Lori Richardson (@scoremoresales) is the founder and CEO of Score More Sales, a consulting and training firm that helps sales development reps interact with potential buyers to engage, qualify, add value, create opportunities and (of course!) close them.
In a recent blog post titled Be More Productive in Sales, she offered some great tips for planning and making the best use of sales reps’ time. I was particularly compelled by her emphasis on the CRM as a sales productivity tool. When I inquired about its importance and the implications of CRM adoption—especially in light of sales reps’ resistance to it—here’s what she had to say.
You mention the CRM system several times in your post. Why is the CRM so important to increasing sales productivity? (Not all reps look at it that way.)
LR: CRM is a single, safe, catch-all to get critically important information out of your head and into one single place. When you do this, it frees up your brain for more creative thinking. Since we know it takes creative thinking, among other things, in a sales role - anything a rep can do to be as sharp and creative as possible is a good idea.
When good sales leaders present the "win" in it for the reps, they will get a much higher adoption rate. Reps don't want CRM just for their leadership to create reports; they want and need it to improve their sales process, track sales opportunities better, and find ways to shorten their sales cycle.
You also write about the importance of tracking sales data in the CRM, but many sales organizations are struggling with CRM adoption. Why do you think some reps are so resistant to spending time there?
LR: First of all, a top rep should spend most of their time talking to prospective buyers. Top reps who have adoption issues should get some data entry help, some data cleansing help, and a little hand holding as to why this is to their benefit to implement. When rolled out that way, reps see the benefits and they often show the other reps what they learned so adoption grows.
Anyone using spreadsheets to track prospective buyers needs their head examined in 2015 heading into 2016. Spreadsheets are simple and that's what sales personnel like about them, but they are also SO limited. I like to do a comparison with what my spreadsheet can do vs. what my CRM can do in helping me plan, assess, and move sales opportunities forward.
What are some things that sales organizations can do to help?
LR: Working with a smart CRM system, other information should be pulled in, such as social insights. I would encourage them to have a regular time each day outside of calling time where they can update. There is also nothing wrong with getting an admin to work with a small group of reps to help them with some of the "administrivia" so that sales reps can do what they are hired to do - SELL.
What is one piece of advice you have for sales leaders/managers that they can use to make their reps more productive?
LR: As with any new change, work to make a 1% improvement every day, rather than a 180% shift. Set realistic goals and follow up with the team so that they know leadership isn't just on to the next thing - that this is an important priority. Sales leaders and managers need to walk the talk. If they are frazzled, unorganized, and late to meetings, don't expect your team to be otherwise. Find fun ways to get behavior changes to happen. An occasional contest can be interesting and different.
For more tips and ideas from Lori, visit the Score More Sales Blog.
For details on how Brainshark helps reps have more productive and increase CRM adoption, check out this short video.