Stop The Salesforce Madness
We get it. You finally hired that Salesforce guru who tricked out your Salesforce deployment.
She customized, hybridized and electrified your CRM with every aspect of your sales process. You’ve got an application object for every phase of your sales cycle with field validation and triggers and workflow….all that feeds into your precious dashboard that looks like a science fiction cockpit full of dials, measurements, alerts, flashing lights and graphs.
Like us, you spent days in a conference room whiteboarding and mapping out every step of your sales process with your team. You vetted every step and debated whether or not it was necessary to build it into your Salesforce.
We’ve seen it.
We’ve DONE it too!
………………….but why isn’t it working?
What we’ve found is that while your highly architected system is exactly what you wanted in Salesforce.com – you forgot to consider the behaviour of the sales reps.
Your “NASA architected” processes are correct…..and precise…..and accurate – but they undermine the behaviour of your sales reps. Instead of empowering your sales reps to sell, your sophisticated CRM system has broken their spirit.
It is time to stop the madness.
Remember that you hired sales reps to sell….not to be data entry monkeys.
Your high performing sales reps who really want to sell end up working OUTSIDE of the system. Sure, they still use Salesforce.com to manage the core contact information of their prospects, but they are not getting any VALUE from the sophisticated CRM that you handcrafted. Instead of using the CRM and your process as a valuable tool – we find that the sales reps tend to just enter the minimum required data to move to the next stage. Field validation and triggers become obstacles to overcome instead of adding value to the sale process.
Don’t focus so much on data and field validation – focus on CUSTOMER VALIDATION.
Stay focused on the bigger picture of Sales Rep Productivity and Accurate Sales Forecasting – not field validation.
Again, we’ve seen this before (and we’ve done it ourselves in the past) and what sales reps end up doing is focusing on the wrong things in the CRM. Sure, they fill out the data – but they are just checking a box. They want to move the deal forward and are likely working outside the CRM to make this happen. Wouldn’t you rather know what they are REALLY working on versus tracking every keystroke in your CRM?
The bigger picture is Rep Productivity – which is measured in CLOSED DEALS and PIPELINE GROWTH. We’d argue strongly that “pipeline velocity” is equally important and a leading indicator of what deals are going to close.
We know, we know…..you are thinking to yourself while you read this post that “this isn’t the case with our company. My reps follow our processes. They check all of the boxes.” We’ve heard the denial from companies of all sizes and all types.
Sure, you want to measure the activities of your reps – but make sure you are measuring the right activities……the SELLING activities and not the “data activities.” The right sales process is a value add tool that guides and coaches your reps to success – and doesn’t demotivate them. The right sales process is a north star that provides a map for every deal and opportunity. It should be able to course-correct your reps when they are not sure where a particularly opportunity sits at the moment. It should be a compass that helps your reps find a path when navigating the selling process.
Here is a “tell” about whether or not your sales reps are bypassing or ignoring your sophisticated CRM deployment:
If your quarter is filled with upside surprises (deals that “suddenly” close) then there is a good chance that your reps are bypassing your system.
These upside surprises are often the result of reps that leave most of their opportunities in Stage 1 (even if the deal is further along) and then simply Close Won the deal once the opportunity is sold. The reps don’t want to do the required work to “check the boxes” and “fill in the data” for each of the 27 stages that you so carefully architected for them. Instead, they ignore all of the middle stages and move the opportunity from Stage 1 to Closed Won……..because they KNOW that NO ONE IS GOING TO QUESTION THE PROCESS OF HOW THE DEAL ARRIVED AT CLOSED WON BECAUSE EVERYONE IS SO HAPPY THAT THE DEAL IS CLOSED – ESPECIALLY IF IT IS AT THE END OF THE QUARTER.
Instead of investigating the Upside Surprise – Managers just “thank the Maker” that a surprise deal was closed.
So let’s stop the madness and let go of the “Starship Enterprise Version of Your Sales Process” and vow to measure and track the OUTCOMES and the NEXT STEPS of deal activity instead of the minutia. Stay focused on the bigger picture that empower your reps and doesn’t hinder their sales activities.