A great CRM is like a fast car; like a Ferrari. You have it because you want to drive fast, but from time to time, you need to check your mirrors and see what’s behind you.
To get where you need to go in terms of sales performance, you need to have both your eyes on the target and historical data.
Here’s how to balance the two and plan for growth while making the best out of your CRM data.
Bottom-up or Top-down thinking?
Typically, organizations have two options when it comes to planning for growth:
- Re-engineering or the “Top-down” approach
- Reverse Engineering or the “Bottom-up” approach
Each one means you have to have a specific mind-set.
If you want to go Top-down, you need to look at the addressable market and decide, based on that, what the end goal should be.
Say you want to get from 10% market share to 30%. That’s a huge jump in a year. Certainly, you can’t keep doing what you’re doing and expect “a miracle.” So for this approach to work, you need to forget what you’ve done so far.
Instead, think of what you need to do totally differently to achieve your goals.
As a sales manager, your CRM is your go-to platform to understand the big picture:
- How’s your sales process currently working?
- Where are your salespeople struggling?
- What needs to be radically changed to 10X your performance?
The second type of approach is a lot easier to implement. It works if you’re content with what you’re doing today and you want to do more of that.
In short, the Bottom-up approach means you have to set a goal, say a 10% increase, and apply it to everything that you have today.
These numbers should be stored in your CRM.
Goal: 10% increase
(next year forecast)
$95 mil. (18% increase)
By doing more of what you’re already doing well, you’ll affect the end-result even more than the 10% goal you set for your activities. That’s the upside of things.
There is, however, a downside as well. Organizations tend to get tired of doing more of the same thing. For the team, it feels like walking up the same hill, but with a heavier backpack every year, and on a path that keeps getting steeper.
In the long run, it’s neither exciting, nor inspiring.
That’s why you need to adjust the method using your strong judgement.
Metrics and good judgement
As Dan Pink, our host of the Sell Like A Human show used to say in an interview: “Accessing information doesn’t give you a huge advantage. What matters more is being able to curate the information, filter the information, make sense of it, and detect patterns.”
It couldn’t be more true when it comes to sales.
To keep your team motivated and increase your results, you need the right combination of science (the right tools and metrics) and art (good judgement).
Let’s think about the Bottom-up method of reverse engineering growth. Would it be alright to increase all the numbers -- from leads, to calls, and meetings -- by, say, 30%?
On paper, that might look ok, but one might argue that it’s not efficient for his team to chase meetings and calls, instead of keeping their eye on the target. Another sales leader, in a new market, may say that it is not only possible, but desirable.
It all needs to be considered within the organization’s context.
Now, speaking about metrics, there’s an important point to make here: the metrics reflect the reality just as long as you have “clean data” in your CRM.
Let me explain this a bit.
What’s a sales rep’s favorite thing in the world?
“Manual data entry in the CRM,” said no one, ever.
It’s obvious that, as tedious as it is, having correct, up-to-date information in your CRM is essential for future planning.
This process is called “data hygiene” and its purpose is to ensure the accuracy of data. Data is considered “clean” if it is, as much as possible, clean of potential errors. These can be anything from duplicate records, incomplete or outdated information, and the incorrect transfer of data from one system to another.
Errors can occur anytime as data is entered, saved, and managed.
That’s why it’s important to educate your sales team on the importance of “clean data” and make sure they keep a good record of their activities.
Having good tools and processes in place is going to proactively help you to avoid this issue.
For example, HubSpot CRM automatically logs calls and emails by syncing with Gmail and recording calls from within the contact record. The HubSpot Sales product automatically populates contact records with details from our database of over 20 million businesses, reducing the need for manual input, and thus, the opportunity for error.
Whatever CRM system you use -- or plan to use -- bare in mind the effort it takes to populate it with data. Your sales reps will thank you for it.
The power of high expectations
Now that I’ve shared some insights on how to plan for growth using your CRM, I want to leave you with a final thought: Set the right expectations for your team and, that alone, will help them perform better.
Studies have shown that when teachers expect enhanced performance from children, the children perform better. This is called the Pygmalion effect and you can see it working just as well in the workplace.
So no matter if you re-engineer or reverse engineer your growth, set positive expectations, and you’re already on the right track.