The First (and Most Important) Entry Into The CRM — Period!

A lot of shit goes into CRM’s. Sometimes useful stuff, other times not so much. Sometimes a sales person CRM is full with valuable information, as they are diligent in logging their activities and keeping the opportunity up to date. Other times, it’s like pulling teeth to get the sales person to put anything into the CRM. The opportunities look like NYC clubs at 5 in the morning, there is shit everywhere, but there is no one around. You can tell something was going on, but knowing what happened is almost impossible.

Regardless of what your CRM currently looks like or your organizations CRM requirements, there is on entry that MUST be in EVERY opportunity record or everyone is wasting their time. There are no excuses. Not only must this entry be present, it needs to be the first entry for every new opportunity. It must be the first entry logged — period.

The first entry into the CRM every new opportunity must have is the problem(s) the client is facing and why it needs to be fixed.

If this is not the first entry into the CRM, there is going to be a high probability the deal will take longer to close AND the close win percentage will decrease. I call this the problem statement and the motivation.

The problem statement

The problem statement is a clear and concise description of the problem(s) the prospect is struggling with. It’s the business and the technical problems¬†that’s negatively affecting the company/business. It’s almost the reason the prospect reached out to your company or why they agreed to meet with you. It’s why they are considering change.

The problem statement is at the core to the sale. It’s what the entire sale is based on. It’s knowing what is wrong in their business and how to solve it. With out the problem statement, it’s like hunting blind.

Before another step in the sale is taken, the problem statement MUST be in the CRM.

Why?

Ahh, the why. The why is the motivation, “why” the prospect needs to make a change and the impact the current problem is having on their business. Why is where the desire to make a change, to fix the problem, exists. Without understanding the impact of the problem and why it’s important for the organization to change you can’t sell effectively.

Every single sale hinges on the problem the customer is facing and why they need to change. Starting a sale without knowing what that problem(s) is, is just silly.

Sales managers, when you’re reviewing opportunities in the CRM make sure a problem statement exists and a clear understanding of why the customer needs to change is documented. Push the rep to be as descript and accurate as possible. Don’t allow the problem(s) to be superficial like; we’re loosing money, don’t like the current system, it’s old, we need to update, etc. These aren’t the real problems, they are symptoms. Make them go deeper. Every problem statement and motivation should be unique to the prospect. Don’t let the sales person advance the deal to the next stage until you know they have a solid understanding of what the problem is and why the customer wants to change.

Sales people, as you’re qualifying your prospects, don’t let high level, emotional, non-specific issues drive your assessment. Dig deep to understand what is happening in your prospects business and why working with you will fix their problem and improve their standing.

Here’s the challenge. Sales and sales managers alike, look at your CRM. Can you find a detailed description of what the prospects current environment looks like, what problems they are facing and why they need to change. Could anyone without any prior knowledge understand why the prospect would need to buy your product or service by reading the opportunity in the CRM WITHOUT asking further questions? If the answer is no, you’re opportunity isn’t being managed efficiently.

Make the foundation of EVERY sales opportunity in your pipeline the customers problem set and motivation for change. Everything depends on that one simple effort. Don’t be that guy and think it doesn’t.

Customers buy because they have a problem which is motivating them to change — so document them in the CRM.

 

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Keenan