Putting the ACT Back in CRM

Back in the olden days, before the Internet and content marketing became the standard by which to measure many business development activities, sales performance measure was evaluated by a clearly defined set of sales activities. There were no fancy algorithms designed to determine the overall click ratio nor were there massive campaigns to understand Facebook “likes” and Twitter “tweets” or a great LinkedIn profile.

Ah, the good old days! Those key sales activities fought a good fight but eventually, they had to pass with the sands of time and give way to progress.

Unfortunately, as with many forms of progress, the drive to innovate often fails to recognize the benefits of past knowledge. As marketers and sales people strove to understand the new arena, they seemed to lose much of the backbone of effective business development. The result may have been a better overall grasp of technological advances, but it also served to create a disconnect with actual customers.

What is needed is a more balanced approach to the sales performance measure of marketing staff. While the new metrics and indexes must be included in any modern marketing campaign, individuals must still be held accountable to more traditional goals as well to ensure that time is managed to maximum benefit. Understanding these key activities and how they can be incorporated into modern practices will not only provide a more well-rounded sales campaign but will also help establish long term business relationships that will prove to be far more lucrative over time.

What Is ACT?
Do you remember ACT? ACT stands for Activity Control Technology. Whereas many current customer relationship management (CRM) systems allow users to track the modern metrics, ACT software allowed the users and management staff to accurately monitor key sales practices in real time, thus allowing staff to quickly modify methods that may not be effective without waiting for the end of the month or reporting period to identify them. Some place along the way, ACT fell out of many CRM practices.

Set Trackable Performance Goals and Put ACT Back to Work
All too often, success is measured by metrics that in a large part have little to do with the actual day-to-day activities of the sales staff and customers. As a result, individuals in the team can quickly lose focus and become less productive than before. It is vital that each member understand what his contribution to the overall success of the team will be and how that contribution will be measured.

Create challenging, but attainable goals and solutions in the following categories:

  • Lead generation and contribution by marketing and telesales
  • Installation of your full sales process and key activities into your CRM system
  • Rep accountability for following and logging key activities
  • Reporting of key activities at the sales rep level
  • Training support to help sales reps improve performance as needed

Additionally, each member of the sales team should know and fully understand the monthly, quarterly, and annual sales performance goals in each of these categories for the team as a whole and how the sales performance measure of the group will be accomplished and integrated into continuing improvements.

Use Team Members to Their Maximum Effectiveness
Every person on your marketing team possesses a wealth of different talents. While one person may be excellent at presentations, another may be the star at negotiation or needs dialogues. Don’t limit everyone into the same confined box. Consider making a 2- to 3-person team in which all members play to their specific attributes and have them develop best practice learning assets. By allowing each member to publish their strengths, the team as a whole, as well as the organization, will profit.

Fight Procrastination
Few things derail a good plan as quickly as a procrastinating employee. Monitoring activities on a consistent basis helps to keep all team members accountable to daily goals that are manageable and within reason. Not only does this allow managers to foresee any problems with procrastination that may be arising, it also allows for quick and decisive corrective actions.

Understanding the basics principles of sales and marketing is vital to the overall sales performance of the team and the organization as a whole. These key steps cannot be overlooked or ignored. Implementing these principles may not be the easiest measures to take in the modern world of high tech pipeline development and revenue performance but they will pay for themselves many times over.

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