Improving Sales Productivity

Confront the issues that clog your selling system and simplify the supply chain behind the sales force.

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02 May

Written by Adam Thorp

CRM Trends to Optimise the Sales Force

CIO Magazine just released an article titled ‘6 CRM predictions for 2016’ based on input from experts in sales, marketing and customer relationship management regarding which CRM features and trends will dominate 2016.

The Trends

  • CRM software will become more social - More ways will be devised for CRM can take advantage of social media. Nimble are a good example.
  • Mobile CRM - The shift will be from basic phone-ready version to a fully interactive, real-time, less hierarchical and easier to use on the go.
  • Integration - CRM providers will build native integrations with other platforms such as ecommerce, finance, etc to make them more efficient. Integrations will be replaced by all-in-one software platforms that truly marry the needs of sales and marketing. InsideSales.com’s Predictive Cloud and HubSpot are good examples.
  • Vertical CRMs - Industry-specific CRM solutions that have built-in best practices and processes which provide a level of industry-specific expertise that companies just don't get with a generic CRM solution. PractiFI and OnePlace have taken this approach.
  • CRM platforms supported with predictive analytics capabilities - Predictive analytics combined with CRM data gives marketers and salespeople more valuable insights to take the 'next best decision' rather than just following a linear process - The impact in the pipeline being significant. InsidesSales.com lead the way in the sales org for predictive analytics and 6Sense is the emerging power in marketing.
  • CRM of Things - expect to see smart devices linked to CRM, enabling automated business notifications, follow-ups etc that will redefine immediacy for customer interaction and service. Salesforce.com are leading the way on this development.

It's hard to imagine these aren't on the money as they are already being heavily adopted.

The challenge will be how the sales organisation responds.

The pressure on sales leaders has never been greater or more different, yet the response is so often the same - an ineffective, traditional approach to sales force design, development and capability building.

Change is constant which leaves ‘sales transformation’ as a reactive, inefficient, costly and redundant exercise. What is needed is ‘reform’.

To both grow and better manage unpredictability, the sales organisation has got to be more focussed on 'effectiveness'. Efficiency is important, however giving someone time back in their day when they lack effectiveness falls into the law of diminishing returns. It's not how fast you climb the mountain, but the path you take.

Why is effectiveness so important?

In a survey, McKinsey asked 1,200 B2B purchasers what drove their purchasing decisions. “Overall sales experience” emerged as the least important category. They then asked the same customers to rate their suppliers’ performance and also asked for each supplier’s share of their business. Correlating supplier performance with actual purchases revealed a startlingly different picture: sales experience was three times more important than stated. See below.

So, sales experience matters, but figuring out what will make it satisfying is anything but simple.

To enable people to make 'the next best decision' they need data, insights and the ability to take action.

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
W. Edwards Deming