My post today is a collaboration with my colleague Dave Boyce, Chief Strategy officer for InsideSales.com (as well as a board member at Forrester Research) and Justin Lindsey, SVP of Analytics for BamTech Media, the media streaming company that spun out of Major League Baseball. Justin is the former CTO of the FBI and the DOJ, where he used data and science to anticipate and thwart terror attacks after 9/11. He holds a bachelors degree and two masters degrees from MIT.
Every business needs Customer Relationship Management (CRM). But CRM is now a commodity. Here’s a conundrum: Although CRM is almost universally adopted, average sales quota attainment has fallen each of the last five years.
Why? We believe CRM’s ability to deliver on its promise has stalled because it is not architected to address the challenges of today’s complex buying environment.
Quota Attainment is Declining Globally
In our connected economy, buyers educate themselves through online information, peer references, and crowdsourced reviews. In the B2C world, Amazon facilitates this information sharing. B2B buyers also have near-ultimate autonomy in pre-purchase education. Many buying decisions can be made with no sales rep involved at all.
Today’s buying styles vary and are determined by the individual buyer.
Unlike B2C, complex organizational purchasing decisions require coordination among multiple decision makers. These decisions can be non-linear and recursive, and the approval process varies by company.
Today’s organizational purchasing decisions are non-linear.
CRM isn’t Enough
CRM software first emerged in the 1980s, before the internet was prevalent. To organize sales efforts it followed a linear construct, with opportunities following a single-threaded, phase-based path toward the close.
But buyers are pursuing individualized and non-linear paths. So how can a sales rep trained in a single linear selling process possibly know the course of action that will suit individual prospects the best?
Unless you’ve sold to the person and organization before, you don’t know how to get a deal done.
CRM is simply not suited to deliver the answers to the questions “who should I engage?” and “how should I engage them?” These are things an experienced rep already knows, especially if they’ve sold to a particular organization before. But these answers are not within CRM.