How CRM Helped to Keep Dale's Sales Pipeline Flowing

Dale was a veteran sales person with over 15 years experience in making sales pitches and closing deals. He was currently employed by a large financial services conglomerate, where he was initially among the best performers, but, in the past few years was barely ever able to meet his targets. Very often, Dale's meetings with customers that were meant to end in ten minutes extended to several hours - phone calls and emails would be exchanged with his office to ensure he had all the information required for a particular interaction. He would attempt to cross sell, but, offer inappropriate products based on his gut feeling and prior experiences. This created a negative perception in customers' minds and lowered the chances of building rapport. Things were even more muddled when he traveled across territories without mobile CRM!

The key reason for Dale's inefficiencies was his self belief that using his organization's CRM solution would be complicated and his lack of technical know how would be a hindrance in accessing customer related information.

The company Dale worked for had implemented a CRM solution some years back to curb customer churn and enhance product innovation. Competitors and hordes of new products had swamped the market leading to unstable growth and low productivity from marketing strategies. In order to stay competitive and make data mining more effective, the organization had carefully evaluated CRM solutions for financial services offered by multiple leading vendors. They pinpointed the most suitable and future proof CRM solution, but, due to poor top management participation and limited flexibility, the CRM implementation was not entirely successful and user adoption was moderate.

Dale was skeptical of the CRM solution his company had implemented and apart from his limited knowledge of new software, he avoided logging-in because he considered it the senior management's policing tool for watching every lead he attempted to convert. Also, to him, adding leads to the CRM software meant everyone would have access to their details, which could mean he lost those leads or someone else stole the credit for generating and converting them.

The details of all Dale's potential new customers were scribbled on pieces of paper and added to excel sheets when the management demanded accountability for the time he spent in his current role or wanted a better level of transparency for the leads pipeline. On days like this, he would spend several hours after working hours to collate information from his business planner, note pads and visiting cards to create neat rows of information on his laptop. He also rarely interacted with the marketing team and relied on his networking skills with existing customers and old school friends to create new opportunities to sell this organization's financial products.

When the economy became unstable and dark clouds loomed, the organization's top management called for a meeting with the sales team to share their latest strategy on staying abreast and beating the competition. An independent meeting was initiaed for Dale later. He was called to the territory manager's office and informed that the top management would only view reports and analytics generated through the CRM solution. This meant, if leads that his team were working on, were not added to the CRM solution, as far as the top management was concerned, these leads did not exist. Also, detailed information regarding each potential customer needed to be added regularly to their related records - activities, preferences, documents, etc. These measures would ensure transparency for the sales pipeline and allow accurate analysis of performance based on expected revenues. Also, under the current economic conditions, the organization did not want to lose there customers or any related information when their employees joined a competitor.

Luckily, Dale had attended a couple of hours of CRM user training a few years ago from a seat at the back of the conference room, he remembered some of the instructions and details. The following Monday he requested the CRM administrator for login credentials and access to mobile CRM. Next, he collated three quarters' leads onto an excel sheet and added column labels and their relevant status codes used in the CRM solution to each record. Following this, he quickly imported these leads to the CRM software and studied a report to ensure they were all there.

The next few weeks were hectic, Dale had never met so many potential customers in such a short span since he had joined this organization. He realized his win ratio was improving but still might not match the meticulously calculated quotas assigned to each salesperson. After an hour long study of leads assigned by the marketing team to other members of his team, he realized that several that were interested in products he specialized in were untouched by his colleagues. Using a mass update option, in a couple of minutes, he had reassigned these leads to himself.

Dale's strength was his networking and rapport building skills with customers. He'd attended some of the best army schools across the country and a renowned university. Most of his friends had reached senior profiles in their organizations or had started their own business ventures with amazing results. LinkedIn was the ideal place to  interact with these batch mates and their connections. Strong referrals and formal introductions would improve his chances of setting up meetings with c-level executives and decision makers.

After probing, he discovered users could track their leads and contact's latest social profiles and conversations through the CRM solution's social connect tools or in other words 'social CRM'. Dale also wanted to connect with people who were talking about his bouquet of products on social networks. With the help of the CRM software administrator, all tweets mentioning a particular competitor, brand name or financial service were listed  on a daily basis for him to sort and contact. He could feel the excitement of receiving large sales incentives and building a stronger foundation for new business relationships while he studied his contact's social profiles and added important notes to their records a few days later.

CRM mobility and real-time updates
Today, Dale is among the top performers across territories, though, it is for a specific set of products. Also, mobile CRM enables him to stay on top of things regardless of how many customer interactions he has in a day, without worrying about tons of paperwork when he's back in the office - he updates details about leads, customers and opportunities on the go.