What is your WorkStyle? Built by sales, built for sales, and recommended for the startup!
I must preface this article by stating clearly, that after years of using, implementing, selecting, designing, managing, and optimizing CRM and SFA solutions, I had grown weary of the responsibility. Every time I thought I found the perfect solution, something would prevent my team from utilizing one system for optimum sales productivity. Additionally, being at startups, my executive team always wants to use their sales tool as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planner). This distraction of processes always confounds me when trying to properly deliver resources to sales.
When building the processes that align with the strategy of a newly forming sales team. It is imperative that what you design fits your objectives, not the limitations of your tools. For this very reason, most early forming organizations change their strategy to fit their CRM, or maintain a large portion of their tools, pipeline, and activity tracking offline. It is also unbelievably common to go through as many as three systems when growing an organization. The lost time and resources cost many companies more than the miniscule saving of not starting with the correct system.
Headaches have come with every tool I implemented. Limitations on design, IT based functionality, Finance based process, it was all a waste of energy. Needless to say, I had given up on the perfect solution. Every time I turned to the key elements of what Sales Force Automation (SFA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools should provide, I was let down. Here are three of those key needs:
1. Easy to use tools that speed up the sales day
2. A well thought out process that encourages the movement of sales through the pipeline
3. A strategic framework that enables the leaders to steer the ship
Then I received an e-mail from Dave Hurlbrink of Landslide. He offered to show me a new “Sales WorkStyle Management” solution. I asked him what Sales WorkStyle (SWS) meant. He briefly explained that it was like CRM but much better. I rolled my eyes and allowed him to set up a time for a demo. Another CRM, I was not that excited. That was until he launched his demo and we addressed almost every single issue I have had, or my teams, peers, and reports have had with typical sales tools. As a product designed by sales people it has an answer for almost everything. Here are a few examples:
Simple and helpful tools – Hey team, let’s go fast:
If you run a sales team of more than two reps, chances are someone does not enter notes in the systems. There are two primary reasons for this neglect:
1. They write their notes down somewhere else and do not want to copy them to the CRM. It is usually a case of the exercise being too cumbersome for their busy day.
2. They do not like taking notes, “everything” is memorized. This really is a statement that I do not like your tools because I feel they make my life harder.
Weeks and months pass, and those little things that could move the sale along are lost. Objectives and goals are forgotten or misinterpreted, or even worse, in most CRM’s the ability to find these nuggets is lost to a myriad of meaningless activities
Landslide offers a virtual sales assistant with its product. Place a call during business hours and one of their friendly representatives takes notes, updates activity, moves accounts through the pipeline, schedules and creates opportunities, etc, etc…
You can also e-mail, and or fax in your requests. Think of the magnitude of having your entire field sales teams update accounts via voice while stuck in traffic.
Landslide let’s you manage data intuitively. You are in an account and click on a task, it opens up right on screen and you can click to manipulate anything. Even better, from the home page, when you click on something, it opens up right in front of you and when you close it, you are back where you started. No nuisance of multiple open pages or hitting back buttons over and over again. This alone can saves an inside rep an hour or two of productivity a day.
Sliders to create ranges. This is just too cool. Instead of playing with dates, and you can do that too, you can easily change ranges with a slide tool for month to month or week to week. THIS IS JUST PLAIN AWESOME. Want to see what Q1 looks like, zip zip, then a month, another zip. I first saw this idea on a website selling plane tickets and thought, my CRM needs this…
Everything in one place. Imagine having every single one of your sales resources in one place. Need a contract, click and send. Want to work up a spec sheet, or send the latest marketing brochure zip zoom on its way. Need to start up a Web-Ex? Guess what, it is in their system too. I was expecting to click the mouse and have my lunch delivered, but I think I have to wait for the next version.
Pipeline that helps me sell – Forecasting with a purpose…at last!
How accurate is your forecast? How many notes do you have to read to see what rep is doing what, or how many deals are lost because you really have no idea what is going on. What exactly does 70% mean? Who decided what process you use, the company that sold you your product, an instruction manual, or the IT department?
Landslides complete pipeline system. Landslide gives you a multi-dimensional opportunity palette that is the HDTV of forecasting and deal management. Scratch that, today’s tools are like dial up and Landslide is something from the Matrix.
This you have to see to believe, and at first it appears to be a cumbersome tool. At second glance however, you realize that their pipeline management integrates all of the statuses, previously mentioned resources, media, and content needed to move an opportunity from one stage to the next. Need to get out a spec sheet to help answer some questions, click and send.
Build different processes for different sectors. This might be simultaneously the least sexy and MOST VALUABLE offering from Landslide. I have always been so frustrated that my renewals product C have always been in my forecast right next to my new business for product A, and my offering B deals are being cultivated in a completely different buying process, but have the same look and feel as all those other opportunities.
Does your major account team sell a service that requires different approaches that the subscription sales of your inbound team? Does widget A require a three step sales process, while monster product B need a five stage, twenty step process? Knock yourself out kids, because Landslide gives you the flexibility to deliver the best process to each of your offerings.
How much do I need to know to succeed?
I HATE EXECUTIVE DASHBOARDS… well at least I used to. Everything I wanted to see was not where I wanted to see it. The report behind the chart or graph never gave me the KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) I wanted to drill into the system.
Also, building the processes that determine sales stages, the key indicators, the important steps to go from one status was an offline adventure. Unfortunately the organization’s design never fit into the product I was using.
Here are two solutions for the executive and management teams that afford them complete design and reporting capabilities.
Pulse! One brilliantly developed, interactive and intuitive dashboard. This is one cool engine! In five minutes you can review a team, a person, or your own pipeline in many, MANY different ways . Management of these changes is done through sliders that change ranges and criteria. Also, you can rapidly move from any stage of the sale, any percentage of expectation, and best of all by deal size. Finally you can drill down and get even more finite in your detail. I have never geeked out on sample data as hard as I did in my evaluation of Pulse. I was dreaming of quickly delivering data to my board of directors. Data from my system, that without hours of scrutiny, I could trust.
Now this is more for the consultant or the system designers, but I suggest any of you out there that want to dabble with processes check this out. You can find it at ProvenPath.com, and it is so easy to understand I will share very little here. ProvenPath allows you to design processes for the stages of each type of sale you have. It takes a couple of minutes to architect complex sales scenarios, and determine best practices. I will use this tool for every organization that I am developing strategy for. Why? Because this is one simple beast with a lot of power.
I could go on for hours about Landslide, but have already rattled off over 1500 words. There is much more to the offering. If you would like to learn more, click here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org