CRM reporting is an incredibly powerful way of arming decision makers with the sort of insights that enable them to make important calls about their business. But there are many other ways in which report manipulation can prove invaluable to an organisation. What if for example, you could use your reports to transform meetings with sales reps? Instead of interminable, unfocused roll calls of current deals, meetings could become highly useful targeted workshops that focus on problem identifying, knowledge sharing and brainstorming, and could improve individual and collective performance.
The first step on the road to transforming meetings using reports is to leverage them to provide the structure of the meeting. By arming themselves with CRM reports, managers are equipped to drive meetings in the direction that is most beneficial to both individual reps and the entire sales team.
For example, managers can avoid any nasty surprises that could arise from a meeting by coming prepared with a sales pipeline report. From this vantage point the meeting facilitator can then swerve away from the generally uninspiring ‘tell us where you’re at with these deals’, and instead can target focused questions as to why a deal is at the stage it’s at, if it is stalling, and why that is the case.
This pinpointing of specific opportunities offers a huge time saving benefit, in allowing the manager to focus on asking the questions that really matter.
In addition, it allows focus upon only those deals that really matter. For example, a manager or sales team leader may decide that strategically it is more beneficial to discuss the progress of deals that are close to the finish line, rather than spend time speculating at length about those that are still in the early stages.
But how do such meetings improve individual and collective sales performance?
An intelligent use of CRM reporting can track sales motion as well as sales activities. Tracking of motion sheds light on the progress of a deal throughout the pipeline, providing decision makers with a detailed understanding of the pain points for individual deals, and if these are common across the business. For example, if a manager is informed of the high number of deals that are stalling at the negotiation stage, then a clear agenda for the sales meeting can be set to remedy this.
Such granular reporting on problematic areas also helps managers to identify where their sales teams are performing and underperforming on both a collective and individual level. If a problem is company-wide then getting the team to brainstorm and table potential reasons as to why, along with possible solutions, can only prove beneficial in the long run. If a particular individual has a common pain point then it can be addressed by the manager in the meetings, and the collective experience and knowledge of the team can be drawn upon to assist them and help them to improve.
To ensure that such meetings are as beneficial as possible for the team and individuals, staff should be encouraged to engage with the CRM and adopt best practices, something which they will be inherently prompted to do so as not to be caught flat footed on the details of any given deal. Additionally, staff in meetings should actively be encouraged to contextualise the reports, as they serve as evidence for all parties. For example, a poorly performing rep might suggest that the marketing team is not assigning enough leads in the CRM, and this can be demonstrated quickly and simply in a highly visual manner.
CRM reporting provides an insight that allows for dissection of the sales team’s performance. By shaping sales team meetings around these reports, meetings become not just general arbitrary run-throughs of deals, but incisive discussions tackling problematic areas and pain points and the sharing of tactically important success stories. The goal of such report driven meetings is by no means to shame a particular rep or group of reps. It is quite the opposite in fact, such meetings provide sales reps with the resource of the collective knowledge and support of the team.
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