Dealing with an ineffective Sales Force Automation module in the CRM?
Over the years, it’s been observed that companies (using SFA modules in CRM systems) complain of an unsuccessful experience. And one of the most severe impacts of this experience is failed sales processes.
With failed sales processes, businesses suffer in a number of ways:
•Duplication of sales effort
•Low productivity gains.
One of the proposed reasons behind broken SFA modules in CRMs are because companies have a generic perspective about CRM. So while buying, they categorize all the CRMs together – failing to understand their USPs. In addition to this, they do not focus on the vendor selection.
Little do the companies realize that an average CRM software if not well supported by the vendor, eventually becomes of no use. The CRM simply lies as a liability, clogging up the business process.
As a result, when companies implement the cloud CRM solution, it fails to function efficiently as sales force automation software. It does not deliver upon its projected return on investment (ROI).
However, surprisingly, this problem accounts for just 22% of the cases.
Denise Holland (CRM expert & implementation consultant) explains –
‘’If you bought CRM software that has a below par SFA module or simply is not well supported by the vendor, you can perform another CRM search and replace it. Problem solved. But only in the rarest of the rare cases, web CRM software or the vendor lies at fault.’’
Most of the time, CRMs do not perform as fully-functional sales force automation software, because the planning and execution processes (by the company) are not up to the mark.
How do we say this?
In close to 88% of cases, sales force automation modules within the CRM break at the goals analysis stage itself.
Why does it happen? Let’s find out –
Too often, CRM buyers focus on the pointers cited by the vendor, instead of their own real requirements. Let’s say you meet a small business CRM vendor who gives you the demo of the software and emphasizes upon its main USP:
‘’Our small business CRM functions as an excellent SFA software. Using it, Call duration will be down by 20%’’
Great productivity gain! Worth a buy isn’t it?
The ones who said no – Correct Answer
The ones who said yes – Read below
While the above-mentioned USP of the CRM is remarkable – the MAIN pointers are:
•Does this USP complement your business process?
•How will your business benefit by reducing your sales calls duration?
•Will you be able to measure the financial benefit out of this call duration reduction?
Precisely, these questions should’ve come to your mind before saying the Yes. Remember, by doing this exercise, you might just realize that reduced call duration was never a priority for you. So what’s the use of investing in a small business CRM that gives you this benefit? No doubt the CRM can be good but it doesn’t suits your business wavelength.
So ideally what should a company do?
To ensure that you gain the optimum return from your CRM investment, list out the objectives that you want:
1. How do you want the CRM to impact your sales process?
It can be in the form of:
•Decreased call duration
•Automation of laborious sales activities
•Increased up-sell or cross-sell opportunities.
2. Find out ways how you can quantify your requirements
For instance, if you prioritize up-sell or cross-sell opportunities – make sure the web CRM (you choose) provides you a way to measure the percentage of increased cross-sell or up-sell opportunities.
Correspondingly, if you prioritize “accurate sales forecast” as your requirement, make sure you know how the CRM will enable you measure that.
3. Give a specific number
I want the sales force automation module to decrease the call duration is a vague statement. The CRM vendor can always fool you with a CRM application that only decreases the call duration by 5 percent. Do you really want that sort of solution? Definitely No.
So add numerical to your requirements. Give a range of percentage. Let’s say
I want the sales force automation software to decrease the sales call duration by 20 to 40 percent.
4. Make the CRM vendor go through your list of requirements
Have a mutual discussion on the possibilities and to what extent can the CRM deliver. Ensure that both you and the vendor are on the same page. Accordingly, move forward with the software implementation.
Review your CRM software. Reexamine the sales force automation module to understand how effectively it’s working for your sales process.
If found broken, understand the reason behind it. In no way do we claim that every failed SFA module within the CRM is due to poor goals analysis, but considering that it’s the largest reason reported, it’s worth taking the effort. All you need to do is redefine your requirements, check whether the present CRM is compatible with it and if not then look around for an alternative.
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @convergehub