Business Development Rants and Resources

Lead Management System Setup

Companies are implementing sales information applications, or sales lead management systems,or web- based CRM systems (or whatever you want to call them) by the thousands, every business day. What is amazing is the little thought that actually goes into the setup. This lack of planning is a theme within some previous article and undoubtedly will be for many other articles.

As we have deployed SalesInSync within hundreds of companies, there is one simple mistake that can absolutely bring down the house: field redundancy. This is when you force users to put basically the same information into the database in two or more different spots. The most common example is having both sales Cycle Stage – where they are in the broad spectrum as they move through the funnel – and another field that classifies the record by whether they are just a suspect, or a prospect that has not yet had a proposal, or one that has had a proposal, or is now a customer. Sound identical? Well, yeah! So why do so many companies have databases that are set up like that?

An extreme example that I encountered the other day was a setup where the company had one field for the ABBREVIATION of the Lead Source, and another for the FULL NAME of the Lead Source! This type of thing destroys the database, and then ultimately takes the entire sales information infrastructure with it.

You see, as salespeople fill out information on the form, whether it is web or locally-based, they will not reliably take the time to make sure these redundant fields are filled out or are in agreement. In fact, even presenting a salesperson with a form such as this will make the smart ones question the value of the program as a whole, and they will ultimately use the database only in the way that it benefits THEM because their confidence in the intelligence or abilities of the rest of the organization is shaken, no matter how subtly and/or subconsciously. Once that data is not reliably entered, its value as a tool for analysis by sales management and marketing is greatly reduced. And then the ugly part happens – the database itself is deemed “ineffective”, and that is blamed on the salespeople, and the database, and everyone else that has come within a half a mile of it. The solution is to chuck out the old database and start over. The cost of doing this enormous, and it happens every day.

A sales activity database needs to have fields that are mutually exclusive, and that reflects the philosophy of sales management with respect to the sales process. Ideally, Marketing will have a role in its design, to the extent that their efforts feed those processes.

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Lead Management and CRM | , , , | Leave a comment