Sales complaints against the new CRM solution

With SalesForce recently implemented as CRM solution in the organization, I have seen the two major teams complaining about the situation:

  • Business department (sales), argues that the solution itself is not useful, and that it does not cover all sales needs of the sales people.
  • IT organization, argues that the capabilities that exist in the solution are not being used, and hence, it does not make sense to continue evolving the tool if the tool is not being used.

…And then the game starts…

The bottom line is that SalesForce itself is a powerful solution that includes a lot of best practices that SalesForce team has been learning for years. This is the reason it has become a standard in so many organizations. The basis solution requires a good configuration and initial adaptation of the solution for a given organization. Doing this well, the basic solution should be enough for the organization to operate.

Thanks to Force.com, you can customize the tool and improve some of the functionalities and capabilities that the tool offers to the end user.

You can create specific dashboards, reports, background processes, etc. All this is “nice to have”, but in a bare bones organization (which is the case here), we have to discover first what the key priorities we have to attend are. If we do a list of desired capabilities, what are the “critical” ones and what are the “nice to have”?

First, we need the involvement of management teams in different aspects of the sales processes. What can business/management team and its individuals do? Too many things, some of them could be:

  • Use the CRM solution: ask for actions to the sales representatives, ask if they need their support on a key commercial action.
  • Determine that the CRM is the only source of trust in the sales process: all has to be there: reports, actions, planned visits, contacts information, relationship we have with them.
  • Use the reports: do they reflect what they need? Do these reports help them to fulfill their sales goals?
  • They have the tool and the data, they have to use them to turn this data into information that once that they in their minds, they will be able to think beyond.
  • Understand what, how and what the CRM solution does and understand what they really need.

Second, we need the role of Business Change Manager (BCM). This can be a full time person or a partial time person with this responsibility on top of his/her duties. The second option is the more frequent alternative.

When CRM is implemented, it is expected that the solution deliver some outcomes. These outcomes are translated to capabilities for the organization; we have to ensure that these capabilities are translated into real benefits for the organization.

During the implementation of the CRM solution, the project team starts to realize the benefits of the solution, but once the project is closed, the project team disappears and the role of BCM is key to continue realizing and measuring that the benefits are realized.

Staregic-context-benefits-managementI’m sure that the implemented CRM you have has so much capabilities that are not used by sales and that they should be used to improve the sales cycles. Again, sales leadership team is the organization with authority to change the situation.

Third, once the CRM solution is implemented, new needs appear, they are detected by users, and they have to be managed by the BMC. There will be so many needs, and we have to define the way to manage them: what are critical, nice to have…

Fourth, competitive intelligence (CI) team has to interact with the CRM tool. They analyze the market, define areas of improvement by regions, by division, etc. These analysis needs to be followed by actions from the sales teams. The interactions of sales and CI team is key to push the achievement of new customers and new opportunities.

This case has some specific actions that are related to the specific situation of the customer, but they can be moved to other organizations.

Rudnitsky sales playbook

Business insider reminds us these useful rules that appear in the book behind the cloud; these are the 11 sales rules from David Rudnitsky:

  1. “Think BIG, Have Attitude”: Think big (dollars and scope), not just the immediate opportunity in front of you. Behave as if your company is big, even if it’s not. Salesforce’s average customer had 12 users when Rudnitsky started out.
  2. “No deal is won or lost alone”: Bring in the entire team to work on new deals, and brainstorm about how to do a better job. “I’m less impressed with someone who closes a $2 million deal alone than I am with someone who brought all of us in and still closed the same $2 million deal”.
  3. “Connect the dots”: Never cold-call — always call with a plan. Constantly reach out to contacts and find connections before engaging with a prospect.
  4. “Focus on ‘why not'”: Instead of thinking about why a deal will close, focus on why it might not. “Anticipating the ‘why nots’ gives you a significant advantage over [competitors]”.
  5. “Always take the deal off the table”: Make sure every deal is closed if it’s ready to close. Don’t waste any time, leaving a chance for the deal stalling and potentially getting away.
  6. “Get your face in the place”: Meet your customers in person. You won’t be able to learn anything about them by just talking on the phone. It also strengthens the customers’ confidence in you.
  7. “Fun facts build instant credibility”: Try to learn everything about your customer and collect ‘fun facts’ that could be used to build your credibility.
  8. “Be proactive on all paperwork”: Make sure all paperwork is in place. Otherwise, it will “come back to bite you.”
  9. “Always get quid pro quo in negotiations”: Don’t be afraid to ask for more and say no when needed. For example, make sure you’re allowed to announce the deal in the press because it gives huge publicity that could lead to other opportunities.
  10. “Share best practices”: Share great emails or proposals with the rest of the team and try to learn from them. And use them in other deals too.
  11. “Go after game changers”: Look for deals that can take the company to the next level. “These deals are revolutionary in a company’s evolution. Winning huge customers, such as Dell and Japan Post, was game changing for our company”.

 

 

Provide discovery for free

IT consulting companies provide a wide portfolio of solutions where there are basically a discovery phase and an implementation phase. I’m referring to consulting areas, not to products that reproduce reports based on input information.

Some companies give it for free. The two main arguments are simple:

  1. If you understand in deep the problem your customer has, then you have a good % of the deal.
  2. In addition the customer knows its problem and s/he does not want to pay for something s/he already knows.

Nothing is free in this world; and you can say that a good salesman will sell this discovery phase for a good bunch of dollars simply because is able to convince the customer about the value of working with him.

Organizational charts

Every time a new organizational chart arrives to your e-mail, you take your time to read, understand the political moves, the roles identified on it and the evolution of the people within that organization. For me this is the main use of this communication tool, the rest is secondary.

Well, secondary? from the political savvy yes, but from other aspects it’s important. I started to work on an account without a clear organizational chart. The result?

  • Team leads have a vague idea about where their teams are working within the account.
  • Sales do not understand the team organization and when they want to build a solution they are proposing delivery models that do not fit with the reality.
  • HR is not able to understand the role of the people with respect the rest of the team.
  • Account manager knows the weaknesses of her team, but is unable to transmit these weaknesses with respect the whole thing.
  • Everyone builds their own idea of the organization, and they learn day by day new parts of the team, the learning curve is slow.
  • People which relevant skills do not know each other, the other day one guy told me: I’m looking for a freelance Tibco architect; why? there is one in our team based in UK!!
  • Only some people know the whole picture, and they are tired of explaining it.

Now that I am doing a Six Sigma training, the only thing I see is waste, so much waste of time on communication.

Hey guys, why you do not do a simple organizational chart?

El-Cid-Sevilla

(Estatua del Cid en Sevilla, tapizada con un colorido croché)

IT Portfolio manager, role and responsibilities

The role

  • Monitoring and reporting on the various accounts under the portfolio.
  • The primary focus is on the financial management (P & L Owner and Financial Forecasting) of these accounts and the delivery is done aligned successfully (projects, services and customer satisfaction).
  • Enable Growth of Applications business, cross & up sell offerings in existing and other offerings account.

Responsibilities

Finance,

  • P & L Owners of the Sector/Accounts.
  • Enable a clear and trusted financial forecasting of the delivery activities.
  • Define and implement improvement programs for increasing operating income.

Delivery

  • Delivery face-off for Industries.
  • Interlock with industries.
  • Offering & Delivery face –off for Offerings sales.

Growth

  • Enable Growth of Applications business identifying opportunities and potential deals.
  • Review and approve proposals ensuring the solutions proposed can be deliver and are really aligned with the customer expectations.
  • Support sales offerings with industry expertise, references and best practices.

Customer satisfaction

  • Own customer engagement from Applications perspective.
  • Be the escalation point for all delivery issues.
  • Bring in innovation and value to Customer engagement.

Where is the money?

During last years there is a clear change of trend about the IT expenditure. The reality is that big portion of IT expenditure is done outside of the IT departments. It is done in other departments (Sales & marketing, engineering, HHRR, finance, laboratory).

IT departments are mainly focused on the investments on major common platforms, basic services and OPEX reduction.

So, before to knock on the door of a customer, think about which one is the one you would like to knock on first. 🙂

Mobility cannot be sold as stand alone solution

Mobile applications for corporations is a complex business. The decisions are being taken into so much perspectives and the situation of each company also has a big influence on it.

The real question is not how to sell mobile solutions, the right question is how mobile solutions are purchased.

Connectivity and web access, some years ago there were a fever to offer all applications through the web browser; this makes that in some cases almost all key applications are accessible through a web browser. The second component is the connectivity. During the last years the security industry has improved a lot and the big corporations have opened channels of communication through the internet to enable connectivity in a secure way.

So many people request their vacations through a web browser from home only entering their user name and password; all from home. It can be your PC at home, your tablet, your smart phone and soon… your  watch? or maybe … your glasses?

Critical and Key applications, companies take their portfolio of applications and they classify them (for instance by critical, key or non key applications). Each category receives more or less attention from the strategy point of view and hence more or less funds to improve or decommission a tool. It is also important to understand that behind these tools there are processes, that also are classified in the same way. So well, you have to look into the critical processes for your customer, not the others.

I know, I know, you can find so much productivity points for HR or administrative processes, and they can be improved with a mobile solution, but due to their classification they will not be considered or funded.

Platforms, today the companies invest on platforms (SalesForce, Microsoft Office 365, SAP…..) all of them have by default a configurable mobile layer or a way to access to it through mobile. Here it could be a niche, for instance SAP by default do not implement mobile layer, and a huge amount of effort is required to enable it. Well here you have a chance!! The main issue you can have is that the partner that today is performing that area will be better positioned to implement the mobile layer due to the detailed knowledge of the environment.

The “mobile” value, this is something important to think about it. For a given application, you put it available through a mobile device. what is the increased value of having it there? how much productive is going to be the organization? the answer to these questions have to be strong, and the people working on these processes are the ones that really know the pain points. They all are users of smart phones and they ask themselves “I would desire to see this data from my phone”. Operators maintaining manufacturing plants, people looking at semaphores, people that travel and request something or need to approve/reject something.

There are other perspectives or considerations to be taken into account.

So, before to think how to offer mobility to your customer, look for the right pain point that your customer has. Not all are bad news, all these companies have some niches where they have a need and they really are willing to have mobility.

Challenger Sale Workshop

I have assisted during the last month to this workshop that was so much useful to learn about the purchase life-cycle and the way to focus the messages.

An useful place to look into documentation is here.

The main topic we have been working on is the elements to construct the sales message with respect the emotional level of the customer and the evolution of the deal.

Commercial Teaching pitch