Companies from the medium size and up are no strangers to the use of technologies to improve and measure sales performance. CRM systems, SFA, SPM – the three letter category acronyms abound. But what about smaller companies, with a handful of sales people, who perhaps don’t use anything beyond the standard office productivity systems? From an expenditure perspective, the opportunity of acquiring enterprise-class technology at an affordable price has never been more present, with the moves towards cloud computing and on-demand, software-as-a-serve models driving down the sticker price.
For companies of all sizes, the objective – and promise – of automation should be sustained, predictable revenue improvement. Technology – through the device our sales people interact more with than any other, namely the laptop – helps deliver the adoption and reinforcement of new best practice selling behaviors through objective, scientific repetition. It will help sales people if it designed with their needs in mind, such as maximizing productivity, improving effectiveness, and bringing confidence.
But technology is still just the delivery mechanism, and it needs to carry some heavyweight passengers to really bring improvement. Those passengers are sales process and sales methodology, and they apply to any size of sales organization attempting to sell an involved solution to a customer that takes a relatively long time to buy, has a relatively complicated buying process, and a relatively large numbers of players in the process.
If you’re contemplating sales initiatives for 2011, and training to a new process, method and / or technology is on your list, what should you do first? What will make your sales people and managers more effective? The wisdom of the experts, and the independent ones at that, are that you should get your methodology and process fixed before you bring in a CRM technology. Dave Stein of ES Research wrote in back 2007 in the publication ‘Technology and Sales Force Productivity’, that the CRM should come second, and should be adapted to the methodology, not vice versa, otherwise in his words, you just get ‘automation of the chaos’.
We have just published a White Paper called ‘The Growing Sales Organization’, where we identify 4 discrete ‘growth ages’ of sales organization and explore their challenges. We also make a case for Dealmaker, our sales performance automation solution which combines process, method and technology, to support all ages and sizes of selling organization. The White Paper is free to download from our website’s White Papers page. Please feed back if you read it.