Implementing a (new) CRM system is strategically important for driving sales productivity. Perpetos CEO Pascal Persyn recently shared his experiences about this at the Microsoft Sales Productivity Master Class. He has three tips for using CRM to drive sales productivity: do it in a sales and people centric way, choose correct data over more data, and make it easy to use.

Tip 1: Implement your CRM in a sales and people centric way

First and foremost, think about who is going to use your CRM, when, and why. Design it for the people who use it every day. Keep your various teams’ differing goals in mind. And focus on core objectives to avoid complexity during implementation. We see too many cases where the taskforce gets carried away by the CRM’s endless possibilities, but not enough time is spent reflecting on its usability on a day-to-day basis. This means the system gets way too complex and people become less motivated to enter data usefully.

With everyone using CRM to organise their activities and gain more insights into customers and opportunities, you will:

  • have better internal collaboration
  • reduce overheads
  • cut administration
  • have more accurate forecasts with documentation
  • ultimately win more deals

Tip 2: Correct data is more important than more data

Almost all the CRM systems we see have too many required fields. Screens aren’t adapted to the use case and endless workflows tend to restrict users. So people fill in random information instead of using the data entry as a means to reflect on their real activities.

And last but not least, CRM should be a reflection of what is actually going on in the real world; not just what management wants to hear, nor an interpretation of what sales thinks. Give your sales people the opportunity to enter exactly the information they need, right when they need it. Sales will then be motivated to update the system, because it will help them be more successful.

Tip 3: Make your CRM easy to use

Start by mapping the different use case scenarios – what information is needed for which sales situation. You will overcome the biggest hurdles in any CRM implementation if you design screens, workflows and dashboards for these use cases. Important examples of these use cases are: entering a new prospective customer, preparing for a meeting, updating and strategising after a meeting, or preparing for a 1-to-1 with a sales manager.

Data capture for non-sales teams should be designed in terms of buyer readiness. For example: don’t ask sales to select products and configurations at the start of a buying cycle, because this hasn’t been discussed with the customer yet; the customer can still change their mind, and it forces sales to think in terms of product sales rather than facilitating the buying decision. CRM can also be instrumental for embedding knowledge, sharing experiences, coaching sales, and adopting a sales methodology.

Regret missing the Microsoft Sales Productivity Master Class? Check out the video


Are you thinking about implementing a new sales process, but you cannot separate the wheat from the chaff? There are theories that may sound nice but do not work in practice and thinking in terms of complex, modern or simple does not always guarantee quality. A sales process is difficult to impose, it needs proper implementation.

Questions you must ask yourself for every sales model

The following weeks I will guide you through several known processes and I will discuss a few criteria you should take into account. For a start: the sales model that has almost become a classic.

This is not about the customer

It is clear that this is a linear process. Your salespeople will immediately see that this sales process representation is old-fashioned and simplistic and does not reflect reality. Your sales team offers resistance and rightly so, because this process does not enable them to properly assess, follow-up or report the customer’s situation. A good salesperson will do what they have to do and will enter a status based on individual interpretation. Mostly, CRM is somewhat outdated because the salesperson does not benefit from it.

It is a rigid model with little room for variation. Moreover, it forces the salesperson to report from his/her own activities. As a result, the management cannot properly evaluate the customer’s situation and it is impossible to provide coaching to guide the salesperson accordingly.

Meaningless

The process starts from your own activities and therefore does not depend on the market or the product complexity, which seems really interesting. However, it is so meaningless that it hardly improves the functioning of your company in the end. It is true that this linear step-by-step plan is simple and easy to remember, but due to this oversimplification the process is not applicable in reality.

Too little information is available, so that additional fields in CRM will probably be created so as to compensate this inadequacy. If you work with this model, you have to work with visit reports. Such reports are very time-consuming and do not allow structured reporting.

Not recommended

We can only advise you against working with this model. It increases the administrative burden, is impossible to maintain in reality and will jeopardise good collaboration between your different departments. Your salespeople will be frustrated and will not meet their quota.


Your sales and marketing activities need to help you increase the impact on your customers and on the market. But how to organise this? Seven major tips are given below:

1. Use buyer personas

In B2B, salespeople need to use buyer personas to develop a perfect understanding of the daily life of their contacts: what are their responsibilities and challenges, what are they looking for, is something happening in the branch of industry in which they are active? This information enables any seller to assess perfectly his ability to increase the impact on his customers.

2. No transparent sales techniques

You can train your salespeople all you want, but in the end, people buy from people. You should therefore refrain from any imposed techniques during a sales meeting, as this will cause you to lose your impact on the customer. He notices when you try to pull tricks and is no longer fooled by them.

You need to have a positive intention to really help the customer. Do not think of targets or products you would like to sell, but step into your customer’s shoes, assist him and facilitate the purchasing process. Your mindset and corporate culture play an important role in this.

3. Support your sales in customer facing

We frequently talk about creating marketing materials, but this does not suffice anymore. Customer-facing support – sales enablement – is at least equally important nowadays. Marketing needs to ensure that salespeople have sufficient information and means at their disposal to assist the customers, to approach them in the right manner and to start an interesting conversation.

Detailed buyer personas, briefings on the segment in which the customer is active, battle cards, demo scripts, ROI calculators and so forth. All aids which enable salespeople to perform better. If the sales staff see that the marketing department makes efforts to optimise the sales process together with them, they will actually use the supplied documents and tools.

4. Compete by demonstrating the impact on the customer

Building confidence and engaging in conversations that are useful to the client are the key to success in the age of the customer. Focus your message on the impact the customer will experience by working with you. Avoid the pitfall of making comparisons with competitors and/or discussing the advantages of your products versus competitive products.

5. Provide content in a smart manner

Some companies are overwhelmed by the quantity of marketing materials they need to create for different market segments and the different stages in the purchasing process (buyer’s journey). The entire company indeed has to make an effort to create an atmosphere in which all staff make a contribution to the development of content tools. Fortunately there are ways to reduce the required amount of content.

Within this scope, it is important to take into account the maturity of your product on the market. In case of very mature and well-known products or services, it is sufficient to develop attention grabbers and tools for the end of the purchasing cycle as the customer will not have any contact with salespeople at the start of his journey anyway. In addition, you can engage a third party to provide relevant content. Relevant to your target audience with a link to your business, but not directly from your business.

6. Establish a lead qualification process

If we look what happens with the different leads supplied to companies, it is possible to say that the sales department does not follow up on those leads from a general marketing perspective. However, from a sales department perspective, you can say that those leads were of insufficiently high quality. So you have to establish a lead qualification process that is used and understood by all. Marketing needs to apply efficient lead nurturing techniques to ensure that all leads receive enough relevant information so that they are ready when they are approached by the sales department.

This is the only way to feed sales and to keep sales costs under control. A good example of reinforcing the bond with the salesperson without their involvement is the development of nurturing tracks which automatically send relevant information to the customer from the e-mail address of the seller in question.

7. High-quality and clear data

Do yourself a favour and take care that your CRM system does not contain too many fields and data, but ensure that your salespeople can actually get something out of it. Make sure that all information about all stages of the entire buyer’s journey is available. Develop your CRM system in such a manner that it really helps your salespeople.