YPS has a client south-O-the-border that provides a never-ending stream of insights along with new perspectives on proven best practices. Just last week, I watched an exchange between their sales leader and one of the top reps that hit me (and the rest of the group) right between the eyes. It played out during a meeting of their Sales Excellence Council.
A bit of background… This “SEC” team has been in place for a year and includes top-performing sales pros, the sales director, the marketing guy and the CEO. Obviously, they’re quite serious about defining their sales process and sales best practices and using them to relentlessly drive continuous improvement! They’re getting ready to roll out a major initiative, part of which is implementation of a comprehensive CRM system. Antonio is going through a practice run of the presentation he’ll be giving to the other 60 or so sales reps. Jose, the sales leader, stops him dead in his tracks. He figures some coaching is needed.
Espera! Mui Importante! “Si no esta en CRM no existe!”
In other words, “Wait! Very important! If it’s not in the CRM, it doesn’t exist.” Cue the big grin from Antonio as he advances to his very next slide. Nothing on it but the words, “Si no esta en CRM no existe!” That is, the rep who doesn’t use the CRM, gets no help from anybody – ever.
This company is in the pigments business, which is a whole lot more complex than you might expect. The color in the cloth, paint, ink, cement, beer bottle, whatever… needs to be extremely precise and consistent. There’s a boatload of heavy-duty chemistry and manufacturing quality control needed to meet customer specifications. That means very expensive sample development and testing needs to be part of their sales process. What good is landing a big order if the customer rejects the 10,000 kilogram shipment because the red is not quite right?
Recognizing this, the Sales Excellence Council included a requirement to complete the checklists needed by the chemists and production folks into the mainstream of their sales process. They also included a requirement for documentation of current customer costs – to lock in a basis for calculating a quantified value proposition; and a requirement to complete an “Opportunity Assessment” that produces a numerical score for the customer’s likelihood to buy, their own company’s ability to successfully produce and a competitive risk assessment.
In other words, they created a sales process that:
- Dramatically reduces the risk of a screw-up
- Reduces the cost of sales
- Ensures detailed customer involvement in crafting the value proposition
(Think about that 3rd point for a few minutes. The customer is the primary author of the sales rep’s value proposition!)
Back to the main point of the story… The only way to make sure all the checklists, etc. are properly completed, and the customer has already bought into the project’s value is to have all the information stored in one place and accessible to all interested parties. Thus the phrase, “Si no esta en CRM no existe!”
These guys are doing their CRM implementation right. The CRM is not some no-value administrative task-master, or method for micro-management of the rep. It’s a powerful tool for the sales pro. It saves time. It increases quality. It reduces risk. It draws the customer decision-makers and influencers deep into the sales process.
Si no esta en CRM no existe!
Think About it…