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Is your CRM running your sales department?

If so, catch it and stop it!

While a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system has become an increasingly important part of most sales organizations, there is a danger of it becoming a hindrance rather than an enhancement to the sales process.

The problem is, there is a tendency to force feed a sales process into a CRM – carefully embedding each step and shifting things around so that it “kind of works.”

This thinking is backward and can be extremely counterproductive. Once you figure out how successful people in your company should be selling – READ: after you’ve designed a dynamic sales process – why would you use an application that doesn’t fit the way successful salespeople sell in your company?

In other words, CRM should be a tool, not a driver.

Many organizations fall victim to the seductive promises of CRM applications. And, that’s not all bad. CRM can add value for the salesperson by making useful information easily available. It makes a sales manager’s life far easier because he or she can access the information required to coach each sales rep’s performance. However, there can be a downside.

If the way the CRM application is configured doesn’t match the way you want to sell you can put your sales reps and their managers in a sticky situation. Do they do what the application says, or do they do what they know will work?

The last thing you want to have happen is to go through the exercise of creating a highly-detailed custom sales process only to have to find “workarounds” to get it to fit within an existing CRM. Before you know it the process could become a virtually unrecognizable version of itself. Remember, processes don’t sell; people do.

Implementing CRM should always start with the relationship model and sales process your organization uses. You may have to make the tough choice that not everything can be automated because to do so means losing subtleties in the way you sell. And, that’s okay. It means you are being thoughtful in how you use technology, for which your sales reps and sales managers will thank you.

For much more on best practices for implementing a sales process across your organization, download our free e-book: Design and Execute a Dynamite Sales Process in Just 5 Steps.

Sometimes all you need is a little spark in order for sales to explode!