As I talk to more and more sales leaders in companies ranging from traditional manufacturing to ultra-modern SaaS providers, details about the future of sales become increasingly focused. One common issue is becoming extremely prevalent: data cleanliness.
Having worked in, managed, and built CRMs for small companies and monolithic corporations alike, I will happily sit down with you for a CRM usage/data gripe session. Unfortunately, all our talk about how reps won’t do this or that and how we can’t make confident, data-driven decisions because the data is iffy is due to the fact sales leaders rarely explain their CRM’s value to the sales reps who fill it with data. If you can’t (or won’t) show people why using a tool/system benefits their daily workflow, then you shouldn’t have them use it. This is the root cause of poor adoption, incomplete data, inaccurate data, unfollowed protocols and workflows, and company-wide hatred of your CRM.
Since sales automation/enablement/acceleration is making a strong push into sales teams everywhere, it becomes worthwhile to consider the effect they have on the already negative CRM environment. Empowering reps with new tools to do things faster and in massively increased volumes can bring disaster upon your already tenuous rep-data-CRM relationship, if not done intelligently.
How can we fix the disconnect between reps who don’t see the importance of your CRM and arming them with tools which will help them be many times more productive but could destroy your CRM?
I’ve seen two companies fix this. Cloudera’s sales team, led by Lars Nilsson and John Carr, is changing the rep mindset. Their mantra: Salesforce needs to be “Fresh...and clean!” Reps benefit from collective efforts around Salesforce data, and those benefits are clearly communicated by Lars and John. LeanData is also doing a great job of bridging the gap between outbound efforts with known accounts and the flow of “homeless” inbound leads (SFDC doesn’t allow leads to be connected to existing accounts).
The thoughtfulness of these two companies around the importance of CRM leads me to suggest creating a one-page document, a Declaration of Salesforce Interdependence, if you will, for your salespeople to come to understand what truths you believe to be self-evident and sacred about how they benefit individually and corporately from your CRM.
Once signed, this document serves as a launching point for making CRM-related decisions, like what requirements sales acceleration tools need to have.
Start your Declaration of CRM Interdependence and develop the list of requirements your sales tools need to gain entrance into your own “Fresh...and clean” CRM world filled with hearts, rainbows, and unicorns.