Once upon a time, your CRM platform may have been your Rolodex, a stack of business cards or the random pieces of paper where you wrote down information about your business contacts and your interactions with them.

With the technology revolution things changed. The first CRM software platforms were large, complex and on-premise—which meant they were also expensive, often so much so that smaller businesses couldn’t afford them. As a result, only a privileged few businesses could enjoy the transparency and insight that CRMs provided into the sales process.

As technology evolved, software like Salesforce appeared on the scene, making high-level CRM platforms, and the possibilities they enabled, accessible to businesses of all sizes. But despite these advances, CRM platforms all too often remain a repository for data rather than an actively wielded tool. That’s because they were built to facilitate management insights and operations—not to help sellers make the sale.

How to turn a CRM data repository into a tool that helps you win more deals

We’ve entered a new era, where CRMs can collect richer data and with the right tools, afford deeper insights and help drive sales enablement. What’s changed? Today’s CRMs capture insights that relate to—and create incentives around—the underlying key factor that drives better sales results: seller behavior.

Those foundational behaviors that sellers engage in every day—making calls, taking meetings and going beyond just answering buyers’ questions to anticipate and guide buyers’ expectations—are essential stepping stones along the pathway to closing deals. But what truly galvanizes a sales organization to implement certain effective selling behaviors?

An established methodology that equips sellers with the proper framework to know how to attack sales, including guidance around when to take specific actions and why. Unfortunately, 81 percent of organizations lack a dynamic sales methodology program that encourages the right behavior and a step-by-step process that helps sellers close the deal.

How to weaponize your methodology

To take your CRM to the next level, turning it into a sales-producing weapon, you must marry sales methodology with the data and analytics that exist inside your system. That combination allows you to extract key insights into buyer-influence patterns, competitive positioning and the chances of success with different behaviors. When this happens, your CRM can inform sellers what their next move should be to close the deal.

Using a tool like Scout with your CRM helps individual sellers and sales organizations focus their resources on those deals that are most likely to close; it can also inform decisions on the magic trifecta for closing a sale: which prospective buyers those sellers should speak with, what they should discuss and when they should hold those discussions.

When the full panoply of these tools are readily available to sellers, they engage more extensively with their CRM. In turn, as it’s weaponized, the CRM provides increasingly more value to the business and to individual sellers, making it a constantly growing and evolving source of ever-greater insights.

Why data and analytics matter now more than ever

There’s been a seismic shift in the B2B sales industry, with business sales becoming much more complex and data-driven insights playing a more critical role in winning business.

Not that many years ago, sellers needed only to show up and inform prospective buyers about why they should purchase a particular product or service. But in today’s information economy—where buyers have already researched and grasped the why—sellers need to inspire buyers to take action. They need to educate buyers, sharing the right perspective at the right time to establish both the value proposition of their product or service and the urgency to act. And they need data to inform that perspective, else their sales pitch likely won’t resonate with buyers.

To address this shift, the sales profession is embracing science, elevating it to a bigger role than it has ever held in commerce. Historically, the best salespeople had high emotional intelligence (EQ): they possessed grit, perseverance and an innate ability to read people. Today, what’s becoming more important is a seller’s IQ: the cognitive ability to educate buyers from a perspective that—instead of merely pitching a product—inspires sales. Data-driven insights are the science behind that inspiration.

With these changes, it is critical that sales professionals adopt new methodologies and embrace the insights that enhanced CRMs can deliver. When sellers adopt winning sales methodologies backed by data and research into their selling behaviors, sellers have more weapons in their arsenal to help them close the deal.

Contact us and learn more about how Miller Heiman Group can help.

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