We all know technological advances and how we view our business is changing at a rapid rate from day to day. Just when you think you have the most up to date customer relationship management (CRM) system or finally figured out how to measure what a successful search engine optimization (SEO) campaign looks like, Google changes the way they measure things or Facebook goes from a star rating system to one of “recommendations.” Your sales team has fire in their eyes as you tell them you’re considering upgrading the current platform to another, entirely new one to give you a better look at KPIs.
As I sit here writing this today, two boxes show up in my office introducing me to a new product from Google that sticks to the wall claiming to provide better insight to my sales and better data from my customers. Do I investigate this, sticking it in all of my entranceways seeking better data and more five star reviews, or not? We are faced with these decisions each and every day; each of them could either take bandwidth away from our teams selling and closing business or help us better analyze our processes and increase our selling proficiencies.
Selling is the Exchange of Goods or Services for Cash
You can continue to spend money on the latest and greatest, but you need to strike a balance between technology and the systems currently in place. In a service-based industry such as ours, it’s more about the personal connections one human being makes with another.
If the newer technology can strengthen relationships or make connecting with others easier, then it is worth considering. If not, don’t waste your time; you won’t recoup potential dollars from wasted hours and distractions.
When considering a new CRM, ask yourself some of the following questions: If you spent the same amount of money the transition would cost, could you better train and develop your staff? How many key indicators are truly needed and, if more time was spent verifying the data, could you make it work? Will this change distract and/or demotivate your team, creating the exact opposite of the desired effect? There are times change makes sense, but is changing worth the risk of later realizing your shiny new toy might as well be a rotary phone?
It’s a Numbers Game
If we make more phone calls we will get more visits. If we get more visits we will get more deposits. If we get more deposits we will make more sales. Now rinse and repeat (and rinse and repeat). The basics of selling today are the same in principle as they were in the past. Learn your customers’ needs and figure out how your product or service can meet them.
Simply taking more actions will not necessarily net results or more sales. New technology can give you better cross sections of your business in real time, but how you use that data to manage your team after you get it is critical. If you tell your team to increase their closing percentages without providing them with a roadmap on how to do so and expect greater success, you will probably be disappointed. (You may even find yourself looking for a new salesperson in this strong economy; they probably have another job option).
You need to set clear goals, making sure the teams understand how the new data is collected and measured, that their main goal is closing business and how these subsets will give them areas to focus on to be more proficient. These metrics in the hands of a strong manager can make the difference between meeting your quotas and falling short. In the hands of the wrong manager, they can set you back further than before you ever saw the new information.
The developments in technology and getting detailed data quickly are only going to speed up with time.
All we can do is adjust how we respond to this external stimulus and make decisions giving us the best return on our investments, as we use the power of person-to-person connection. Some closing advice: before you convince your CFO to write that check, make certain the technology you’re buying can solve your problem or it could create a bigger one that technology cannot fix.