The importance of customer relationship management (CRM) technology has grown with the strategic emphasis firms now place on building buyer-seller partnerships (Cannon and Perreault 1999). Today, salespeople are armed with data, tools and buying indicators from their CRM that makes the selling process efficient, sophisticated and agile. CRM technology impacts the entire selling process (creating opportunity, managing opportunity, and managing relationships). In spite of the technology at one’s disposal, the unavoidable reality of sales is that sometimes it’s hard to achieve the numbers. Every sales leader should know how to empower sales reps to improve performance and achieve their goals. For that, sales coaching has to be more about managing customer relationships, even more than selling products.
CRM is more than just a tactical information plan
Let’s go through the information that the CRM can collect about the sales technique.
- Emails, meetings, phone calls, tasks for the day
- Details of prospect interactions in order to have informed conversations in the future and reduce dependency on one rep only
- Number of times sales collateral have been used – proposals and slideshow templates, to contract templates
- Pipeline information, opportunity stage – how far along a customer is in the buying process
- Logging sales behaviors
- Lead activity/ responsiveness – lead’s emails, live chats, campaigns, events, social media posts, deals, and surveys are aggregated into a common timeline
- Customer value
- Buyer status (first-time vs. frequent); and so on
All this data can inform the sales leaders’ coaching interventions.
Behavioral psychology and data-driven coaching work together
- Coaching to enhance perceived usefulness of the CRM (adoption of the CRM)
The adoption of CRM has remained a pain point ever since it was introduced in North America in 1998. Sales leaders can demonstrate and ensure that sales reps get trained to understand the comprehensiveness of the CRM.
Features like lead scoring, automated data entry, sales automation, automated emails, notifications, and such in CRMs are built keeping in mind behavioral psychology. These are the mundane tasks that take up a disproportionate amount of the sales’ reps time. And as such, reducing that time is a major deciding factor when it comes to enhancing the adoption of CRM across sales reps (and all customer-facing roles).
CRM data helps with setting realistic targets for sales reps and identifies areas of opportunity for them. More on how to drive CRM pipeline adoption here.
- Coaching driven by client interaction history and client responsiveness
Coach sales reps to build on what the prospect has responded to in the past. Sales reps also need to ensure that they go informed to the meetings and have intelligent conversations with the prospect. Not all will be ready to buy right then, or for a long time. But interacting with them based on past data can go a long way in ensuring that the leads stay warm.
This can also inform their attempt at cross-referencing customers and recognizing new sales opportunities.
- Coaching driven by reports and analytics
Set parameters, events, and behaviors when triggered will automatically score leads and segment them based on priority. Lead scoring helps identify viable and valuable leads.
CRM lead predictions tell you which leads are but a call away from conversion. You can measure which behavior is leading to better prediction scores. The sales leader can coach the sales reps to demonstrate more of those behaviors?
CRM can track any channel that the prospect uses to reach out to you. You get actionable notifications if they fill a form, download a whitepaper, call the help desk, and so on. The sales leader has a clear view of what actions were taken at what stage and can accordingly guide the sales rep’s actions.
The analytics dashboard keeps them informed of their goals and how close they are to achieving them.
- Coaching driven by relevant behaviors across the sales process
Behaviors during opportunity creation
Opportunity creation is complex as organizations need to analyze customer information, buyer profiles, and segmentation data to decide which markets to target and which clients to pursue. Coaching can specifically target behaviors that are key to this stage – cold calling, performing research on clients, and generating and qualifying leads.
Behaviors during opportunity management
Opportunity management involves a number of details- gaining a deeper understanding of needs, connecting with key influencers, and providing a solution that meets the prospect’s needs. Coaching sales reps to ensure ongoing communication and collaboration with not only external buying influences (decision-makers at the prospects) but also internal resources, is central to their success at this stage.
Behaviors during managing relationships
CRM enables sales professionals to better track customer conversations and improve their ability to communicate with customers. This data can be used to nurture customer relationships to increase up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. The use of sales technology for communicating information increases an organization’s ability to propose and showcase customized and integrative solutions.
Data-driven and hyper-personalized CRMs can equip salespeople with tools that make the selling process more efficient. Further, applying concepts of behavioral psychology to data-driven coaching can significantly increase the adoption of the CRM and inform the sales reps’ attempt at cross-referencing customers and recognizing new sales opportunities. Coaching that is driven by reports and analytics can keep them informed of their goals and how close they are to achieving them. And finally, coaching driven by relevant behaviors across the sales process can target behaviors at different stages of the sales cycle to give the sales reps a 360 degree view of their performance.