Does Your CRM/Pipeline Software Help You Manage Your Sales Team?

Let’s cut to the chase – managing a sales team is challenging, with players living out of town, in constant motion on different projects, and in various states of capture and development. Utilizing an executive-focused CRM software to help manage your sales teams can be helpful for visualizing and tracking sales team activities and progress on existing tasks.

But what activities should you be watching?

Setting Activity Monitoring Benchmarks

Determining which activities you should be monitoring doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer, as it hinges, in part, on the day-to-day activities of your team members and as important, what you and your executive team need to know to run your business. Do they all follow the same capture process? Is there a standardized expectation for checkpoints of information and content you expect to be captured within the CRM software? If not, you’re attempting to manage against expectations vs. processes.

Implement a standardized, repeatable process for what activities you expect your team to capture within the software. Is it every phone call made? Or every phone call made that resulted in a follow-up activity? Do your information capture requirements include the level of granularity to track all email exchanges related to an opportunity? Is that too much information?

At a basic level, you need to outline the required activities you expect your team to capture within the software, how often you anticipate updates should be made, and a process for identifying decision points (gate reviews), on when an opportunity moves from one stage to another.

How to Measure for Success

  1. Have your capture executives gathered information about the opportunity?
  2. Have they asked the government the right questions at the right time?
  3. Are they progressing each deal forward (by stage), at the appropriate time?
  4. Have they built the right team?
  5. Do they know the SWOT about the competition?
  6. Are you positioned to have a real chance of winning?

The CRM system that you use should tell management exactly where each division is in achieving their goals, and where each deal is for each capture executive in real time. Management should know at any time, what the revenue projections are, what deals are close and how the Pipeline looks at any time.

If you’ve begun to implement a standardized process for activity-related tracking of your sales teams, the follow-on decision is determining how to measure their success. You should have a system that unemotionally grades each opportunity and displays a clear indicator of how much knowledge the capture executive has collected about this deal. Without a clearly defined – and adopted – capture process, measuring results will be a challenge.

To accurately measure the success of your sales team, you must establish a baseline of measurement to compare against. For instance, if a representative begins the month with two activities and ends the month with three activities, is that success? Perhaps, but how significant were those activities? Did they collect the right G2 at the right time to validate the WIN themes?  How does a manager know?  They need a software solution that tells them!

Again, like your activity-based benchmarks, how you measure success is something that must be determined at an organizational level and baselined for your week-over-week or month-over-month comparison of what your sales team has accomplished. With established metrics, a baseline is something that can be captured within a CRM, and compared against based on your reporting timeframes. Utilize this functionality to your advantage, and you will begin to see trends in performance.

It Isn’t About Time, It’s About Progress

Although a pipeline software isn’t a time tracking tool for measuring when your sales team members are working and when they are not, the success of sales is measured in progress. Team members who are not moving opportunities forward, driving new business leads or networking with partners are not providing a valuable contribution.  And you don’t need a punch clock to tell you that.

Let your CRM do the work for you. A robust capture executive software system should provide the capability to track the progress of team member activities, opportunities, capture, and networking – plus tell you how your Division is doing against your own goals.

This is to your advantage! Effective sales personnel know how to drive business, and continue to push numbers forward and close out opportunities. Maintaining the ability to track this, on a real-time basis, is one of the greatest advantages to managing your sales team effectively.

About Skip Blackburn