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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

Sales force Automation (SFA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) products have been around 20 years, we have all used them at some point.

But a CRM or Salesforce Automation is just that.  It takes the science of selling and Automates it.

But if you have got this far, you know this blog is about “the art of selling” and we have always wanted to be able to measure the art and this is what this blog is about.

I was involved in a roll out of a project that integrated an Enterprise Social Media (ESM) platform (for example, Slack, Chatter, Jive to yammer) with a CRM.  Now you are probably thinking so what?

If you think about a traditional CRM, it does not tell you, as a sales leader a lot.  OK it tells you how much the deal is worth, what is being sold, when it will close. This is all stuff that appeals to our head, but it does not appeal to our “hearts”.  Sales is part art and part science after all.  So the CRM measures the science, but how do you measure the “art”. How do you increase your forecast accuracy?

(We had to deliver a forecast that was 95% accurate!)

On Integrating the Enterprise Social Media with the CRM, we made sure that each deal had aconversation.  All the people (and only the people associated with the deal) were added to the conversation.  Each salesperson can post their notes and the team can comment. Just like a Facebookpost.  Something we all understand.

The problem with email is we are all totally inundated, in that role I would get 100 emails a day.  If I got people talking across email about a deal, to be honest it just got lost in the noise.

Working in a matrix organisation and working across the line of business I have seen 80 sales people and managers collaborating on one deal. The lead sales person was freed up from internals to go out and sell.

The bigger the company, the bigger the benefit.

How do we measure Art?

It will become very clear that discussions taking place in conversation on social mean that deals are going to happen.  No conversation, then this is just a sales person’s pipe dream. This enabled us to increase the accuracy of our forecast.  It was that simple!

Where Will Go Wrong?

If there is no senior buy in.  In our case, our VP told his team and enforced it that all deal conversations had to take place on social.  In fact we ran all deals calls and all forecast calls on social.

The bonus tip for us was that we could share these conversations with who ever we wanted, so often they were shared “politically” with people. When somebody says “what’s happening with this deal?”  Simple. You just add them to the conversation.

People who read this article also read these:

Measure and Governance of a Social Selling Programme

Why LinkedIn Does not Equal Social Selling

Another Social Media Expose ! – This Time On ‘YOU’ !

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