The CRM Fables
The Blind Man & The Lame Man
A blind man was carrying a lame man on his back, and everything was going well, everything’s on track. Then the blind man decides to take it into his head that he needn’t listen to all that the lame man said.
“This stick I have will guide the two of us safe,” said he. Although he was warned by the lame man, he plowed into a tree. On they proceeded; the lame man now warned of a brook; The two survived, but their possessions a soaking took. At last the blind man ignored the warning of a drop, And that was to turn out their final and fatal stop.
Which of the two travelers, you may ask, was to blame? Why, ‘twas both the heedless blind man and the trusting lame’.
Our first parable spoke about allowing your sales team to be their most effective self in their own personal style. This does not mean however that they can be left to do what they want with no management or structure.
Just like there is no one size fits all sales patter, there is no one size fits all sales management approach. In too many businesses, the data that a salesperson puts in their CRM is the start and end of the management process… management through spreadsheets.
However, just like selling is a personal connection, so is effective management. People aren’t robots and just like a great CRM package can’t make a poor salesperson good, it also can’t make a poor manager a good one. An effective CRM system is a conversation starter in terms of sales management, not the whole conversation. The best sales managers I see utilise their CRM software to put into practice a system of informed management. Taking the data on customer and prospect conversations, meetings, emails, opportunity and pipeline information and more to help give them an informed base for their discussions and reviews with their sales teams.
Management visibility is not about being big brother and endless monitoring. It is about identifying where things are going right or wrong to enable effective mentoring and development of the salespeople offline. In the modern world, sales managers see their time stretched more than ever. Therefore, within a few minutes, a sales manager should be able to call up on their CRM, details on a sales person’s activity with customer and pipeline data. This helps them get on with the harder and more time-consuming part of the job – the personal side. It also makes sure that a salesperson is not spending valuable selling time on writing reports for managers.