The State of CRM, Feb ’19 Roundup

With all the progress we are making in the tech space for sales and marketing, we may be leaving behind the human aspects of this relationship-centric business function. While most of these technological progress are aimed at helping improve customer relationship, are we failing the people behind the function?

The articles in this edition of the roundup deliberate on some hard-hitting nuances around sales cadence. They all seem to unanimously call upon Sales Management to revisit the somewhat-gone-awry sales cadence and lay them afresh.

And if we looked closely, technology may be the answer to most of it.

Weathering the Sales Erosion – By CRMBuyer

A lot is being said about Sales getting automated away. While there is a good amount of vagary around this presumption, one thing is clear — Sales will require smart people who can explain and educate, as well as close deals.

And a lot of sales tech is aimed at helping with exactly this. With CRM being in the lead. More ‘Data’ power to the CRM!

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Customers are just getting smarter and more experienced with the products on offer throughout a broad swath of the economy, so selling is being replaced by purchasing.

Solve Problems for Them – By Agile CRM

And before you begin to do that, you get in their shoes, pre-empt their problems and step forward to help then solve them, at the right time! The article advocates all of these best practices around nurturing customer relationships — old or new.

Daunting as it may sound, technology has done a lot in making it all possible. And the success of a lot of companies is attributed to this facet of their business strategy — world-class levels of customer satisfaction.

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The More (or No More) of Email Personalization – By DestinationCRM

There is a reason why this article has made it to this roundup. And it’s not just because the topic has intentionally been grounded by most of us for a while now. The real reason is that the article has a nice twist to it. It empirically proves that personalization may also have a tipping point — its point of diminishing returns. Now, that definitely warrants a mention for its practicality and candor. No hard sell here.

A couple of interesting reflections here are on the need to make the tradeoff favorable to the sales and marketing, and to make their database (read CRM) better equipped with personalization data to improve ‘time’ factor in the personalization ROI.

And this applies in all stages of pipeline progression activities.

Do give this one a read

Sales Meetings — You Only Get One Chance – By CRMBuyer

This article rightly calls out the need to integrate Meeting Automation Platforms into a company’s CRM — to automate the management of the pre-scheduling process without ever leaving the CRM. Yet again, CRM is reinforced as the hub for all things sales.

What is equally imperative is that sellers gain relevant and actionable insights into where each customer is in the sales pipeline, and even intel to help them progress the pipeline towards probable wins. Hence, it’s not just about automating meetings but also helping sellers prepare better for those meetings – CRM is where it all begins (and possibly ends).

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3 Personalization Principles for Marketers – By Gartner

This article from Gartner gives a pragmatic approach to navigating the complexity of personalization and delivering more effective marketing experiences.The article stresses upon the need to fix data, technology, content and people barriers before the actual dive at personalization.

You don’t need to collect every piece of data imaginable. Instead, collect high-priority data and use it well.

Another key takeaway is that it is important to walk first — even if it’s a very slow walk — before you start running. Break into your shoes before the sprint!

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The ‘Won and Done’ Strategy Isn’t enough – By Forbes

This article draws from CSO Insights’, the research division of Miller Heiman Group, recently released 2018-19 Annual Sales Performance Study. While most of what is highlighted in the article are not majorly new concepts, it does reflect the need for a wake up call for furthering customer experience focus in the B2B sales environment.

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Top performing organizations are those that have customer centricity at their heart, excel at sharing insights and educating their customers and have aligned their sales and marketing processes closely to their customer’s journey.

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