The Perfect Day for a Salesperson - 10 Ways to be More Efficient and Effective in 2018

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Dec 08, 2017 @ 09:12 AM



You can be more effective and more efficient selling in 2018, do every single thing I wrote about in this article, exactly as I wrote it, and without any difficulty, by making a conscious decision to follow this blueprint.  It's not hard. It's not scary.  It's not unusual.  It's not even thought-provoking.  It's simply a list of best practices that great salespeople (top 5%) do and that crappy (46%) salespeople either don't do consistently or don't do it at all.


The ideal sales day begins the previous evening.  Looking ahead to tomorrow, how many meetings do I have, which of those are sales related, how many items on the to-do list must be completed, how many proposals are due, and how many emails must I respond to before the day begins?  Based on all of that, how early do I need to set the alarm?  For me, most mornings it's for 5:30 AM.


Upon awakening, I like to begin the day inside CRM (we love Membrain) so that I can see all of my opportunities, the stage of the pipeline they are in, identify those I must move along, and who is waiting on me for something.


Next, I need to identify my prospecting time for the day.  That's when I'll do the required work on those opportunities that need attention and schedule new meetings.  On most days, I have less than an hour of time for this so I need to be prepared to be ultra productive.  I can't afford to spend an hour attempting to reach potential new clients since even for me it will take 10-15 attempts to reach a CEO or Sales VP so it's crucial to actually connect with prospects during this time.  I begin with introductions, move to referrals, then to inbound leads from appropriately titled decision makers, and back-fill with LinkedIn connections and other inbound leads.  I only want to schedule future calls - not spend time talking with them today.  If you aren't fortunate enough to have a steady supply of introductions, referrals and inbound leads to call, you need a way to be more efficient than cold calling and I recommend that you use ConnectAndSell.  In an hour of calling they'll help you connect to an average of 7 prospects whereas attempting to reach prospects on your own might not yield 7 connections in an entire day.


It's still early so this is the ideal time to respond to emails that I didn't get to yesterday, those that came in over night, and those where I need to be proactive.


Finally, there are the scheduled sales calls.  For brand new opportunities, what do I need to know about them, their company, their industry and our common connections before we speak?  What is the desired outcome for each call?   What is the game plan to get there?

Sales Calls or Meetings

These days almost everything I do is by phone or video conference and that holds true for sales calls as well. If I want to achieve a predictable outcome then all I have to do is have a great conversation that faithfully follows our sales process, reaching the required milestones along the way.  One of the things that I love about Membrain is that the sales process, milestones, scorecards and playbooks for each milestone are on the screen during the call.  Companies that are in sales training, learning sales process and/or methodology, introducing playbooks, on boarding new salespeople, incorporating integrated CRM, or getting veteran salespeople to change the way they do things gain an additional benefit or 3 from these features.

What Can Go Wrong?

There is very little that can go wrong when you prepare like this.  Surely, some calls will cancel or reschedule, some prospects will be unqualified, some opportunities may be poor fits, and some prospects won't want to share answers to your questions.  You can't control any of that stuff but you can prepare for it.  Read this article to better understand how to use your unexpected free time.


I receive a few incoming cold calls and schedule a few sales calls or meetings with salespeople calling on my companies each week and here's what I can tell you about them.  They.  All.  Suck.  No exceptions.  Here's why:

When salespeople are scheduled to have an actual sales call with me all they want to do is pitch, present and demo.  Does anyone, other than those salespeople that we train, actually use a consultative approach to sell?


Armed with an effective approach, appropriate planning, effective sales process and methodology, supportive sales tools and good scores in all 21 Sales Core Competencies, you will succeed.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, crm, sales best practices, membrain, time management, connectandsell

Is it Your Salespeople or Did You Make a Bad Decision?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 @ 12:10 PM


Consider buying a car that had an insanely cheap price, with every option you could imagine, as well as options that you never thought you could use.  Nice!  But, you can't drive it until you hire an after market specialist to install instrumentation on the dashboard, a steering wheel, brakes, and gas pedal in the driver's area.  When you finally accept delivery and take it for a spin with your family, everyone hates it, nobody wants to drive with you, and you feel like it wasn't such a great price after all. You can't trade it in, and now you're stuck with it. Sounds impossible, doesn't it?  But for many companies, that is exactly how things are playing out for that purchased this popular application.  

Consider this quote from a client:

"You were right, you know.  Six months ago, when you told us that we wouldn't be happy with the integration of the customized sales process into, we didn't understand what you meant.  But now we do.  It's clunky, not really part of the interface, the customization cost us tens of thousands of dollars, and it doesn't work the way we need it to.  We are so sorry we didn't listen because that train has left the station."

Companies think they have to buy when, in reality, there are some really great alternatives.  Our favorite is Membrain.  It doesn't cost as much, doesn't require third-party integrators to get it to do what you want, and has perfectly good dashboards out of the box.  There's even a standard configuration for Baseline Selling.  [Speaking of Baseline Selling, I've received so many compliments on the great job of the voice over talent on the new audiobook!  You can order all versions (hardcover, paperback, Kindle, audio) of Baseline Selling here.]

Nobody should be stuck in a CRM application that salespeople don't want to use!  They will be inconsistent at best with regard to entering data, when they should actually be living in their CRM application.  Whether they are inconsistent or invisible when it comes time to enter and update opportunities, you won't have real time data on your dashboard and that makes the application useless to management.  At that point it's like owning a car that has a folding chair for a driver's seat and the car does not have a working speedometer, odometer or gasoline gauge. 

CRM is important.  Accurate forecasts are important.  Visibility into each and every opportunity is important.  Integration of the sales process that must be executed and the stage and milestone on which each opportunity sits is important.  Real time visibility is important.  If it's not working for you, cut your losses and move on.  Isn't that what you would do with an under performing salesperson?

Kitedesk featured me in a Sales Expert interview that you can read here.

I was the guest expert on a Rapid Learning Institute Webinar on the sales candidate interviewing mistakes you must avoid.  You can listen to that Webinar here.

I'll be hosting a 30-minute presentation of my own on October 25 at 11 AM Eastern.  I'll be talking about the 6 Hidden Weaknesses that impact sales revenue!  If you would like to listen in, you can register here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Baseline Selling, sales process, sales CRM, membrain,

The 3 Most Important Questions about Sales Process and My Answers

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 09, 2016 @ 06:05 AM


Sales Process is a topic that I have chosen to write about around 25 times over the past 10 years. All 25 articles can all be found in my series on Sales Process.  Lately, we are finally beginning to see some improvements being made in this area.  For example, back in the early 90's, when Objective Management Group (OMG) first began measuring the existence of sales process, only 9% of all salespeople were following one with any degree of consistency and effectiveness.  It was amazing to me that for 20 years, this number failed to change!  But recent statistics are showing that 20-25% of companies and their salespeople are finally following and using a sales process.  Hooray!

With sales process finally getting the necessary attention, we should turn our attention to the three related issues that need to be addressed.  Which sales process should you select, and into which CRM application should it be integrated and how can it be customized?

To help answer the question of which sales process, it's important to understand that there aren't that many to begin with!  Names you might recognize as sales processes, like Challenger, SPIN and Sandler, are really methodologies - not processes.  For example, this short video explains one complete Sales Process - Baseline Selling - and compares it with Challenger, SPIN and Solution Selling.

It should be clear that you need a complete process and it should be customized for your business, what you sell, who you sell to, and the challenges that you face.  If you already have a process, or think you have a process, you can grade it for free using our complimentary sales process grader.

As for the CRM into which it should be integrated, where do I start?

Enterprise-size companies will need to choose because it's the only platform that will do everything an enterprise-size company needs.

For everyone else, there are lots of choices, and is probably not the best choice - unless you like spending a ton of money on customization, only to have a clunky interface that salespeople dislike.  And if your salespeople don't like it, they won't live in it, and if they don't live in it, the information on that dashboard, which you paid a fortune to customize, will be as useless as a typewriter.

It's difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to truly integrate sales process into CRM and expect its presence to be useful.  However, there is one CRM application which is perfect for businesses where the focus is sales process, the playbook, the pipeline and the dashboard.  Salespeople love it and that means they will live in it, data will be available in real time, and your dashboard will be predictive!  It doesn't need a whole lot of customization out of the box, and what customization it does require, won't require an integrator.  I think that if you check out the version of Membrain with Baseline Selling pre-integrated into it, you'll want to have it.

Some companies really get stuck when it comes to CRM, swayed by the crowd to move to, but overwhelmed with the work required to roll out an instance of to their sales force.  Speaking of stuck, the folks over at #Getunstuck asked me to record a short video for them on how I get unstuck and you can check it out here.

Getting back to CRM, I've also written a dozen articles on CRM.  This article on scorecards illustrates the power of having a CRM application that can be easily customized and tweaked as you go along and gain more information.  Another article discusses the 16 problems with CRM.  Finally, this article provides an example of how you can use the information on a CRM dashboard to improve revenue.

Sales process, without a CRM application that can fully utilize it, is solving only half of the problem.  CRM, without a good sales process, yields the same net outcome.  And when both the process and the CRM app are not as good as they could be, you're essentially moving at the speed of water evaporating!  You're slowly moving backwards!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales CRM, membrain,, #getunstuck

Sure Fire Way to Know Which Sales Opportunities are the Best Sales Opportunities

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 @ 06:02 AM

I just love it when cool gets cooler and I'm not talking about the winter weather in New England.  About a month ago, I wrote this article on Targeting and shared a generic model for scoring opportunities.  George Bronten and Henrik Oquist, CEO and COO of Membrain, took note and already developed the concept as a new feature for their world-class CRM application, Membrain.  You have to see how we integrated this new feature into the Baseline Selling version of Membrain.  In the image below, you can see that we added a scoreboard milestone at two stages of the sales process.


This allows us to purposefully rescore an opportunity as we learn more about it.  The next image has a little more of the scoring detail.


As you can see from our own instance of Membrain, we score the size, title, urgency, timeline and amount of competition for a particular opportunity.  This opportunity would have received a much higher score if there it was a smaller company, there was greater urgency and the timeline were this month instead of this quarter.  You might be questioning why the score would be higher if the company was smaller...A bigger company has 10 times the number of things that could delay or prevent a sale from closing and while all of those things could also occur with a mid-market or smaller business, they are far less likely at this stage in the sales cycle.  Don't believe me?  Then you don't have enough experience with enterprise size accounts!

Finally, in this listing we can rank opportunities by their scores (right-hand column).


Some CRM applications have the ability to rate the likelihood of closing based on assigned weights to various milestones or stages.  While that is better than when salespeople enter an arbitrary percentage, it's not nearly as good as when you have created specific criteria and values.  Neither man nor machine can skew those things!

In just a few days, this scoring system has had a tremendous impact on our company.  We are able to look at opportunities through a different and more accurate lens, allowing us to make better decisions about sales forecasts, resource allocations, and specific opportunities.

Thanks, Membrain!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales pipeline, membrain, sales forecast, scorecard

An Ode to the Evolution of the Pipeline

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 13, 2015 @ 07:07 AM



Over the weekend, I was thinking about sales pipelines and inaccurate forecasts, how companies are always experiencing issues at the top of the funnel, and it inspired the following poetry. It won't win an award for imagination, creativity, rhyming or flow. I'll stick to my day job for this, I surely know.

The pipeline on the left with all the eggs in one basket
Scares me to death - a business, one hope, surely heading for a casket
The one on the right has a healthier look
With more opportunities for deals to be booked.

Once so simple, my pipeline for next quarter
Suspects, prospects, and the sales cycle was shorter
Names and numbers on cards was a must
In a shoe box or a file box, today they collect dust.

The prospects were familiar - referred or introduced
Not like today where leads are seduced
Tire kickers, assistants and all the wrong folks
Wanting ebooks and samples -- it's all a cruel joke.

Back then our forecasts were accurate and true
We reached all the ones who made decisions too
They paid on time, not 90 days late
And cared about partnerships since those were first rate.

We have CRM, email, and marketing tools
And our blogs and our websites make visitors drool
Graphics and videos are now all the rage 
And they clog up the pipeline in the very first stage.

I love all the tools for managing the pipe
Membrain is awesome and will keep prospects ripe
While you're sleeping, Hubspot helps prospects find you 
And their Workflows automate your messages too.

ConnectAndSell gets prospects to the phone for you
7 in an hour - almost too good to be true
Schedule new meetings from calls that are cold
It's today's way of calling - what's new is really old.

With all that has changed, one thing remains clear
You must still do the work or your pipeline goes bare
Get on the phone and talk with some prospects
Or quit sales today and move to customer service.

The End. No it isn't.

Selling - the art and science of getting people who didn't necessarily want what you have, to pay you a premium for it. Before you can sell anything, you must have some people to sell it to! Fill the pipeline today!

Would you like to contribute a verse to this pipeline poem? Give it a try - it can't be any worse than mine!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HubSpot, sales pipeline, membrain, sales forecasts, chad burmeister, connectandsell

Approaching 2015 From a Sales Perspective

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 @ 06:12 AM


Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

You’ve made your New Years resolutions to exercise, lay off the carbs, lose weight, be kind, leave the cell phone in another room at night, close the laptop by 7PM, and be an all-around better person. You may have even set your goals for 2015. But what can you do to kick-off the New Year so that 2015 is your best sales year ever? Here are my top 10 tips: 

  1. Go All In on Your Goals and Write a Plan. If you know how much money you want to earn in 2015 and have a compelling reason to earn it, the next step is to figure out how. Subtract your salary as well as commissions on booked and/or residual business to determine the remaining required income. Based on your existing commission or bonus plan, how much new business must you close? How many new sales or accounts are required? What are the metrics to close one – in other words, how many proposals, demos, qualified opportunities, prospects and suspects does it take? Multiply that by the number of new sales or accounts required. You now have the activity required. Divide that by the number of selling days in the year. That gives you your daily metrics. Chapter 3 in my Baseline Selling Field Guide will step you through this entire process. Finally, where will that business come from? How much of that is already in your pipeline and how much of it must be found?
  2. Live in Your CRM. Resolve to begin each day from inside your CRM and specifically, in your pipeline. I love the ready-to-use Baseline Selling version of Membrain for this purpose. From the exercise above, you should know how many opportunities are required for each of four stages of the pipeline. A pipeline with typical conversion ratios might have 12 Suspects, 6 Prospects, 3 Qualified and 2 Closable. Determine how many opportunities must be added to your pipeline, which opportunities need your attention to move forward, and which opportunities are ready to be closed. Use email as a tool to make your pipeline work; not the other way around.
  3. Use the Phone. Use email to confirm dates, times and numbers and exchange agreed upon information. Do what old-school salespeople do and have ALL of your non face-to-face meetings over the phone. Follow my lead and conduct video conferences. Quickly create a page like this one that I built in Postwire for a professional, slick, and impressive way to share necessary documents, collateral and content instead of sending via email.
  4. Improve Your Sales Capability. Skills are only a part of what can make you effective. The truth is that your Sales DNA is an even more critical part of a salesperson’s makeup than skills. Sales DNA is represented by strengths that support your ability to execute, or weaknesses that interfere. My SalesMind CD uses powerful self-hypnosis and affirmations to help you quickly overcome your weaknesses and strengthen your Sales DNA. Quickly improve your ability to ask great questions, push back, talk about money, become rejection-proof, overcome call-reluctance, control your thoughts and emotions, reprogram your self-limiting beliefs, become a better decision maker and much more.
  5. Be Productive. Use powerful web applications or device-specific apps that sync across all of your devices so that you can get more done. I like Wunderlist for tasks, Google Calendar, Evernote for notes, Schedule Once (Membrain users have our own version of this) to make it easy for people to schedule a meeting with you, ToutApp for managing email lists and templates, Hubspot for my Blog and inbound analytics, Google Drive for documents and spreadsheets, Wistia for video, and Dropbox for file storage. Shufflr is great for sharing PowerPoint files with my team as well as quickly and easily building presentations from slides you’ve already used in other presentations. I use Zoom for HD video conferencing and AdobeConnect for my Webinar/Video Broadcast platform. It’s only with email that I use different applications on different devices. On my Mac desktop and laptop, I use Outlook for Mac. On my Android phone, I use MailDroid, and on my iPad, I use Acompli. So while the emails apps are all different, they still sync across all of my devices.
  6. Become a Consultative Seller. I’ve written about this enough. You know what it means. It’s time. Be like Nike. Just do it.
  7. Become a Value Seller. I’ve written a lot about this recently. Check out this series of value selling articles on my Blog.
  8. Follow a Proven, Milestone-Centric Sales Process. Check out this series of articles on Sales Process from my Blog.
  9. Look at that - You skipped over tip #1 – it’s so easy to skip that; I included it twice because it’s really the first thing you need to do in January!
  10. Be More Productive. Use ConnectAndSell to reach more prospects by phone than you ever believed possible. Using their service, you can connect with 7-8 prospects per hour instead of per week.

There you have it.  Follow my 10 tips for getting 2015 off to a good start and this could be your best year ever!  I wish you Happy Holidays and a safe New Year.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, postwire, sales CRM, membrain, selling value

Sales Efficiency - Has Google Provided Us With the Golden Egg?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

It's 6 AM and we need to plan our day.  Oh boy.

There are 87 emails that came in since 6PM yesterday, 2 internal meetings, 3 external meetings, 5 phone meetings and 14 items on the to-do list that must be completed today, including proposals, follow ups, job offers and CRM updates.  Whew!

Does that sound like you and your typical day?

With all of the demands on our time, it's more important than ever that we become more efficient.  Some of that can be accomplished through the use of tools, but as with all automation, if you don't have a good manual process, the automated process probably won't help.

If you or your salespeople sell in a territory and you use an Android phone, or an IOS phone with Google Search, then Google tracks your every move.  Just go to and click on location history and you'll see what I mean.  Creepy, right?  But their "Big Brother is watching you every single minute of the day and tracking every single place you go as well as when you go there" thing can be put to good use.  Click on the days in the calendar to see exactly where you traveled and when you traveled on that day.   
google dashboard
 Does it look efficient to you?  Could it be more efficient?

Another important tool for efficiency isn't really a tool, as much as it's an important feature on your tools and that's syncing.  You must be able to find exactly what you need, when you need it.  That goes for files, tasks, events, notes, websites and pages you frequently work with.  So here is my list of suggested applications, tools and services that meet my syncing and always available criteria:

  • Chrome Browser -With Google's free browser, your bookmarks, browsing history and favorite sites are synced across all of your devices so regardless of whether it's from your desktop, tablet, phone, or laptop, you have access to exactly the same information.  Two things make this work very efficiently.  The first is when you make liberal use of organized bookmarks like this:
    bookmarksThat eliminates typing in the URL's of any sites you visit; the second is a plug-in for Chrome called LastPass, which stores and enters your passwords and then automatically logs you in to each site you visit.  Boy, do these two things save a ton of time!
  • Wunderlist - a free to-do-list application does lists and tasks the way they were meant to be.  Your lists can have sub-lists that can be shared, you can add notes, customize the interface, and it syncs in real-time across every device.  It won't matter where you are, when you are there, or which device you are using, you will know and be able to edit exactly what it is you need to do.  
  • Calendar - If you use Google Calendar, then your calendar can sync across all of your devices too by using the IPad and IPhone application, Calendars, by Readdle.  And the Mac can access the Google Calendar via your browser or with the CalendarPro application from the Mac Store.  As with Wunderlist, you'll always know.
  • DropBox - My favorite file storage application for all the reasons we've been discussing here.  Quick, easy, and secure, with the ability to share specific files with others.
  • Postwire - Awesome platform for easily sharing specific content with customers, prospects and others.
  • Membrain - My all-time favorite Pipeline Management/CRM application.  Live in it.
  • Wistia and YouTube - You need video!  And the video must be served from a high-end video server like Wistia, or  for the masses, a search engine like YouTube. 
  • ToutApp - For excellent email template sharing, mail groups, and email marketing along with live email tracking.
  • Zoom Conferencing - For very easy, fast, video conferencing for up to 4 participants, Zoom Conferencing is very tough to beat and you can record some very good, quick video using the service while you're at it.

The world we live in calls for a more organized, efficient approach to selling and I hope that the tools I shared with you today will help you to optimize your approach to selling and sales.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, postwire, membrain, sales tools, toutapp, wunderlist, google calendar, dropbox, zoom conferencing

Top 10 Reasons For Inaccurate Forecasts

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 @ 07:02 AM

sales pipelineFor double article Friday, in addition to my Sales Pipeline Nazi article, I have the following bonuses for you:

For those of you who wanted to attend the Webinar on the Sales Candidate Analyzer, here is a link to the recording.

WittyParrot has just released the Top 50 Sales Productivity Tips ebook with 50 Experts, including me, offering their advice.  Download it here.

And the March Issue of Top Sales Magazine is available!  It includes an article from me and several other noteworthy sales writers.  You can download your copy here.


The Sales Pipeline Nazi

When I wrote this article, the Northeast corner of the US was being walloped by yet another snowstorm, which in this case, was very accurately forecasted.  At the same time, the first email I saw today had a link to a very funny video – a spoof of a Pipeline Review being run by Hitler.  Here is a link to that video on You Tube.

So the storm and the video led me to the following thoughts.

We joke a lot about sales forecasts being no more accurate than weather forecasts, but everything is relative.  An inaccurate forecast of cloudy won’t have much of an impact on anyone, but an inaccurate forecast of sunny and warm might.  An inaccurate forecast of flurries might not cause a problem if they don’t materialize, but an inaccurate forecast of a foot of snow – in either direction – has serious consequences.

Inaccurate sales forecasts are legendary.  Here are the 10 most common reasons why salespeople, sales managers, Sales Directors and CEO’s suffer from this: 

  • They lack a formal, staged, criteria-based pipeline.
  • They lack a functional, sales-specific CRM or Pipeline Management application.
  • Their sales process is not integrated into the CRM/Pipeline Management application.
  • Salespeople have the power to suggest the likelihood of closing.
  • Salespeople have the power to override the application’s weighting of an opportunity.
  • Salespeople fail to LIVE in the CRM application, providing infrequent updates, causing most report and dashboard data to be outdated.
  • There is a lack of accountability for keeping the application up-to-date - not weekly, not daily, but in real-time!
  • The data being entered is not being inspected by management.
  • Nobody cares about getting it right.
  • The concept of pipeline management has not been integrated into the culture.

As for the weather, we learn to live with those inaccurate forecasts by preparing for the worst.  We also learn to check back often, get an updated forecast the night before, the morning of and right before that outdoor event, trip to the airport, or 6-hour drive.  What if our salespeople did that?  What if sales managers did that?

If sales forecasts are truly like weather forecasts and we have learned to make the best of the weather, why can’t we simply employ the same strategies and tactics to sales forecasts?  Why can’t we get updates, check-in, check back, verify and re-verify?  Why can’t we get it right?  Why don’t we get it right?

In my opinion, there are a combination of factors at play that discourage salespeople from taking the steps that I just mentioned:

  • Laziness – “It’s too much work!”
  • Fear of Rejection – "When I check back, what if they changed their mind?”
  • Need for Approval (Need to be Liked)  - “They might not like me anymore.”
  • Fear of being wrong – “How could I live with myself?”
  • Pressure to find new opportunities – The only time hunting takes precedence over anything!
  • Consequences of removing an opportunity and its related value from the forecast and/or pipeline – “It’s much better to slide the opportunity to next month than the alternative.”

We must get sales forecasting right.  And we can.  If one company can do it, all companies can do it.  But it takes a commitment, from the top down, to make it work.  It takes work after the commitment has been made.  If the first 9 reasons, from my list at the beginning of the article, are properly addressed and the appropriate commitment has been made, then any company wishing to have an accurate sales forecast can have one. 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, crm, Pipeline, membrain,, sales forecasts

The Future of Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 @ 08:12 AM

holograhpicMy vision, of how the future of selling is shaping up, appears in today's (the December 18, 2013) issue of Top Sales Magazine.

After you have read the article, please contribute your comments, suggestions, visions, rebuttals and opinions which are all welcome right here.

This issue also features the 2013 Award Winners of the Top Sales & Marketing Awards in 18 Categories.

We did pretty well this year!

Objective Management Group (OMG) took home the Gold for the 3rd straight year for Top Sales Assessment Tool.

At Kurlan & Associates, Frank Belzer won the Silver for Top New Sales & Marketing Book, Sales Shift.  By the way, if you haven't read Frank's Blog, it's also deserving of recognition.

I won the Bronze for Top Sales & Marketing Blog - my 3rd consecutive win for Understanding the Sales Force.

I also won the Gold for Top Sales & Marketing Article - Sales Management Best Practices - Are Your Salespeople Challengers?

Our Partner, Membrain, won the Gold for Top CRM Tool.

And many of our friends and colleagues were honored too.  I congratulate all of them!!

As you contemplate the Future of Selling, think about how these changes might affect your company this month, this year, next year, and the years ahead.

Is your Sales Infrastructure able to support the sales team of the future?

Is your Sales Architecture optimized to support sales managers spending 50% of their time coaching?

Is Sales Management up to the task of providing effective coaching?

Has Sales Enablement provided everything needed so that your salespeople can go to market with the right strategy, execute and have the required conversations?

Is Sales Talent Management providing the sales talent you will need to grow revenue?

Does your Human Capital have the sales DNA and the skills required for success?

During January, I'll be writing more about these 6 keys to the ideal sales organization.

Tomorrow, I'll present my Top 10 Articles of 2013 so that you can vote on your favorite.  I'll publish the winning article before we break for the holiday.

Finally, Gazelles Growth Institute has added my Baseline Selling video broadcast to its lineup of top-notch, world-class speakers and on-demand courses.  It came out great and I'm really delighted with the work they did.  If you haven't been able to work with us directly and want an inexpensive taste of how the Baseline Selling sales process and methodology work, you should check out this and the other video courses at Gazelles Growth Institute.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to read my article, The Future of Selling, and enter your comments right here

Image credit: sellingpix / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, crm, move to inside sales, membrain, top sales magazine, sales predictions, 2014, technology in sales, connectleader, cisco, holographic meetings

Top 16 Problems with CRM

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 @ 05:10 AM

Yesterday, I wrote about solving the sales performance problem.  Today, I'll write about solving the CRM problem.  CRM is very problematic, not because there aren't choices, but more because companies make bad decisions.  Just a few of the problems with CRM are listed here:

        • Company has no CRM.
        • Company has archaic CRM.
        • Salespeople won't use the existing CRM.
        • CRM doesn't provide management with an accurate forecast.
        • Management doesn't hold salespeople accountable for using/maintaining CRM.
        • CRM requires too much information input.
        • CRM is too slow to respond.
        • CRM is focused on data and accounts rather than opportunities.
        • CRM is not consistent with sales process.
        • CRM is viewed as busy work rather than a tool.
        • CRM is too expensive.
        • CRM can't be accessed via mobile devices.
        • Company wants too much unnecessary information about opportunities.
        • CRM allows salespeople to place prospects in the wrong pipeline stage.
        • CRM is too difficult to customize.
OK, so that wasn't just a few, but you get the idea.  Yesterday, I spent 90 minutes on a conference call with a client (the president, IT guy and 2 sales leaders) and their CRM provider (salesperson, regional sales manager and technical specialist) as they attempted to customize the application, so that it would follow the sales process which I developed for them, and provide an accurate forecast.  That shouldn't be necessary.
Last week, I spent 90 minutes with another client (8 people from operations, sales, customer service and marketing) showing them how CRM could be the answer to their inaccurate forecasts and pipeline reports.  All had different ideas of how much the CRM application should be required to do versus how simple it could really be.
CRM doesn't have to be complicated, expensive, difficult to customize or slow.  It doesn't need to require much data, give salespeople too much leeway or provide inaccurate forecasts.  Simply put, CRM can be everything your company needs it to be and more.  You just have to make a few good decisions:
        • You must already have a customized, formal, structured and optimized sales process in place and, if you don't, have a sales consultant create that for you.
        • You must choose the right CRM application (fast, salesperson-friendly, opportunity-focused using your new or existing sales process; excellent pipeline and forecasting tools, easy to set up, customize and use, etc.) as opposed to choosing a CRM application simply because you recognize the name.
        • Salespeople must understand what's in it for them and why they should embrace it.
        • Hold salespeople accountable for providing real-time updates.
I've reviewed 15 CRM applications (Landslide, Sugar, Oracle, Sales Logix, Microsoft Dynamics, Membrain, Fortuit, FunnelSource, Podio, OppTuna, Pipedrive, PipelineDeals, Act, Goldmine and Zoho) which aren't named and because clients have had some of these applications installed, they've had to use many of them.  My feeling is that clients need to cut their losses and switch to a productive application, rather than sticking with a failed initiative, just because the money has been invested.  The Boston Red Sox dumped approximately $140 million in contracts this summer so that they could start from scratch in building a winning roster.  You should do the same thing with CRM!
Some things that CRM should be are:
        • An extension of the sales conversation, 
        • Salespeople should live inside the application rather than on email,
        • Salespeople should love it for the visual references which it provides,
        • Management should love it for the pipeline and forecast,
        • The best coaching tool on the planet,
        • Reports should be easy to coax from it and
        • Customizable without extra costs or fees.
So, you now have my 3 lists of bullets.  But what about the explanations and details?  What about examples?  For that I invite you to attend a 45-Minute Webinar on: 
How to Solve the CRM Problem
November 13
10 AM ET
Henrik Öquist, of Membrain, and
We will present the details, explanations and examples to help you implement CRM in a simple way where everyone - salespeople and management - get exactly what they need from CRM.  Please join us! CRM doesn't have to be complicated, difficult or undesirable; CRM can be the single most exciting tool in the sales organization.  You simply have to make the right decisions!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales management, Sales Coaching, Salesforce, Sales Force, crm, membrain

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,700 Articles

About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile


Receive new articles via email
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

Search the site


Audio Book
Top 30 on Kindle
Top 100 on Amazon

Most Recent Articles


Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Article/Post - Gold
 Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Assessment Tool - Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs


Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader

Other Great Sites

top sales world