If sales automation makes you think about how shitty your CRM is, there is a problem.

I’ve been thinking about this concept for years now.

I can’t tell you how often people tell me things like:

  • My CRM is annoying.
  • My CRM is in my way.
  • My CRM does this, or it does that.
  • My CRM is custom.
  • My CRM is glorified data entry, or should I say, a waste of time.

Let’s clarify something real quick. CRM is a discipline in and of itself. If your CRM does what is described in those bullet points above, it’s because it was DESIGNED that way. Not because it HAS to be that way.

Now, taking CRM off the table, it’s a lot easier to talk about the current ‘challenge’ in plain English, with no mention of technology. And then discuss the kind of outcome you’re looking for, again, in plain English, with no mention of technology.

You’ll be surprised at how much more fluid the discussion is. It’s supposed to be.

Then, you, or someone on your team, or someone on your staff, or a consultant needs to translate what you’re hoping to achieve to strategy, people, systems, and org design.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

Example Conversation:

Sales Rep: It’s so frustrating to try and reach prospects. I’m lucky if I have 1 conversation a day where I get hung up on.

Sales Technologist: What do you think would make it easier?

Sales Rep: Well, it’d be easier if I could identify who my target prospects are before I try to find their contact information. I spend a large percentage of my time researching who I’m supposed too call and then trying to find their information.

Sales Technologist: So you’re saying, if you could figure out who to contact more efficiently, you’d be able to do more outreach? I heard it takes 12+ touches to get a prospect engaged.

Sales Rep: I’m lucky if I can do 1 or 2 touches a week.

Sales Technologist: It seems pretty apparent why you’re only having one conversation a day. Most of your day is spent on research. Do you agree that one way to give you more time to prospect would be to minimize your time spent researching who to call, what their contact info is, and validating if they are even in your target audience?

Sales Rep: Yes, but that sounds complicated and I don’t have time for that.

Sales Technologist: Let’s keep it simple. I don’t know what the exact answer is yet but neither of us need to know that. We’re going to find it through experimenting. We’ll set a few rules and make sure we know exactly what the issue is we’re looking to solve. We know the benchmark is 1 conversation per day. We’ll know if what we are doing is working if you start to have more conversations per day. Here’s how I might think about solving this specific scenario with you.

1. Can we make it easier for you? To accomplish this it could be a tool, a different process, some support, or a combination.

2. Does the number of activities you’re doing on a daily basis across the number of accounts or contacts you’re reaching out to allow you to complete 12+ touches every 30 days to each contact? (a simple math calculation gives us this answer)

3. Can we separate the prework from the execution? Like, do all the prework beforehand?

Here is the conclusion.

How are you and your teams improving the way you communicate about automation so that you can prioritize and implement improvements to the sales system or sales technology? Are there things you’ve accepted as ‘the way it is’ without stopping to think, ‘Is that really true, can this be better?’