Magazine article CRM Magazine

CRM: Helping Salespeople Sell

Magazine article CRM Magazine

CRM: Helping Salespeople Sell

Article excerpt

There is an odd notion in many IT departments that the salespeople in their organization are all the same.

This thinking is flawed, of course. Yet when IT departments install the organization's sales force automation (SFA) software, they tend to lock the customer data grid into specific categories, which in turn locks the ways the information can be filtered.

The information the salespeople need may be in the system, but it may not be selectable in an efficient manner for the salesperson.

Now imagine if every salesperson had the ability to create a dashboard to suit his or her working style.

This capability is now being offered as part of the next generation of sales force automation in CRM software. It is simplifying the entire sales process, and making sure salespeople have what they need when they need it, even if they didn't need it before.

IT AND SALES: DIFFERENT CREATURES

IT experts like to have everything planned and plotted long before beginning the work. They want to take the input from multiple resources (including the users), create a scope of work that includes all possible parameters, and then execute against the plan. Once an application is set up, they don't want to go back and keep reworking it, especially if it's only to suit one person at a time.

Salespeople, on the other hand, like to work on the fly. They typically focus on one opportunity at a time, day by day, which means much of the preparation work for their next sales call is performed at the last minute.

In addition, salespeople generally have little interest in detailed, tedious work. Yet detailed and tedious describes SQL (and other database programming) perfectly. In short, the differences in the way IT and sales work assures that neither department is completely happy.

UNEASY CUSTOMIZATION

Most CRM software now includes some ability for salespeople to customize the way they retrieve data. Unfortunately, these capabilities tend to be complex and limited.

For example, there are query wizards built into the software. However, wizards tend to be built by software programmers, who think like software programmers not salespeople. They apply a logical approach with steps that may seem straightforward to them but that may still be well outside a salesperson's approach or comfort level. …

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