Do the easy thing and blame your CRM system.

I read an article recently about how revenue is decreasing. There was a person who commented on the article who said: “I seriously don't get the attraction of Salesforce. I have never met a salesperson, or anyone for that matter, who likes it. Too many forms to fill out. Management prying into every record….”

This quote makes zero sense. Any hope of Quality-of-Pipeline requires tracking opportunities – with appropriate and accurate data. Although often over configured, any CRM platform provides, at a minimum, a framework. So, requiring sales teams to input some MVI (minimal viable information) certainly is not the issue.

Blaming your CRM system is the easy way out. Having personally deployed and optimized hundreds of CRM systems over the past 12+ years, it’s not the platform. Salesforce, MS Dynamics, HubSpot or Zoho all have the same fundamental CRM features and functionality.

What is the issue? It’s the people, the sales process, and how the platform has been deployed and evolved. Yes, sales teams are frequently asked to enter too much data. Additionally, the sales process deployed often does not align with the company’s unique buyer journey. Many CRM platforms are over developed, and additional applications are bolted on such as forecasting and analytics tools that only increases complexity and overall spend.

Many times, the technology is purchased by operations and technology personnel that have little understanding of how to ‘solve’ a perceived sales problem. Technology is over-hyped, and when results fail to match the hype, salespeople, managers, and executives become frustrated and ROI plummets.

With the economy slowing, budget and discretionary spending is being put under the microscope. Now is the time to double down on the fundamentals of the selling process and audit your existing lead-to-cash process, to ensure you optimize selling success.

  • Make sure your sales process directly aligns to how your buyers buy. Ensure each stage is well understood by your sales teams.
  • Eliminate any data entry not directly related to sales success. Define the MVI (minimum viable data) required to enter and exit each stage in your defined sales process.
  • Analyze each opportunity in the pipeline based on the MVI by sales stage so that proactive steps can be applied if the data quality degrades.

The simple point is driving quality pipeline requires your CRM platform to work the way your buyers buy, and your sellers sell. Everything else is secondary.