Recently sales leadership guru Lisa McLeod posed the provocative question, "Is Your Sales Force Being Sabotaged By Your CRM?" In her article on Forbes.com, McLeod compares and contrasts the habits of two sales people. One, she says, is having mediocre sales calls because his CRM is focused "on information important to his company (pipeline, revenue projections, close date, etc.) versus information that is important to the customer." She continues:
"Without being prompted to focus on the customer’s goals and challenges, Salesperson A will do what most average-performing salespeople do: provide a generic description of his products and services, and hope he closes the deal." Salesperson B, on the other hand, has a customer-focused CRM system that outlines the customer’s environment, goals, challenges, and success factors, enabling her "to connect the dots between the customer’s high-priority goals and her solution. If the two salespeople’s products and pricing are about the same, the person with the customer-focused CRM will win."
McLeod's example should prompt every sales leader to consider whether or not their CRM is giving the sales team everything it needs to succeed. We believe a salesperson needs the following to ensure a thoughtful, customer-focused call:
- Industry Intelligence: What are the main issues in the customer's industry today?
- Company Intelligence: How are these issues impacting this particular customer--and how is the customer responding?
- Executive Intelligence: What are the main areas of focus for the individual executives you are targeting (e.g., CIO, COO, CFO)? What are they talking about publicly?
There are plenty of comprehensive solutions out there for industry intelligence and company intelligence. These include sources like Hoover's, CapitalIQ, OneSource, SeekingAlpha and your customers' own websites.
Executive intelligence on the other hand--their personal background, interests and current focus and key challenges--is harder to come by. Top sales pros tend to do this homework themselves online. But the majority of salespeople--like Salesperson A, above--don't do this homework at all, increasing their likelihood of unproductive sales calls.
We created Boardroom Insiders to fill this intelligence gap. We have experienced first hand what happens when salespeople are given the right intelligence about key decision makers. Companies like Dell, Cisco and NetApp hire us to provide in-depth executive intelligence to help them close bigger deals, faster.
Whether you do your own homework or get it from us, understanding the careabouts of the people to whom you are selling is a no-brainer. Want to learn more?