Sales reps are a bit like circus jugglers. Not that they have a funny hat, but they constantly have to keep multiple balls (clients) in the air. Dropping a ball (forgetting an essential detail) is never good. Luckily, sales reps have an unfair advantage over jugglers – modern, digital tools like Salesforce and Pipedrive that allow offloading your limited memory capacity so that you never miss an opportunity.
However, tools are just a means to an end. It’s the content – data – that ultimately matters. And far too often that data really sucks.
Here’s our top 5 reasons that keep your CRM from reaching its full potential.
Reason #1: Your sales data is missing
No data is the worst data. If you talk with clients but neglect to log your conversations, leads and opportunities in your CRM, there’s no way tools like Salesforce make you more successful. Face it, you’re practically living in the stone ages and your competition is outsmarting you.
Many sales pros rely on their trusty sales Excel sheet, always available, stored safely on their personal laptop. Guess what happens to that file when the PC goes missing?
Reason #2: Your sales data is too slow
Wow, that was a great meeting, I’ll update the CRM when I get back to the office – or tomorrow the latest. OK, an hour or two might not mean the end of the world, but postponing CRM data entry is a key culprit for #1 above. So, do the deed right after your meeting. Use tools that make this easy.
If you are working as part of a sales team, the speed of data becomes even more critical. There’s someone who wants to know what happened. There’s someone else who is waiting to take the ball and play it further. Don’t make them wait.
Reason #3: Your sales data is not actionable
So, maybe you have done the minimum viable effort and logged the basic client data in the CRM. All fine, all good, off to holidays. When you get back, do you actually remember how you were supposed to follow up on the meeting?
When you punch in data, remember to add notes and actionable tasks right away. Especially if someone else in your team is supposed to do something. All it takes is a minute or two.
Reason #4: Your sales data is inaccurate
This is a no-brainer. Data once perfect outdates and corrupts over time. Customers’ contact details change. B2B clients switch companies. Contacts get promoted or take on a different position in the company. And so on.
Have a process for keeping your data fresh and up to date. Poll your clients regularly (which might be a good idea anyways, if you are in the sales business). And do not be shy to purge data that is no longer relevant.
Reason #5: You do not look at the big picture
This is not as much about data itself, but how you look at it. You can miss the bigger game if focus too much on a single play. This is especially true if you are running a sales team or working with limited resources (like most of us are).
Zoom out regularly to take a helicopter view to your sales pipeline: what are the biggest or most time-sensitive opportunities? Which ones need an extra push to keep up momentum? Where should we focus our resources?
BONUS: Your sales data is a well-kept secret
OK, so your data is tip-top. But how do you share and communicate it within your company? Take marketing, for example. They’re there to make you new leads and keep old ones hungry for more. Exit your silo and pronounce sales and marketing a happy couple with joint goals, matching processes and an unobstructed flow of data.
To sum up, high-quality sales data is not rocket science. It takes just a bit of effort. And, unlike the juggler, you can take advantage of various tools designed to minimize that effort.