazy with data” tact won’t improve your sales.
If you have a different opinion, I’d love to hear it. Or, if you are intrigued by what I suggest and are struggling with a sales team of your own, contact me and let’s chat.
Bill Morrow – Managing Partner – firstname.lastname@example.org – 610.310.6707