Almost everyone is using CRM in their businesses for their efficiency in data collection. But truth be told, many salespeople have a love and hate relationship with CRM. CRMs are a great way to hold data but it doesn’t offer solutions on how to utilize this data in a way that reflects real-time engagement with customers.
Kevin Knieriem is the Chief Revenue Officer at Clari, a revenue platform for companies in Toronto. He’s been with the company for 15 months and he’s had a background in enterprise software for over 25 years. He started his software sales career with Siebel System, the first enterprise CRM and from there, Kevin spent 11 years at SAP and due to an acquisition, also spent time with Oracle.
CRMs are a place for an account, contact, and opportunity information to be stored. These are major components to track sales so it has been the primary revenue solution for companies for the last 25 years. Keeping your CRM up to date is important so the organization understands the health of its revenue.
Starting with Siebel Systems, Kevin hasn’t seen much change in CRMs. It still has the same basic model for accounting opportunities. It’s a place where sales reps can post information but it doesn’t provide any feedback about how to utilize the data. It takes a lot of maintenance to update a CRM but we use it anyway. Unlike SaaS or subscription, CRM doesn’t allow you to track the continuous journey of the customers.
Adobe is a company that runs on subscription. Let’s say for example that an Adobe seller is selling a marketing automation solution, Marketo Acquisition. A client who buys the service and wishes to expand will have to get another subscription over time. Even though the data is present, the activity that is involved over the time of a subscription doesn’t get tracked by the CRM.
The challenge for reps and the sales leader using the CRM tool is that it doesn’t give you the real-time feedback that is needed to run the business as efficiently or effectively as they could.
It turns into a circular problem because the data give no feedback to the sales rep about how to move forward, but when the manager is approached for coaching, they are still looking at the same data with no additional insight. Layers of managers get involved in analyzing the data and by the time a solution is created, the data is from the past and no longer applies. It doesn’t take into account the customer’s journey and sales cycle. You can’t really make good decisions using data that may no longer be relevant.
Kevin suggests that sellers be looked at as individual franchisees. This positions each sales rep to utilize the resources of their company to best execute the business.
Clari is a revenue platform. Sales reps need to spend the majority of their time selling and not just inputting data. This is how Clari can help. There are tools now that allow auto-capturing the context of CRM data and combining that context with the database. This means activity around the data can be analyzed and as a result, better decisions and interactions can occur.
When an automation process is in place, more critical questions can be answered:
The answer to these questions will give you the idea a better understanding of how healthy opportunities really are. The single most important skill for any company to have is its ability to forecast. The forecast directly impacts the operating plan of the company. The single most important function of a company is the ability to sell. Typically, the biggest expense of any company is its sales force. Because of this there has to be a consistent process surrounding sales.
Kevin’s job for Clari is to remove barriers, give sales reps the clarity they need for their business, and to help sales reps be as productive as possible.
A big challenge sales reps face is meeting with their managers. It can feel more like an interrogation than a coaching session. It’s equally unpleasant for managers who may have a difficult time relaying the opportunities to their team. When a meeting can be used more as a training tool, the whole dynamic can change for both the sales team and the sales leader.
The art of selling has changed over the years because of the available data today and the fluidity of a customer’s journey. The sales reps have to evolve as well. For example, sales reps now can make meetings via Zoom. As a result, they need to show their faces, they can’t multi-task, and they can’t hide their emotions. The good sellers of today embrace these new changes because they know it helps them be more effective in their jobs.
CRM is just one of the data sources that Clari brings in. Clari also brings in other signal data that’s happening in a company’s upstream top-of-funnel systems. Clari is a revenue process that applies machine learning and AI to help spot risks and identify opportunities to help companies grow.
Nothing happens unless you make it happen. Companies need to help their sales team by giving them instrumentations and solutions to improve their efficiency in sales. Sales reps are the frontline of any company and an effective process and system provide the best opportunity for success.
Knowing the process and having accurate directions will help the sellers become ironmen in sales. Reach out to Kevin Knieriem via his email email@example.com. You can also check out his LinkedIn account. If you are interested in more sales stories, you can talk to Donald about it. Reach him via these channels: LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook about any sales concerns.
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Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth.Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.