The Most Important Sales Data Isn’t in Your CRM!

A client and I did something yesterday that I’ve always been a big fan of. We sat down with some of the sales people and talked about their business.  We didn’t tell them anything. We didn’t notify them ahead of time. We didn’t give them an agenda. We just called them into the conference room 1 by 1 and had a talk with them.

What did we talk about?

We asked them how things are going, what they are seeing in the market and what they are focusing on. We asked about their strategy to achieving quota. We asked HOW they came up with the strategy and how it’s working. We talked about the challenges they were seeing and how they were addressing them. We asked what they would do with the sales organization if they could change anything? We asked them a lot of questions about their day to day and how THEY go about their job.

The conversation was impromptu, light and engaging. We genuinely wanted to understand what the selling experience was like from their individual perspective. Like always, it was hugely valuable. We learned a lot.  So much as a matter of fact, we are considering a structure change to capitalize on a few identified opportunities.

No one knows more about your selling environment than the people in the field. The frontline sales people hear the objections first hand. They have built unique strategies for making their number and to overcome the selling challenges. They know what the customers are dealing with. They are familiar with your companies sales prevention department. Frontline sales people are in the middle of the action. No one has more data on what is going on than those in the field.

When was the last time you sat down and had an open conversation with some of your sales people? If you’re like most head of sales it’s been a long time.

We look at data from the CRM everyday; average time to close, pipeline, win loss, average deal size, and lead conversion rate. We look at quota attainment, customer buying habits, lead scoring and lead generation. But, the best data goes beyond the numbers. The best data rests not in your CRM but in your sales people and it can’t be put into a dashboard.

Sit down with the people who do the job everyday. They know a lot more than the CRM, I promise you.