Many people look at sales training and CRM as two separate functions that operate independently of one another. Would it surprise you to hear that they actually complement one another, and that sales training should always include consideration of the CRM strategy?
The goal of sales training is to teach the skills and habits necessary for the success of your company. CRM is a process that determines how a company interacts with its customers. It involves identifying what needs to be done to win and retain customers, when this needs to be done, and how information can be tracked and utilized to increase the effectiveness of client relationships. As such, teaching sales personnel key pitches and techniques to close a deal is simply not enough. To be successful, companies need to supplement their sales training with solid CRM processes that support the key sales messages and subsequently improve the bottom line.
So what steps can you take to combine these two functions effectively?
Clearly define your sales process.
For sales training to integrate effectively with CRM, you need a clearly defined sales process. Many companies do not actually have a published sales process, yet they have a CRM product. How is that possible?
Many people do not fully understand the work involved in implementing a successful CRM approach and mistakenly believe that simply purchasing a CRM product is all that is needed to manage their sales methodology. This could not be further from the truth. CRM tracks events; in itself, it is not methodology. One way to recognize that there is confusion within your own organization is if the CRM product you invested so much money in is not actually being used. Many CEOs have wasted money on expensive CRM products that have failed to deliver any real results. Why was the expenditure a complete waste of money? Because they began implementing CRM before they actually developed a sales process. If everyone in the company has a slightly different approach to selling, CRM cannot possibly help your business in any way. If employees are not all doing the same thing, the CRM product is incapable of measuring success because every outcome is potentially different. As such, many employees perceive CRM processes to be a complete waste of time because they don’t appear to aid the sales process. To be successful and effective, the CRM function must always aid the sales process.
Sales training needs to be specific and targeted.
All sales training needs to be very specific and targeted to an agreed-upon set of objectives to which you train and coach. It may sound simple, but if you’re going to make sales training and CRM work together, you need to have a predetermined process. Following this, you must train and coach to that process. Many companies design courses that educate their sales personnel on minute details that don’t have much impact on the bottom line. Successful companies recognize that their training courses need to identify what success looks like, and help their employees identify the individual steps needed to reach the end target. For example, if you have three major “gates” in your sales process, you should train your staff how to be as effective as possible in Gate One before progressing to Gate Two. You should coach, train, and role-play the activities that are crucial in each of the steps, and they should become the daily routine in your sales department.
Next week we will look at how CRM processes need to mirror Sales processes and subsequently implement training processes to fill the gaps.
ProAptivity specialise in the deployment of CRM solutions into small and medium size businesses. They are the Northern Ireland solutions partner for Maximizer CRM which offers both on-premise and on demand solutions with full Mobile CRM capabilities. For more information contact 028 90735630