Investing in a CRM System will fail unless you teach your sales team a system for communicating with your prospects and customers.

The system is really quite simple and it falls into three distinct buckets.

3 Big Buckets

  1. Product and Service Knowledge
  2. Customer, Markets and Competition
  3. Sales Process

The secret sauce is in the detail, so when I mentor sales teams I include these details in each category:


#1 Product & Service Knowledge

  1. Detailed understanding of the products and their technical specifications.
  2. How to use the products.
  3. The symptoms that imply your products could improve the performance of the prospect.
  4. The outcomes they achieve. The real business results that are possible. What makes those results unique.
  5. The ROIs of each product and the reasons why.
  6. All of the potential pricing options.
  7. How to integrate them into a business.
  8. How to demo the products in the context of the prospect’s environment.
  9. Technical FAQs and their answers.
  10. An understanding of previous technical problems solved.
  11. Test the team’s knowledge on the above every month.

#2 Customer, Markets & Competition

  1. The ideal persona that the various products are aimed at,
  2. The major issues driving the success of prospects in key sectors.
  3. The marketing story behind each product explaining the reason to exist.
  4. The top 50 prospect companies in each sector.
  5. The market structure of key sectors eg number of players, relative size, the size of their investment in your products etc
  6. A cheat sheet of key competitors explaining the differences in prices and features.
  7. Their competitive positioning quantified with results achieved.
  8. A detailed understanding of all case studies highlighting the challenge, solution and results.
  9. Market share stats.
  10. Reasons why customers have bought in the past.

#3 Sales Process

  1. Teach the detailed sales process you expect every member of the team to follow, eg I always embed the Prime Process because it focuses on improving the performance of the customer as a goal rather than the winning of POs.
  2. Build a playbook that demonstrates how to use the Sales Process.
  3. Teach the team how to record each stage of your sales process in the CRM whether it’s Salesforce, ACT, home grown.
  4. Assign probability to each stage of the sales process to allow weighted forecasts to be generated.
  5. Explain how sales leads are allocated.
  6. Explain how the sales targets and commissions work.
  7. Explain how the proposal system works.
  8. Teach and role play various versions of the sales scripts that marry the marketing narrative with great investigative questions.
  9. Teach basic strategic account management techniques and embed tools that allow the farming and mapping of customers.
  10. Explain the invoicing system and the importance of staying close to the customer regarding cash collection.

I’m seeing category #1 being done quite well but then never reinforced so knowledge weakens over time. I rarely see category #2 taught at all. Category #3 often gets confused with sales techniques and with CRM systems. Neither of which is a world class sales process.

This approach to Sales Leadership will engage your team and lead them to understand the benefit of a simple CRM System. Without the knowledge garnered through studying category #1 and #2 above, it is impossible to execute a world class sales process at #3.

And without a sales process, I’d recommend your team understand basic spreadsheets and how to answer the phone because all they’ll be doing is taking orders!

CRM systems are the backbone of a world class sales team. They measure the key components of success long before the PO arrives. They measure selling value. They measure customer success.
But without the right environment they will never deliver the sales success you desire.

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