THE SITUATION- Why do so many companies and sales reps under utilize, or even quit using, their lead management and tracking systems? As a Certified Reseller, Consultant and Trainer for a Sales Force Automation (SFA) software company, I had a lot of experience working with companies in designing and deploying their SFA tools. In my experience, the long term effectiveness has more to do with the implementation strategy and support systems, than the tool itself. This is true for other business tools and systems as well. The fundamentals are the same regardless of the business function.
dlb Plan- I promote a Comprehensive, Integrated Deployment Strategy. For SFA. or CRM, it starts with a deep understanding your company’s markets and specific sales processes–how are prospects identified, “binned & prioritized”, cultivated and ultimately secured as customers? It’s also critical to get buy-in from all levels of management and understand the kind of reporting and tracking that is meaningful from their perspective. The challenge is then properly tailoring your chosen product & tools to fit your specific sales process and create custom reports to provide the desired management visibility. Next, it’s critical to design and institute effective procedures to ensure consistent and proper usage. Then, all users (including management) need to be trained on the new tools and procedures. Finally, it’s important to develop incentives to motivate desired behavior (usage). There is no silver bullet, there are many different software programs, web applications or tools that can be effective, if properly tailored, implemented and supported. The magic lies in the “usefulness” of the tools and the commitment of the team (including management) to continually “use” the tools. Both of these outcomes depend less on the particular product or tool and more the effectiveness of the implementation plan & support systems.
THE RESULTS- For a technical training client, I was awarded the assignment to fully design and execute the implementation plan and support systems for one regional sales team’s SFA/CRM. The corporate office was so impressed with the results, I was flown to other regions to set-up and roll-out the same comprehensive program for other regional offices. I no longer resell one particular product but, instead, work with companies in identifying and selecting the best tool, tailoring & implementing it, training users and establishing the procedures, reports & incentives that, all combined, will allow the system to make a real impact on the business.