Do we modify the CRM because we can? CRM Misstep – more data, no strategy.
The big data revolution is accelerated by advances in technology and a focus on “data driven decision making”. Today, sales data is prolific – and the ability to leverage it is massive. Yet, in their haste to do so, too many sales ops leaders and their marketing counterparts are simply equating “better data” with “more data.” And now, since most CRM systems are easy to modify, we translate that thinking into incredibly elaborate customizations into several dozens of fields. This leads to a big CRM misstep – more data, no strategy.
Incorporating data strategy
There was a time not long ago, when sales ops positions were viewed by executive leadership teams as a needed expense to keep the trains running on time. Today, sales ops professionals are gaining more organizational support to think in terms of the strategic impact they can have on marketing, finance, and corporate strategy. They are seen as having a more integral role in the C-suite. More often than not, today’s sales ops leaders having a sharper quant focus. With this newly refined profile of sales ops leaders, a focus on better sales data has taken center stage. However, sales ops leaders must continue to deepen their understanding of data strategy in order to avoid common mistakes.
Close deals, or enter data all day?
Custom CRM systems with multiple fields create a conundrum for sales reps. That is, because the fields exist, are they required to enter this data? A productive sales rep will ask, “What do you want me to do, close deals or enter data all day?”
Whether the question is fair or not is irrelevant. Of course we want reps to close business AND comply with company CRM standards. But before we just brush off the combative rep, perhaps its worth examining our CRM expectations.
CRM requirements for reps
Sales ops leaders must closely monitor CRM usage stats. PILYTIX finds that on average, an inverse relationship between the number of additional custom fields and the level of rep CRM usage. Hidden deals, surprise short term closes, and clear “sandbagging” indications tend to be highest at the organizations that have asked reps to enter the most fields of data.
Developing data policies
Our clients benefit from specific recommendations for CRM adaptation or replacement. Nevertheless, we encourage all senior sales ops leaders to consider the following when considering their data policies.
- Take the time to educate sales reps how they will directly benefit from complying with your CRM standards. Hint: if you can’t convince sales reps of what’s in it for them, you will never solve your data collection problems.
- Focus on those fields that directly speak to the most important priorities of stakeholders throughout the organization.
- Recognize that while sales reps are tremendous sources of market intel, they are not professional market researchers. What information is better collected via full time professional market researchers?
- In the world of 21st Century B2B solutions sales, no one has ever purchased anything because they received a birthday card. Your reps prove the value in the offering that they are selling or they don’t. Personal information on prospects can be the first fields to go.