My shot at Implementing Sales 2.0

I have been asked to attend a Six Sigma Event around the new Oracle On Demand CRM we are implementing at my company. We aren’t going live until the fall (if then) but my company seems to be doing the right thing by actually inviting sales to the table for the scoping process. As many who follow this blog know – I am advocate of the Sales 2.0 concept; perhaps even a zealot.

Oracle On-Demand as a few cool tools that I am excited to learn more about, such as the Social CRM applications around sharing and scoring content. Most of my experience, however, with CRM implementation comes from Salesforce.com. When I worked at the Complex Sale, Inc., we had an application for opportunity management located on the App Exchange. That made the implementation process quite literally seamless. White Springs, the company that makes The Complex Sale’s App, also has pre-built integration with Oracle as well.

Oracle lists their feature partners on their website.

Inside View: I am very excited about offering my opinions on integrating the Inside View applications to our CRM instance. As stated on previous blogs, we employ a third party to set appointments from the West Group. They do a great job and allow us to focus on selling rather than prospecting. However, when we do get the appointment set – we need to be as prepared as possible. I tell my team they need to research five aspects of their prospect to be best prepared for a first call.

1. Industry
2. Company
3. Individual
4. Title
5. Geography

Inside View gives this data, pre-packaged on a company by company basis, embedded inside of the account tab inside of the CRM. It sours the blogs for triggering events, LinkedIn for the prospects themselves, and provides in-depth data on the company. It is a one stop shop for first call preparation – inside of the CRM.

Kadient: One of the first things I did as a new sales manager was to institute a Best Practices Sales Cycle for my team. This is the process of collaborating and documenting the client-facing milestones and tasks needed to successfully move a prospect to signature. I put the deliverable of this process on an excel spreadsheet. All my reps are expected to have a specific BPSC spreadsheet for every opportunity they have to show progress. The byproduct of this process is a common sales process, expectation, and vernacular.
The cells that comprise the BPSC spreadsheet are linked to other tabs inside of the excel document. These additional tabs share greater detail, links to other information, and templates.

Kadient takes this idea and integrates it inside of the CRM where quite frankly it should be. Kadient will attach the BPSC or playbook to the opportunity record where the rep can go for direction specific to the type of opportunity. The functionality gives a rep sales messaging that’s battle tested, competitive information, or PPT templates that have won business. Better yet, from a sales manager’s perspective, I can get a better line of sight into the deals I am forecasting and trends for training purposes.
I will keep you posted on my success in getting these tools integrated in the Oracle On-Demand.

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Turning the CRM into a Strategic Tool

RADAR

I had dinner with a client this past week and we were discussing adoption of his CRM, Salesforce.com. His company culture is that if isn’t in Salesforce.com – it didn’t happen. One of the unique aspects of my position is that we get so much exposure to sales leaders that I am constantly getting little nuggets of information to share. Salesforce.com is a great tool but one thing all sales leaders should know is that poor CRM adoption from the field is the rule – not an exception. It is seen as merely a management oversight device that brings no value to the rep – therefore unnecessary and extra work. With the rules of engagement changing by the minute with emerging technologies – we as sales leaders need to be prepared to equip our reps with the best possible tools available for success.

What we as sales leaders need to do is turn the CRM into a strategic tool to help reps create, win, and grow accounts. Justyn Howard of the Passive Pipeline has written a free e-book: Sell Smarter, Embrace the Sales 2.0 movement to Increase Sales and Outsmart your Competition.  I recommend this a great primer on how emerging technologies can be incorporated into the CRM. It is written from a sales person’s point of view. For a slightly shorter read that is more philosophical I recommend the CEO of Sales 2.0 LLC, Nigel Edelshain’s e-book: Don’t Cold Call, Social Call – Prospect with Sales 2.0 tools and Social Networks.

From a sales management point of view – I recommend Salesforce.com because of its ease of use and wide adoption among sales people. It also has the App Exchange where you can install tools to make the database into the strategic arm of your sales team.

For a CRM to work optimally, it needs to mirror your sales cycle. For example, every natural milestone in your sales process needs to be reflected as a stage in your CRM. Most complex sales have no less than 5 customer-facing milestones:

  • First Call
  • Discovery
  • Proof of Concept
  • Proposal
  • Approval  

Within each stage, we need to come to agreement upon and document the tactical best practices that will move the sale to the next stage. These best practices should be embedded inside of the CRM as reference points or even check points as to whether we qualify out of an opportunity. The Complex Sale offers our GPS RADAR tool off of the App-Exchange which facilitates the critical thinking sales rep needs to create a political, solution, and closing strategy for their opportunity. For our customers that use RADAR as their sales methodology – we transfer the learning from the class room to the opportunity on a deal by deal basis. This tool is embedded inside of the opportunity tab on Salesforce.com.

A new application that I see coming along strongly is InsideView. This tool can be embedded inside of Salesforce.com on the account level to give everything available online, from the blogosphere, LinkedIn, Facebook, and in twitter about the account. My time is cut in half and effectiveness of my research has doubled. That isn’t their pitch – that is my personal experience. InsideView is offering a free version right now that is well worth the time invested.

We also use an e-mail aggregator called Manticore Technology. There are others out there with great integration into Salesforce.com such as Eloqua. When used correctly, these tools place a cookie on the recipients computer that will then track what the recipient did with the e-mail you sent them and where they go on your website. I can’t express how efficient I have seen sales forces become by allowing the prospects themselves to express their level of interest in your service. Inside of Salesforce.com, we have created a marketing activities tab that allows me to see who was on our website and what pages they were on. Their activity is tracked at the contact record.

In conclusion, the world of selling is changing and the change is being wrapped up in a catch phrase called Sales 2.0. On the buyer’s side – information is more readily available and customer experience is easier to come by with social networking. Therefore, sales people cannot use traditional techniques such as leveraging information as effectively as they once did.  What forward-looking sales organizations are doing is embracing this change. As our partner Mike Scher, CEO of Frontline Selling often says, “You don’t have to out run the bear, just the other campers.” The CRM is the great equalizer for sales people in the Sales 2.0 world and its adoption is paramount to their success.

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