CRM & Sales: Redefining Hustle

CRM & Sales: Redefining Hustle
by Erin Quigg – June 2015

Redefining “Hustle”

How do you measure a salesperson’s hustle? From an activity-based and CRM standpoint, is it the number of tracked phone calls, emails, and appointments in a week? What about LinkedIn InMail, Social Media, and text messaging? With the amount of different communication methods available now, does it matter what communication medium salespeople use as long as they are moving prospects through the pipeline and closing sales?

This past season we redesigned our Ticket Sales’ hustle metric by shifting the focus from activity-based performance to pipeline management. Our main objective was to let the reps sell the way that works best for them and their customers. To accomplish this objective, we wanted the reps to focus on advancing quality leads closer towards a sale, rather than hitting certain activity based quotas. Additionally, we wanted our reps to view and utilize CRM as a sales management tool and less like a simple correspondence tracking system.

Going from Quantity to Quality

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”395px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]“Our new effectiveness metric has been transformational in refocusing sales reps on engaging high-quality customers and building out their pipeline rather than achieving phone call and other activity-based benchmarks.” – Jay Riola, Assistant Director of Business Strategy, Orlando Magic [/dropshadowbox]

Old Metrics:

  • Phone Calls
  • Completed Appointments
  • Referrals
  • Talk-time
  • Hand-written notes
    [dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”395px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]There is a “direct correlation between effective pipeline management and strong revenue growth.” – Harvard Business Review, Companies with a Formal Sales Process Generate More Revenue[/dropshadowbox]

New Metrics:

  • Completed Appointments
  • Pipeline Growth through Personal Prospecting
  • Pipeline Advancement

How does it work?

  • Score – Each metric is weighted with a certain value. For example, a completed appointment is 25 points, a personally prospected sales opportunity is 2 extra points, and each positive movement through the pipeline is weighted by stage and product.
  • Competition – Weekly, the reps compete against one another to get the highest score. The reps are then ranked, top half are winners and bottom half are losers. Over a certain period of time, the reps keep a win-loss record and prizes are given for the top performers.

Conclusion

It’s been four months since we redesigned the hustle metric and already our sales reps are better at utilizing our CRM as a sales tool. They have even started asking for more data on how to streamline their sales efforts. The Ticket Sales management team has done a great job in assisting the sales team with pipeline management by leveraging our pipeline and appointment reports. Having leadership adopt and support this new philosophy has helped the implementation and success of the program measurements as a whole.

In the end, activities are still important because those interactions are how prospects are engaged, qualified, and moved through the sales funnel; but instead of being measured on how many calls a rep can make in a week, we measure our reps on how efficient they are in closing a sale and generating revenue, which is their main responsibility at the end of the day.

Is it time to update your CRM system?

Is it time to update your CRM system?
by Chase Kanaly – May 2015

How Do You Know it’s Time?

Answering these five questions can help you know if it’s time to update your CRM system.

  1. Are we fully utilizing our current CRM system?
  2. Have we researched new systems?
  3. Do we have the budget?
  4. Is the new system easy to train?
  5. Can we upgrade the system and minimize interruptions in sales?

Preparation

After conducting research and testing software trials, your team has finally come to the conclusion to upgrade your CRM software. From a technology and marketing standpoint, the decision is clear you are taking the correct step forward. Now comes the most important task: making the switch. The departments that relied so heavily upon the outdated software are now going to be thrust into this new system with no training and no concept of what changes are in order. Unless you do something first.

A few months ago, we faced this exact situation as we transitioned from Microsoft CRM Dynamics 2011 to Microsoft CRM Dynamics 2013. We researched, read relevant blogs[ref]Here’s a good one outlining changes from MS Dynamics CRM 2011 to 2013[/ref], and worked together in our Business Strategy and Analytics Team to sell the sales and sponsorship departments on the new system. Note: Department heads look for key words and evidence of  “sales efficiency” and “improved data quality” when hearing the pitch to switch to an upgraded CRM system.

Deployment

Our CRM developer guided us through the process on the IT and deployment side. Based on our experience, these five tips can help make the transition as smooth as possible:

  1. Focus on preparing, anticipating, and responding to questions from the other departments.
  2. Select CRM power users from each department or area to help champion the new CRM system.
  3. Meet with each power user one-on-one to let them beta test the new system and navigate through the changes.
  4. Schedule times during individual weekly department meetings to present and train on the updated system features.
  5. Focus on gaining the trust and cooperation of all departments by searching for more opportunities and ideas to increase efficiency & effectiveness in each department.

Upgrading

After you complete the steps above, it’s time to upgrade the system. It is imperative to find a weekend in which you can shut down your team’s use of CRM in order for the upgrade to be successful.  We were fortunate enough to upgrade during a three day weekend. This gave us plenty of time to test and ensure the system would be ready for all users prior to launching Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Before any representatives access the new system, the system administrator should test out the new system.During the next several weeks, it is vital that the system administrator provide follow up training and consistent on-the-floor support.

Keys to Your Upgrade

  1. Make a plan – Set up a timeline that announces and clearly identifies the necessary steps needed for the upgrade. Consider all parties affected: the end users, your team’s IT department, and your CRM developer.
  2. Identify specific users from the various departments that will champion the new system. (Power Users)
  3. Create transparency with all parties affected by the upgraded CRM system.
  4. Develop a training manual that explains how to properly use the CRM system.
  5. Keep training short and simple.
  6. Follow up with individuals meetings with all end users when necessary.

If you have other helpful tips on how you have managed CRM system changes and upgrades, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below or contact me directly.

Making CRM training tolerable: The 10 Commandments

Making CRM training tolerable: The 10 Commandments
by Chris Zeppenfeld – May 2015

One of my favorite sales reps said this to me coming out of a CRM training session a few years ago.  I think it’s the best analogy I’ve ever heard about CRM training.

“Going to CRM training is like going to the dentist….no one really looks forward to going, but when you are done, you’re usually glad you went.”

Let’s face it, CRM training isn’t sexy.   Click here, do that, fill this fill field in, make sure you do that first, blah blah blah.   However, user training (and user adoption) is the most critical element of CRM implementation.  Here are 10 axioms to follow as you set up your user training for CRM.

1. Thou shalt not have 5 hour marathon training sessions.
I’ve probably conducted somewhere between 2,000-3,000 software trainings in my life.   If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t possibly hold a sales rep’s attention for longer than 45-60 minutes.  Maybe less.  An Indiana University study says that the average attention span of students is actually around 15-20 minutes.  Yikes! Make this a hardline rule right now:  Training sessions cannot be longer than 60 minutes.  The moment you hit 60 minutes…close up and stop training. Trust me, they’ve already stopped listening.

2. Thou shalt not cram all of the CRM training into 1-2 days.
We have a “CRM Boot Camp” that stretches across 10 (yes, 10!) days.    Why so long?  Repetition!   Repetition is the key in software user training.  I’d much rather have 10 shorter training sessions over a span of two weeks than to try to cram 2 marathon training sessions over a day or two. I purposely want my reps to go through the training, then go do something else not CRM related (aka forget about things)….and then come back the next day and see what they recall.   Remember, your reps need to know how to use CRM properly every day…not just this one time.   You’ll get much better rep recall when they run repetitive “sprint” sessions rather than “marathons.”

3. Thou shall not have “all staff” training sessions.
This one is brutal.  I cringe when I hear a VP/President instruct the CRM Manager to “grab everyone in a conference room and go through the whole CRM thing.”  Think back to the last time you had an all-staff meeting. How many people were fiddling with smartphones not paying attention to the speaker?  I did a quick survey with my own staff last time we had a non-CRM related all-staff meeting: 78% of my reps admitted playing with smartphones during a portion of the meeting. When the classroom size gets too large, it’s extremely challenging to make sure everyone is following along with you.

4. Thou shalt not intermingle departments.
There are two parts to training sessions: “This is HOW you do it.” and “This is WHY you are doing it.”  The first deals with compliance.   The second deals with buy-in and understanding.   How much you decide to dive in on the second part is the key.   With newbie Inside Sales reps, it’s often best to focus on the “click here, do this” part. They are still trying to comprehend the sales scripts they just spent 7 hours learning in role-playing. So, it might be information overload to start going into the intricacies of 1:N relationships in CRM.   My goal is to get newbie sales reps to do X correctly. For more experienced reps in Premium Sales, however, give them insight into why a certain form or process is being done the way it is.  Get buy-in and understanding from senior sales reps who have a far greater influence on the sales staff.  Sure, it might be “easier” on you to shove all of the departments into one training session.  However, the way you’re going to teach a “compliance” session is going to be much different than teaching an “understanding” session.

5. Thou shalt not have the CRM Manager move the mouse.
Think back to your teenage days learning how to drive a car.   Did you learn more from the passenger or driver’s seat?  Reps will learn far better if they are the ones behind the wheel. There is no prize in showing how quickly YOU can navigate CRM. It only matters how well they can navigate CRM. Have reps login as themselves on training PCs to mimic “real” experience in CRM. They see their My To Do List, their leads, their dashboards, etc.  Even in a group setting with multiple reps, always have the rep move the mouse on the screen. If they don’t do it, they won’t remember it.

6. Thou shalt make sure the rep’s boss is in the first few training sessions.
Nothing undermines CRM  quite like when the rep’s boss doesn’t show up for the first training session.   The typical dialogue between the rep and sales manager usually goes something like this, “Go see (insert CRM Guru here), s/he will run you through that CRM stuff.”   Remember, the reps report to Sales Managers, not CRM Managers.   When sales managers don’t show up for CRM training at least early on, it undermines the importance of CRM in their jobs. A special note to sales managers who don’t show:

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”450px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]What you are telling the rep is that while you say CRM training is “important,” it’s apparently not important enough for you to stay in this room and make sure the rep is paying attention.[/dropshadowbox]

7. Thou shalt not worry about anything else in CRM other than completing a phone call on the first day.
Everything the reps do in CRM falls into two buckets:  1) things they do about 100 times a day   2) things they do maybe once a day.  Guess which singular activity they do 100 times a day….phone calls!   The most important thing the reps have to do (correctly) in CRM is completing the phone call screen the way you want them to do it.  Don’t worry about anything else in CRM until you are 100% satisfied that they can complete a phone call correctly without you standing over them to monitor it.  Sometimes, you might get reps that will try to skip forward (how do I search this?  where do I go to do that?). Tell these over-achievers that you are purposely putting blinders on them and you’ll get to that training later in boot camp.

8. Thou shalt tailor the training to the type of rep in the room.
Especially when you are doing new sales reps onboarding with CRM, you tend to encounter three very different types of reps. It’s important that you identify which types of reps you have in your training room.

  1. “Soldiers” are the majority of your sales reps.   Soldiers come in with a “tell me what to click on, and I’ll do it” type attitude towards CRM.
  2. “Old Guard” are the minority of your sales reps.  Old Guards tend to be skeptical that what you are about to show them in CRM is going to be better than their “tried and true” methods.
  3. “Questioners” are the rarest of your sales reps.  Questioners want to know WHY something is the way that it is in CRM – and may not comply until they are satisfied with your explanation.

The people you should most be concerned with are the Questioners.   They are often the most influential about CRM to their sales rep brethren (positively or negatively). For more on this, check out my past S3 article that explains this in greater detail.

9. Thou shalt have mini-training sessions periodically with each department if you roll out a new feature.
Let’s say you roll out a new feature that can help them in CRM.   Maybe it’s a new view that organizes info better for them.   Maybe it’s a new process you’ve built in CRM that allows them to make appointments quicker.   Quick!   Grab the reps and huddle them together.   These mini-sessions don’t need to be elaborately planned.   It can be impromptu at their desks – or even better in a nearby conference room.   Your sales reps and managers might actually welcome it…it gives them a quick 10-15 minute breather from making calls.  I recommend doing these mini-sessions twice a month to refresh them on cool features they may have forgotten about and/or teach them new features that can help them do their job better.

10. Thou shalt make sure everyone can see the screen and read the text.
I know this one sounds really obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times this gets overlooked.   CRM from a UI perspective has a ton of small icons, menus, and fonts.  Even if you have a decent sized display for your CRM trainings (projector, large TV screen, etc.), it might still be difficult to read the text in CRM.   Remember, your software training deals with more than just icon and shape recognition….much of your training will involve the rep reading text and making an appropriate user interaction in CRM.  As you read this article now, take 10 steps back from your monitor/screen.   Can you still read this text?  If you can’t read the text, then your reps are too far away in your training room.

The Six D’s of Destruction: How to Recognize and Avoid Sales Burnout

The Six D’s of Destruction: How to Recognize and Avoid Sales Burnout
by Kris Katseanes – May 2014

What happened to all the excitement?

We all seek to hire highly competent, highly energized, hard-working individuals who invest everything they have in the effort of growing a career in sports.  We strive to find individuals who have excelled in life, and are eager to translate that pattern of success to the sales floor for our team.

Yet, some of these same individuals have come to me after a few months on the job and share something like this, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’ve always succeeded in everything I’ve done, but this is really difficult and I don’t know if it’s for me.”  What changed with this person over just a few months? What happened to the person who was so confident (borderline arrogant), excited beyond measure, determined, and capable/willing to take on the world?

Recognizing destructive emotional patterns

Assuming that we set a proper expectation and are managing well, the easy answer then becomes that they are burned out by the long hours, the monotony of the calling and solicitation exercises, or the feeling of being enamored with ‘working in sports’ has faded.  I believe that there is definitely a little of each of those sentiments sprinkled in throughout.  But, I also believe that a negative emotional pattern in our human nature is most often the culprit.  This negative emotional pattern was something I came across recently.  An ecclesiastical leader by the name of Kevin Pearson coined it the “Destructive D’s.”  His application was a bit different, but the core principles apply to what we do every day.

1. Doubt. Doubt is defined as a lack of confidence in self and/or ability. Doubt starts to creep in.  Anyone who has been on a sports sales floor is going to experience this.  There is too much rejection involved in what we do for it not to ever be a factor.  The key is recognizing that it grows and leads to…

2. Discouragement.  Discouragement arises from missing expectations or goals.  The goals and numbers we ask for are always on the stretched side as that’s the world we live in.  The red flag we need to watch for is if missing goals or numbers causes discouragement, resulting in the sales representative:

  •  lowering expectations,
  • decreasing effort, or
  • displaying a weakening desire to stay in the job/industry.

Someone who becomes discouraged at a high level, then experiences….

3. Distraction. The sales rep that gets to this point begins to lose focus on two things:

  • what s/he needs to be effective &
  • the ultimate goal of succeeding in the sports industry.

They also lose focus of why we want to be excellent, succeed, and move up the management ladder: The opportunity to influence this industry and to help others in their careers.

One important thing to note is that both discouragement and distraction can become habits.  We should be looking for these traits in the hiring process as much as possible, and also be very mindful of those tendencies early on in a sales representative’s efforts. Whether habitual or circumstantial, distracted sales reps then begin losing their…

4. Diligence. The distracted sales representative gravitates toward time wasting activities and excuses to avoid the extra effort needed to become successful.   The biggest concern is if  this spreads or affects the productivity and attitudes of other reps.  This is where a rep starts to bring others on your team down with them. Obviously, not doing one’s job results in….

5. Disappointment. The sales rep without diligence will miss goals and expectations, ultimately leading to disappointing performance and reviews. While not surprising to supervisors, the end result for reps at this stage if often…

6. Disbelief. The emotional disappointment grows to the level that they actually start believing that they can’t do the job, or that it’s too hard and too demanding.  The sales rep that only months before had the world by the horns, now has internalized the emotions to the point they can no longer do what is asked.

Solution: Catch it early

The key as managers is to understand that the first “Destructive D” will happen to everyone.

Coaching, encouraging, and training to ensure we curb the second and third from setting in is absolutely critical.  Once it reaches the fourth level of losing diligence it is very difficult to restore what you once had. A new setting or a new role may help, but chances are the behavioral pattern is too far down the road and ingrained in the mindset/routine of that sales representative. 

In thinking about all of the successful sales industry leaders I know well, they all have in common the ability to recognize and squash “Destructive D” number one before it progresses further.   We should work as managers to recognize doubt and discouragement and find ways to foster courage and confidence among newer sales representatives. Part of that training can simply be to show reps this article (or explain the 6 D’s to them) and give them the freedom to ask for help when they believe they may be experiencing any destructive symptoms.

One of the best cures is really preventative: We must recognize the early symptoms to mitigate turnover and increase team chemistry and production.


 

Cover photo courtesy of Molair

 

 

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