Tell me if this sounds familiar: You went through a process to select a CRM suite, then you hired the recommended Systems Integrator (SI) to configure and customize it according to your requirements, (the ones you put together while you were implementing it).
You also have a few sales reps who've been through some sales training classes and some that haven't, but they all perform inconsistently.
Your marketing department is off doing their own thing with your website (using a web agency they selected), spending loads of money on trade shows, and spamming your prospects with tons of email (and your reps are still complaining about leads).
Your pipeline looks ok, according to the dashboard in your SFA application, but you still don't really trust it and your reps aren't really a big fan of your SFA application either.
You aren't quite sure what to do to get it all together, you're running out of excuses and your job is on the line. Should you pay for more sales training, rebuild that tired website (again), invest in SEO to get more leads, force everyone to use the SFA system or not get paid?
Is There a Better Way?
Now let's paint a different picture. Everyone in your sales organization, your marketing department and support group have been trained by one of the top Sales Effectiveness firms in the country. They all love the entire approach and program and they believe in it 100%.
That same firm worked directly with your SI to tune the entire CRM system to support your organization with a consistent set of tools, processes and messages all the way from your marketing strategy to your customer support organization.
Every person that has contact with a customer is now fluent in a different language: the language of business. Now the conversation your company has with its customers and prospects is in harmony and aligned with your business strategy and, more importantly, aligned with your customer's business strategy.
The reports you need are instantly available and trusted. You now possess the kind of deep insight you need to make informed and insightful decisions. You can anticipate what is coming and what needs to be done. You sleep well at night.
Is this science fiction or fantasy? No, it's the result of looking at sales as an enterprise process that has to be addressed and supported holistically.
The Band Hall or the Symphony?
Last year my son was required to participate in a music class. He chose to be in band and to play the trumpet. He didn't want to, but he had to if he wanted to get through the sixth grade.
Shortly after Thanksgiving I was told that I had to attend his first band concert. I knew it would be tough, but I wanted to support my son and keep peace with my wife. So there we sat on uncomfortable aluminum chairs in an overcrowded elementary school band hall with a couple of hundred other parents smiling and trying to make the best of it.
I love my son, but wow, they really did sound pretty rough, it almost made me cry. Imagine about 70 kids trying to play instruments that they weren't really interested in with only a couple of months of practice with one band instructor for the whole group.
You get the picture; you've probably been there yourself.
A few weeks later I took my family to the Myerson Symphony Center to hear the Dallas Symphony Orchestra play their annual Christmas symphony. What a difference.
All the members of the orchestra were well trained, they took pride in their craft, their instruments were well tuned, the entire performance was well rehearsed, the facility was amazing and the result was spectacular, I almost wept.
When your company goes to market, everything you do and every interaction you have with customers and prospects is a performance, while your customers and prospects are your audience.
What kind of customer experience are you giving them, how do you sound to your customers? Do you leave them crying in pain or weeping a tear of joy? This is the difference between a poorly- and well-trained sales team.
Ed McAdoo is a Guest Author for AXIOM. He is a 20 year veteran of the CRM and Sales Enablement industry with experience in a variety of highly successful private and public companies. Ed has worked with CRM systems from Siebel, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Salesforce.com.