My sales process works, now let's apply some pressure.

October 16, 2020
Dan Williamson
dwilliamson@hotprospects.com

The CRM software industry is overrun with variety of what constitutes a ‘viable’ solution. It would seem the winning strategy is concentrating more on helping businesses streamline their sales process to make money more efficiently, than it is focusing on adding more widgets and API connections to the UI.

However, the more popular method is to look for the more trending, the more noticed, regardless to cost, regardless to the future of that data and who has access to it. Often, the folks evaluating the tools have never themselves used a CRM. So how does one even know what to ask?

Usually one can get through a couple sections on the interface of the CRM during a demo before it becomes an all-out barrage of questions, “Can it do this?, Can it do that?, Does it connect to this service etc”. The main purpose shouldn’t be to only determine the extent of the functionality, but to evaluate how it applies to the current sales process within the organization. How flexible is the current process? Would the staff adapt to the change successfully if implemented?

Massive implementations of CRMs and ERPs costing tens of thousands a month can be absolute failures because the staff and managers failed to adopt the transition of the process and duties. If the sales staff cannot adapt to the change, then it doesn’t matter how fancy the UI is, or many API connections are allowed, or how much was spent on your CRM, it’s bound to fail. The success of any CRM software directly relies on what the users put into it and how those users leverage it to their own success.

If the only engagement by CRM evaluators is to focus on the extent of functionality, the main pain points of a failing process are never identified in relation to an overall solution. Failure points within a sales process is one of the more common things we experience when working with clients. Identifying those pain points first is much more important than determining the full gamut of functionality within a software package. Many failure points within any sales process usually identify as being too costly to maintain, being too difficult to use, being too unreliable, or the data itself is not correct. The list can be vast, but the outcome is the same.

Does your sales process have multiple points of interaction between services like (Google Maps, Google Analytics, Gmail, Facebook, Zapier, Quicken, BING, MailChimp, other CRMs etc)? Is getting the information to your staff an overly complex solution where different parts fail at different times for different reasons?

These types of sales processes might work on a smaller scale, trickle in approach when growth hacking. But when you drive traffic to these kinds of solutions, they usually do not scale or are too costly to maintain a profit. As the business grows to a certain point, it will reach a plateau and experience failure points within the process, breaks that sometimes cannot be fixed. The API connections can begin to cost more due to volume increases. Services that normally never go down, now are dropping off when the traffic increases. What happens when one of the services that was an integral part of the process is now gone, or was purchased by someone else and no longer offers access?

Chasing these failure points can be very costly and a full-time job. Sometimes they cannot be avoided and are a cost of doing business. However, many times the additional steps and additional costs are not a required part of getting the data into the hands of the correct staff members. Keep things simple and implement reliable and scalable solutions within a process that can grow and scale successfully.

Using a CRM that can be customized can help eliminate these unnecessary growth hurdles for sure, but first, steps should be taken. Analyze the steps used in the process and identify any branching actions that staff members, or the system must take in order to push on to the next step.

Prioritize the steps of the process based on what tasks should take place within the CRM and determine what parts of the process happening outside the CRM are necessary. Identify and establish how communication between the CRM and any outside processes will take place. Make sure that is a scalable solution and not creating a failure point in the process.

Many times just maintaining the sales process comes at a cost, and these can be a challenge to make changes to, like trying to make a 90 degree turn in an oil tanker. However, leveraging the capabilities of the CRM can drastically decrease the overhead in cost, time, and technology headaches when research is focused on the process first, then the functionality.

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