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? Catch up with this video:




Many companies currently focus on big data. Unfortunately, small data are all too often forgotten, as if this problem has been solved now. In B2B, however, we are confronted every day with incomplete databases, outdated information and customer data stored in individual salespeople’s smartphones or in all kinds of Excel lists. New contacts’ business cards, LinkedIn updates, website visits and email traffic are not converted into a unique database.

CRM should be this unique database compiled by manual and automated data collection. Unfortunately, the potential is usually not fully realised in reality. The problem is often intrinsic to the implementation:

  • The screens and workflows are not adapted to the different roles and use situations
  • Low adoption rate among users due to a lack of added value for each individual user or user role
  • When the CRM system is selected, insufficient consideration is given to the rapidly changing needs and environment

We know what this results in. The forecast requires quite a lot of manual work in every analysis. The sellers perform a single major update just before each deadline and do not keep track of their work on a daily basis. Time and again, Marketing has to request that the sellers manually check the lists before an action can be started correctly. Sales leads are insufficiently qualified and are badly monitored or not at all.

Less data means more data

By using CRM correctly, a whole new world can be opened up for improved collaboration between departments and higher impact on the market. The following elements have most impact on the data quality:

  • Make the screens less complex and make the fields consistent with the logic behind them. Also take into account the different situations in which the screen will be used
  • Remove fields that are hardly ever used
  • Remove workflows which act like a straitjacket because they are not adapted to real situations
  • Provide sellers and middle management with individual dashboards which reflect daily and weekly use
  • Always use CRM live screens in case of interactions with sellers, e.g. during opportunity, pipeline or activity meetings

This is sufficient in itself to provide more up-to-date information and reduce frustration because sellers do not need to complete countless separate PowerPoint or Excel lists anymore.

If you immediately take this on board, you will achieve significant results within one month.