Technology yes, but with more common sense

Written by Antonio Igarza for Buljan & Partners Consulting

The implementation of a CRM software tool in the Sales Department of a company is a very important point. But this will not solve itself the current challenges our modern society has. Technology is not the solution on its own.

If we think of a standard business department, we can see how there is too much information, a large number of databases everywhere. A today´s company is not lacking data, it lacks of “knowledge”. This lack of knowledge may be, for example, the lack of innovative solutions to address lost sales, for example.

Three ideas that make us understand this reality:
a. Technology cannot identify the problems of the Sales Department. This tool, well used, helps you be an innovator, but it is not able to “extract” the real problems.
b. To define and collect the needed data to analyze the problems in any Department (example: Defining Key Performance Indicators).
c. Technology cannot analyze your problem or be the reference to obtain a solution.

Today, a company without a CRM system may seem strange. A Business Department must base their daily work in a technological tool to support it, giving solutions and information constantly. We can fall into the mistake of thinking when having a computer and a program designed to provide data, all the work is done. This thinking is wrong.

Implementing CRM Systems provides support to implement an innovative idea that solves a problem located in an objective, but not the “solution”.

a) Identify the problem that needs an effective solution:
Most companies know where their business problems are, but cannot get to identify them precisely. The answers you seek are actually under their noses, buried somewhere in the data.

The ability to identify and define problems is a skill that must have the Sales Manager. The development of this ability, however, is difficult in the current environment, as many organizations do not evaluate themselves objectively, leaving undefined roles and responsibilities, duplicating tasks in the Sales Team, etc.

A superficial analysis of any department processes on the ground could make a diagnosis much more like this:
- There is no marketing department supporting the Sales Department.
- If there is, it does not provide leads for the sales team.
- A Lack of a sales process defined and controlled.
- No efficient design of incentives, along with a lack of communication of them.
- Lack of real empowerment to Departments.

To make a correct diagnosis of the real problems of each organization must be seen from an objective viewpoint. This view must contain all the variables that affect each situation, evaluating and analyzing every nuance. Without this objective viewpoint, measurements will be erroneous.

b) Define what data is required to analyze the problem.
Having identified the main problems that hinder each organization should perform a measurement problem. Identify the data needed to consider and focus on the search for such data are priority actions in this phase.

If, after a proper objective analysis of existing problems, it is found that one of them is lack of leadership training of the Sales Manager, you must act immediately on this focus. We cannot start the improvement project giving solutions if there is an absence of an associated Marketing Department to the Sales Department, or wanting to know the average time that each salesman needs for closing a sale. Knowing where the main problem is, you can focus the efforts on it. This will save valuable time.

c) Analyze the problem, the solution reference.
Once you have selected the important parameters to correct existing primary problems, they must be analyzed and given a solution. An Objective analysis offers a number of problems, for which reference should be, at least, an efficient comparative example. What skills must have a Sales Manager? What kind of leadership a company of this kind needs? What kind of investment is being made and in which Department?
Benchmarking is the key ingredient in the analysis and results. Through an efficient and objective analysis, the use of benchmarking can provide success, giving a coherent set of meaningful benchmarks.
The value of the analysis and benchmarking conducted objectively, with the right tools, are the main weapons to get to know the real weaknesses. The technology will provide data for everything we want to measure, being a fundamental part of the continuous improvement process to which all must submit.

Every Department wants to be efficient!

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