Your CRM Can’t Fix Underperforming Sales, But Sales Performance Management Can

TajMianToday’s blog post is by Taj Mian. He is Managing Director of Canada, Board International.

For sales leaders, getting the tech stack right can be a challenge. On the one hand, the B2B sales space is flooded with solutions that each solve a different problem, so it’s easy to overcommit to a stack that speaks so many different languages that eventually it’s impossible to get a clear picture of what’s going on in the sales organization. And this is clearly a top of mind issue for many sales leaders. In a recent Selling Power survey of more than 150 B2B sales leaders, two thirds reported that they’re already using at least two to four systems and are hesitant to add more. 

But using the wrong solution is just as problematic as using too many solutions. Trying to force one solution to solve every sales performance management issue plays a major role in the fact that on average only 8% of sales reps have met or exceeded quota in the last 24 months. This often plays out with CRMs. Let us first say that CRMs are an unquestionably important part of any sales organization, and we don’t need to spend a lot of time explaining why. CRMs are often the foundation of the B2B tech stack – but they’re not a silver bullet for sales performance management. 

However, many sales leaders are still trying – and failing – to make CRMs work for monitoring and improving sales performance. CRMs are critical for managing day-to-day sales team activities and capturing customer data, but they have significant gaps when it comes to holistic sales performance management. On the flip side, a sales performance management (SPM) solution can help sales leaders look at the big picture – including quotas, territories, forecasting, compensation, hiring, onboarding, and coaching. A CRM will report what happened in a customer interaction, while an SPM solution will show the sales leader what the actions they need to take to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their sales organization. Yet 66% of companies we surveyed are not currently using an SPM solution, and less than 4% of their reps are meeting quota. For those using an SPM solution, though, the number of reps hitting quota was more than four times higher. 

What Sales Performance Management can do that a CRM can’t

Integrate data

An SPM solution does not replace your CRM (or other systems). Instead, it pulls data from each source in real-time, seamlessly aggregating the information in a single point of access, and providing a holistic, tailor-made view for leaders and reps alike. The entire sales organization can regain trust in their data using SPM.

Fast, reliable reporting

CRMs are limited in terms of reporting functionality, and require consistent and reliable data input from each sales rep. Even when done well, this takes so long that leaders are missing out on real-time performance insights. They’re then diverted from other important activities trying to chase down, clean up, and analyze data from their CRM and other tools. SPM solutions automate reporting so that sales leaders can quickly and easily access the info they need to make decisions for their sales teams.

Data-driven coaching

Daily activities and customer data only tell part of the story when it comes to rep behaviors, which makes it nearly impossible for leaders to know who top performers are, what they’re doing well, and how to coach under-performers to improve. This often leads to retention and morale issues when top performers realize they’re under-compensated and are being rewarded the same as under-performers. SPM enables leaders to actively monitor performance, pinpoint the behaviors of top-performers, and provide coaching to the entire sales organization.

Let us be clear: CRM remains a key pillar in the sales stack. However, sales leaders who want to achieve real growth should invest in SPM to ensure that their teams are set up for success with the right territories, compensation, coaching, and more. To learn more about the survey data referenced in this blog post, download the full report: How Sales Performance Management Enables High Performing Sales Teams.

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