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 Salesforce.com because it's the only platform that will do everything an enterprise-size company needs.
For everyone else, there are lots of choices, and Salesforce.com 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 Salesforce.com, but overwhelmed with the work required to roll out an instance of salesforce.com 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!