In the State of Inbound report published by HubSpot, an overwhelming 45 percent of study participants cited either “manual data entry” in CRM systems or “lack of [CRM] integration with other tools” as the top two challenges for salespeople today.
The study supports the sentiment among salespeople, sales managers and VPs, and the C-suite:
- Salespeople don’t use the tools
- Manual data entry is cumbersome
- Ease of integration with other pricey technology is, well, not easy
In other words, CRM systems are a messy, arduous waste of time. But wait. Aren’t CRM systems designed to ease the path to a close? What’s going on?
These tools are detested because their value is simply not apparent. The clumsy, time consuming effort required to stay on top of the tasks detracts from valuable selling time. My clients are asking themselves these key questions about the investments they’ve made in CRM and marketing automation systems every day.
When an Excel spreadsheet tops global CRM brands, you know something’s wrong.
As an inbound marketing agency, we’re dedicated to providing Web-based content that resonates with searchers who are digging for answers to their queries. There must be a way the sales process can deploy the insights we uncover in lead generation and drop them in the laps of those responsible for revenue.
Let’s fix this, shall we?
Connect the sales process to learning mined from Website visitors
Website visitors, particularly those who engage with your products and services, tell a strong story. As a visitor travels from page to page, returns for more information, and downloads high value content from your site, there are powerful lessons you can learn about their more pressing issues.
Make sure you have mechanisms in place to track this journey. Examine engagement data (ebook downloads, webinar registration, blogs consumed) to uncover the story, and use the story when you build sales enablement tools for the team.
Observe prospect behavior on your Website and integrate insights into sales management processes
Website behavior and sales engagement are not two different stories; one just follows the other, like the next chapter in a good book. If the whitepaper most frequently downloaded is about the benefits of manufacturing in the U.S., then your first sales follow up should reinforce that interest. Don’t begin another book; continue to story the prospect wants to hear.
Value Selling doesn’t feel like selling, it feels like value
No one wants to be sold.
This may seem obvious to all of us when we are in the buyer’s seat. But, most sales processes are built upside down; sales scripts and materials are aimed at asking a buyer what he can do for the seller: buy my stuff, see my demo, register for my conference. Flip this, and both the sales team and the prospect are part of a joint endeavor with the prospect at the heart of the matter.
Here’s why this is a meaningful approach: The HubSpot study reveals insights about the oft-maligned salesperson that may come as a surprise. The first things look for when job hunting are opportunity for growth (27%), and work life balance (15%). Yes, compensation comes next at 14%, however, this reveals something we forget about the sales person: they’re human, and value feels more genuine and authentic than a sell job. A value sales process fuels optimism and energy in a sales force.
Build this process and connect it to your CRM and/or marketing automation systems
If your CRM or automation systems connect to the value selling model, your sales team will want to use them. They will not feel like a necessary evil, like laundry; but instead will operate as the next steps in creating value for the prospect and a meaningful engagement for the team.