CRM for sales: how to sell more

Normally, a CRM is a sales support tool that helps sales reps boost their results. Yet most CRMs don’t sell – they actually slow down sales. Good salespeople are dynamic, energetic and creative, and the standards for integrating information into CRM lock them into a “straitjacket”. On the contrary, a good CRM should relieve them…

Normally, a CRM is a sales support tool that helps sales reps boost their results. Yet most CRMs don’t sell – they actually slow down sales. Good salespeople are dynamic, energetic and creative, and the standards for integrating information into CRM lock them into a “straitjacket”. On the contrary, a good CRM should relieve them of their tasks, giving them the freedom to express their talent and develop their business.

The sales equation

Total sales come from a 3-digit equation:

Number of contacts x closure rate x average sales = total sales.

Let’s take a look at how CRM impacts each of these figures to boost sales.

Number of contacts

This is the figure in the equation most negatively impacted by the majority of CRMs. All the big CRMs require the salesperson to spend a lot of time updating them, they have to bend to the machine’s arcana and have to reduce their number of calls as well as their number of customer contacts. A day’s work is limited, and anything taken up feeding the machine represents less time in front of customers, which is the salesperson’s primary vocation.

These systems were designed to provide statistics for marketing and sales management, not as a sales support tool. In short, managers will have more figures to explain poor results, whereas it would have been simpler to give good results with fewer statistics.

Closing rate

Also known as the closing rate, it is linked to the quality of the sales rep’s selling techniques. Normally, a good CRM should increase the closing rate by providing information on the customer’s motivations and objectives, which the sales rep can use as leverage to close the sale. On the other hand, the majority of CRMs are used in a prescriptive way, with the salesperson having to fetch a certain amount of information and enter it into the system. If this is not the case, the sales manager will see it and take the culprits to task at the next meeting. As a result, the salesperson loses focus and becomes an information taker rather than a hunter using his or her instincts, turning aggressive salespeople into marketing functionaries.

Here too, CRM should provide the key information for the sale, while giving the customer maximum freedom to enjoy the pleasure and efficiency of selling by instinct, while respecting the steps in the organization’s business process.

Average sales

Average sales are linked to the quality of the salesperson and the choice of the right customers, i.e. the loyalty of the important customers who keep us going, and the development of high-potential customers and prospects.

All good software should allow you to classify customers by sales and by decreasing potential. However, this is rarely the case: the system is so rigid, the sales standards so rigorous, that the sales person ends up doing the customers suggested by the system, instead of doing it intelligently and systematically, or even intuitively.

A good system allows the sales rep to sort his or her customers with a single click, to check who has been met and who hasn’t among the priority customers, and to easily create target lists.

Selling is an intelligent game, and salespeople must be given the means to use their potential to the full!

Jean-Pierre Mercier