Did I Purchase a CRM or a Sales Methodology?

People talk about “getting on a new CRM” to solve the problem of disorganized or dysfunctional sales efforts. There is a common lack of awareness that when you’re buying a Customer Relationship Management tool, you’re usually not buying a sales process or methodology along with it. I would argue that’s the primary reason CRM implementations perform poorly.

A CRM can be a great piece of technology, but it is designed as a delivery mechanism. Similar to how purchasing an electric guitar will not turn you into a rock star, CRM won’t fix your sales process. Nor will any piece of technology, for that matter. We can continue to purchase bigger and better tools, but they will continue to fail us if we don’t arm our sales teams with a methodology to drive how they use it.

The key to a successful CRM implementation is separating the medium from the message; it can become an integral part of your sales team’s day if marketing plugs in the right content and strategy to make it sing. This starts to make sense if we look at CRM from a sales rep’s perspective rather than a manager’s perspective. Without buyer personas, a map of the customer buying process or stage-specific buyer content, a CRM is just a television playing static—not so fun to sit in front of for hours each day just because “my manager says so.”
I urge CRM providers to start labeling their products with “Sales Methodology Sold Separately!” The good ones are already doing this.

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