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How seamless is your sales staff on-boarding process

Here are seven reasons a CRM can save you time and make you money

Let’s say your typical sales person is expected to make 24 transactions a year and is expected to carry a $1 million account list.

While sales has a cycle or is seasonal, that roughly amounts to $250,000 revenue a quarter.

So what happens when four sales staff leave the business during a calendar year and you are forced to hire four junior people. There’s training. There’s product familiarity. There’s account familiarity. Never mind showing them the coffee machine.

The number of times I’ve heard it said “it’ll take them six months to ramp up.” When things are good, six months equates to $500,000 a sales person. Are you prepared to leave part or all of $2 million in revenue untapped? Say it’s a three-month ramp up. Are you prepared to leave $1 million or a portion of it on the table?

You might as well plan for a portion of that lost revenue every year, depending on your staff turnover rate. Whatever that number is, it will leave you in the hole before you even start your year.

So that’s where a well-planned CRM system comes in. That’s where data becomes king – and the CRM is where you should find much of it.

Here’s a list of seven potential ways a CRM can make for smoother onboarding of sales staff – and help reduce any lost revenue due to staff turnover. Hey it’s too competitive these days to leave anything on the table.

This isn’t necessarily “The Big Seven” but it’s a diverse list of ways to ensure you’re getting the most bang for the buck out of your CRM. Take your pencil out and decide how much you’d save in a year if the following issues weren’t a problem. Then add that as potential return on what you plan to invest in a CRM system.

The Personal profile

If a staffer has an account for any period of time, they’re picking up a lot of information about that client. Sales cycle. Contact timing preferences. Personal characteristics. Interests. If that information is noted within the CRM, a new staffer can bone up and hit the ground running. They can drastically reduce the time to build a rapport with the customer. They can give the customer confidence in your business efficiency – and desire for a real relationship.

Don’t call me, I’ll call you

Nothing worse than giving a client the wrong kind of attention. Does a newcomer to an account know what has been presented? Do they have an understanding at their fingertips of what was bought, what

wasn’t and why not? Do they understand the pursuit pattern – or will they be flying by the seat of their pants, forcing the client to avoid phone calls and contact.

Bad data

Good data in your CRM is critical. There’s nothing more annoying than having the same contact in the system two, three times, because corresponding information is incomplete. That can mean basic information. That can mean data-rich email conversations with the contact. Bad data can be annoying for a seasoned staffer. When a newcomer walks into bad data, it’s simply counter-productive and confusing and can lead to disastrous contact with the customer.

Just a reminder

Does your CRM have information pertaining to expiring contracts – and even better – expiring service agreements? That newcomer can look like a hero if they can make a proactive quick approach to a client and save the client headaches from expiring agreements that can hurt the client’s business.

About that payment

Does your staffer have fast access to the financial record of the client? Are client finance restrictions clear and easily accessible as the sales staffer prepares for a visit? There’s nothing more embarrassing than a new staffer making a promise which they can’t keep due to financial controls. As well, a newcomer can walk into a client with a long-time problem. With financial health easily accessible, they can potentially do damage control or start an investigation right at the premise as opposed to the infamous “I’ll get back to you.”

Key contacts

Often clients have various key contacts for different purposes. Does your new employee have a record of key business contacts and updated business information for their assessment before seeing a client? A former place of work received email for me 10 years after I left the position. How do you think that impressed my replacement?

The repeatable sales process

Your CRM is the hub for creating a consistent sales process. Rules can help eliminate missed steps or process overrides. The repeatable sales process is critical for analysis, for determining status of the pipeline and transactions and to compare staff on an apple-to-apple scale. Hey – everyone’s selling tactics may be different – but the process needn’t change. A newcomer with a clear process in front of them hits the ground running with fewer mistakes and a clearer understanding of the expectations from them.

Office speak

Are management and staff on the same page? How does a newcomer – or veteran - answer when the manager ask how much is in the pipeline? Who are your A, B and C accounts? What stage in the sales process are you at with a certain customer? Left to their own devices every sales person would provide different definitions – and that’s only natural. Having a consistent office definition that can be applied to CRM reporting keeps everyone on the same page and allows for better business analysis.

How many of your customer feel they need to “train the new rep.” For a customer that’s tedious and time sucking. It’s sadly a dangerous time for a client to look around at the competition who is familiar with the business and in hot pursuit.

Let your CRM do your organizing for you. Let it train your newcomers. And let it provide your customer with seamless transition to new sales staff.

Your bottom line will thank you for it.

Rick McCutcheon is a Dynamics CRM MVP with expertise in sales process design, social selling and CRM strategies. Rick has been involved in the CRM industry since 1990 as a company founder, senior executive, reseller, industry association board member, educator consultant and professional speaker. He is the creator of the Full Contact Selling (FCS) methodology for Dynamics CRM. He can be reached at .