Perhaps the most underrated aspect of delivering a business outcome from your CRM investment is the need for a sales language. Whether you use the Blue Sheet from Miller Heiman, a TAS Opportunity Plan or Solution Selling as the sales process it’s critical that sales and relationship managers understand and talk a consistent language for interpreting where a buyer’s at in their journey.
CRM without a Sales Process is contact management. Contact Management as a business case for CRM rarely delivers anything!!
Too often sales teams and their managers have their own interpretations of what a “Qualified Deal” is or when a particular opportunity is at “Negotiation”. As the project leader, make it clear for your sales staff what constitutes each sales stage and give them unambiguous language as to how they can judge where deals are at.
Use customer based signals, not rep perceptions, as the basis for this guidance. For example a deal is only a “Qualified Stage” when the client has shared their budget, their timeline, the decision makers/roles and the critical business drivers and outcomes for the project. If the client hasn’t specifically shared these with you then the deal is not “Qualified”.
With a sales language clearly defined and written, all levels of the sales team will be able to speak to where deals are at with confidence. Reps will no longer be considered optimistic and it gives less room for executives to talk about a particular Geographic territory as inaccurate in their forecasting. Exec, Managers and reps all talking the same language – a critical foundation to any sales organisation with an effective CRM system!!
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