OK, let’s get real about sales people for a minute. Sales people want to make sales calls. They want to make calls on qualified leads and on profitable customers who can generate sales and compensation. They are like gunslingers interested in the “quick kill”. You hire them to sell and that’s where you want them to spend their time.
But they are also given business plans and projections to write and update. They also have prospecting and travel to schedule. And they are frequently required to spend time on software training…you know the CRM program, Excel, quote building software, the ERP system and the other third-party programs and resources that are pushed out to them, so they can be “more productive”.
The days of sales people making sales calls and writing up “simple” call reports (primarily for their own benefit) are long gone. Besides making calls, today’s sales people need to master and manage a variety of tasks and complex software. The need for the fundamental call report stills exists and management would be wise to keep that in mind. That means that one of the most important things management can do to help their sales people be more productive is to reduce the sales person’s administrative and non-sales related tasks.
Meaningful Call Reports
Sales people need simple programs to keep track of their clients and calls. That is where CRM programs are supposed to help. But not all CRM programs are easy to use. With over 25 years of sales and CRM consulting experience with hundred of companies large and small, a few of things regarding sales people and call reports have proven to be true:
Sales people hate paperwork and equivalent computer work (Non sales related work)
They need and want simple call reports for tracking their sales calls that include:
a. Who they called on
b. When they called
c. What they discussed
d. Next steps.
Simple! Anything else management might obtain is a bonus.
Sure, it is helpful if a sales person can see other communications a customer has been having with other in the company, and the status of orders. But a sales person is primarily concerned with knowing exactly where he stands with a given prospect or customer, what he or she last said or did, and what needs to be done next. And the faster and simpler means a sales person has to capture and track this information the happier he or she will be.
Today’s CRM programs are more complicated than ever before. Of course, they don’t need to be and there are ways to zero in on the truly important functions that can help make a sales persons’ job simpler and more productive. Managing contacts and account information is important. But the B2B sales person’s day typically revolves around call planning based on previous call reports, new sales calls and more call reports. How easy is it for your sales team to capture and track the information most important to them? Can it be improved? Simplified? Perhaps it is time to ask them, “How is our program for managing calls working? Not for us… but for you?”