Monday, 22nd July 2013
Following his articles on sales intelligence and Sales 2.0, Michael Levy turns his attention to the benefits of integrating sales intelligence services with customer relationship management tools. This article forms the first of four looking at six key sales intelligence vendors: D&B360, Data.com, InsideView, LinkedIn, iSell and ZoomInfo.
The B2B sales environment is rapidly evolving as new information services become available for both purchasers and sales reps. The web offers new ways of obtaining information, managing business processes, and establishing relationships. The growth of open web content and social media has tilted the information advantage from sellers to buyers.
Sales reps are in catch up mode, looking to become better informed while reducing the overhead of researching and re-keying information into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. My previous article "Arm Yourself with Sales 2.0 Intelligence Tools" explored some of the key tools now available.
This article focuses on the integration of sales intelligence services within CRM systems.
How Does Data Entry Help Sales?
One of the key problems with CRM systems is obtaining buy-in from sales reps. They have often looked at CRM data entry as a chore and kept their data entry to a bare minimum. Reps would much rather be talking to clients and prospects, or at least preparing for a call – almost anything but performing data entry.
Sales reps are very bottom-line oriented. If an activity does not move them closer to closing a deal, then it is a distraction from meeting their quota.
While CRM data entry provides benefits to the company (e.g. contact information should the rep be fired, pipeline information to assist with sales forecasts) data entry generates little value for the rep. This perceived imbalance has forced sales management to often take a confrontational approach with sales reps.
Leverage the CRM for Higher Value Tasks
But CRM compliance does not need to be a battle between management and staff. By integrating sales intelligence services with CRMs, the cost to the sales rep in terms of time entering and updating information is reduced while the benefits to the sales rep, such as accurate account information, sales triggers and additional contacts are greatly increased.
Sales intelligence integration thus reduces compliance issues, improves data quality and completeness, and increases the time each sales rep spends leveraging the CRM for higher value tasks such as account preparation and identifying additional prospects.
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