CRM Issues? Rethink Sales Performance Management

“Seeing all these vendors isn’t really that helpful to me.”

That’s what I heard from a corporate trainer at an international conference for ATD. She was commenting on the myriad technology vendors present.  

Sales Performance ManagementShe hit the nail on the head: “I already have a technology platform, and I don’t need another one. What I need is to understand what to do with the one I have.”

In this case, she was referring to a Learning Management System. But we think this statement could also apply to CRM. By now, sales leaders everywhere are already equipped with the technology. They just need to understand how to make it work in their favor.

A Gap in CRM Training for Sales Leaders

Here’s the inconvenient truth: Sales leaders aren’t trained on how to use CRM for managing and coaching sales reps. Yes, they understand how to log sales data, navigate the screens and even run reports. They can effectively interact with CRM – great! But now what?

CRM systems provide sales leaders with massive amounts of data at the tip of their fingers … but which data points matter most? What’s the best way to use the data? How will it improve sales performance management?

Imagine a driver’s education class where you’re given an operating manual for a car, but never taught how to drive it to your desired destination. You understand how the machine operates, yet you still don’t understand how to properly use it.

Sales leaders who aren’t getting their desired results from CRM might think they require bigger and better tools. We would argue that they must learn to operate what they already have. In a sense, sales leaders need driver’s ed for CRM.

Redefining Sales Performance Management

By studying sales data and management practices of leading companies, Vantage Point Performance discovered three models that help sales leaders use CRM for better sales performance management.

1. A new framework for sales metrics.

We uncovered a structure for the seemingly limitless data in CRM that breaks metrics into three categories: business results, sales objectives and sales activities. What we realized is that sales leaders can only actually manage sales activities, and that helps them focus on the metrics that are truly in their control.

2. A causal relationship between activities and results.

We discovered the inputs-drive-outputs connection between the three types of metrics: Sales activities influence sales objectives that lead to business results. This improves decision-making for sales leaders on how to best allocate sales team efforts toward sales activities that will fulfill their revenue objectives.

3. A technique for constructive sales coaching.

We observed sales coaching techniques that used objective data in a constructive way, rather than destructive. By examining the metrics for sales activities, sales leaders can engage in course-correction and high-value coaching conversations.

Sales leaders: If you’re frustrated with CRM, don’t assume that a new system is the answer. Replacing your current tools with new ones will likely replicate your current issues.

With these core concepts, you can use CRM data to get teams focused on the activities that lead to sales. Remember that CRM is merely a machine. What matters is how you operate it.

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