Most sales professionals accept that effective and consistent use of a sales methodology is a predictor of better sales results. However, many (if not most) investments in sales methodology are simply wasted dollars. In fact less than 40% of sales people who have been trained in a sales methodology use it most of the time (Tweet this stat). (Source: Dealmaker Index). This is considerably less than the 66% of folks who use a CRM consistently. It is time for the methodology vendors to look in the mirror and stop criticizing poor adoption of CRM. But that is for another post. I wonder however if it is really understood just how much difference using a sales methodology can make.
As you can see from the first chart here – Win Rate can vary by as much as 52% between those organizations where methodology is really embedded in their organizations and those who pay partial attention to the discipline. As mentioned above, Dealmaker Index – a free global sales benchmarking service that is free to all, where you can score your sales effectiveness relative to your peers and gain advice on how to improve – is the source of this data.
So, if methodology is so great – why are people not using it? Well, you can see from the following chart the main culprits; and they are real culprits. Let’s look at the top three reasons.
According to the results from the Dealmaker Index, the main reason why sales people choose not to use the methodology is that Only some people in the company use it. When I have been asked to look at failed methodology implementations I’ve often seen situations where the sales person is asked to use the methodology, but sales management, or sales leadership didn’t even attend the training on the methodology. If management is only focused on the reports from the CRM rather than walking the walk of the methodology then the methodology will definitely die on the vine. This is a recipe for failure.
On to the second reason: What was learned has been forgotten. About two years ago, I wrote a post called What Happens When The Sales Trainer Leaves? The reality unfortunately, is that not much happens at all. Very few sales methodology implementations have sustainment and measurement as part of an on-going program to keep the methodology alive. We believe that the majority of learning comes from on-going application; not from event based training, or even training supported by online learning that can be accessed after the training event. True results are achieved only when the methodology is embedded in to how the sales person works her opportunities. That’s what we try to deliver to our customer with Dealmaker – the sales performance software application, that is integrated into the CRM. And that brings me to the third point. (This might seem a little self-serving – but the data support the hypothesis.)
The third reason that sales people cite for not using their methodology, is that it is Not integrated with the CRM. Methodology – to be most effective – should be delivered in context, at the point of the sale where the sales person needs it. Most of the time that data is in the CRM, and the methodology must, I repeat, must – use the CRM’s data intelligently. If you are forecasting a deal to close in the near term, but you’ve not yet identified the Decision Maker, or have not selected a Competitive Strategy in a competitive deal – the methodology should know that and advise accordingly. My contention is that even though this is the third ranked point – it is actually the most important and, if addressed, will go a long way to resolve the first two. If the methodology is baked into the CRM, then more people will use it, and what has been learned will not be forgotten. Think about it. But, if you are a sales leader who has not yet embedded intelligent methodology software into your CRM, don’t think too long. You’re missing out on one of the most impactful things you can do.
If you disagree (or agree), I’ve love to hear your thoughts.
If you want to figure out how you rank against your peer; participate in the Dealmaker Index benchmark study and see how you score and rank against your peers, and you might get some advice on how you might improve.