In the first part In this series we have looked at what requirements CRM software for B2B sales should fulfil. CRM Software guarantees automatic success - this misconception runs deep. Time and again we encounter company managements who assume that the use of a CRM system will also increase turnover. The advertising promises of the manufacturers of software especially for the CRM sector are certainly partly to blame. B2B-sales. These can come true - but they need commitment from the corporate side.
Imagine a builder acquires innovative tools for a construction project that speed up completion. However, he does not instruct the construction workers how to use them and why they should be used now. What happens? The workers did not know what to do with the tools, nor did they see the need to replace functioning processes. This is what happened in many companies when CRM systems were used. The mere promise of increased sales is not very appealing to users. Since they could not do anything with the use of the functions, they rather perceived the system as a cause of extra work.
The path to success in B2B sales
In order to help a CRM solution succeed internally and thus externally, much of any other system introduction must - indeed - take place. For this, the following steps have to be taken:
process analysis is the name of the first phase. Here the existing processes in the B2B-distribution is defined. At this point it is important to check whether the processes are already designed as efficiently as possible. CRM systems certainly make it possible to map processes in an improved way. A good system consultant can be very useful here. For example, an improvement in the hit rate can be achieved through targeted quotation tracking in the CRM system. The defined processes still have to be mapped in the system in the end. Involve the employees concerned in the process - this increases understanding and acceptance for the process changes.
A smooth transition to the first phase is the step of the Target definition and an equally important one. If you don't know where you want to go, you'll never get there. Blanket goals like "increasing turnover" or "better Sales planning" do not apply here. Set priorities and define them. It is important to make a goal measurable. Only in this way can you recognise success at the end. A SMARTE objective in B2B sales is always advantageous. As a result, strategies and process changes are usually revealed by themselves and can be implemented immediately.
Implement employees - as already mentioned, an important step on the way to success. The methods are simple. Training always has a great effect and is also necessary if you have already involved employees in the process analysis. In addition to technical know-how, you should also use sales workshops. Give everyone an overview of all the processes in the system and how previous ways of working are implemented there and where the benefits lie in everyday work. Long-term figures are seldom enough. It sounds banal - but create a personal advantage for everyone. To do this, get help from people who are familiar with the work processes of your employees.
Extra tip: Patience! Implementations of new methods in sales, which may be possible in theory, do not have to be implemented immediately and all at once. Your core resource is still the staff, not the system - and they have to work with it after all.
Persuasion is the hardest work in B2B sales
Especially when it comes to getting doubters on board. So how do you create trust for the CRM system? The best way is to work on the following points before the project begins. Create a sufficient time frame for this - even if management is pushing for implementation, these steps are important!
- Who shall Responsibility carry? Often the CRM system is attributed to the marketing department. However, depending on the company structure, the sales manager or the management of the IT department may also be appropriate. In smaller companies, the management. The position requires the empathy of the individual employees involved.
- Is the strategy for data use in the CRM system supported by the (entire) company management? This is especially important if a department head is responsible for the success of the project. A clear position of the management with a comprehensible argumentation can do a lot of convincing.
- Win opinion leaders. Are there employees who are always in favour of innovative approaches to work and are also happy to spread the word? These voices are particularly trustworthy for doubters because they do not see company goals such as turnover as the highest priority, but actually show the benefits that result for the users.
- Rejection is often associated with fear. Address the fearsCommunicate them openly and also point out risks. This makes the project credible and encourages cooperation in problem solving.