A Great Argument for Updating Your CRM

I have been a big fan of Jim Dickie and his writing since my days at CRM Magazine. Jim has long been a visionary when it comes to the balance between the people side of CRM and the technology side. Jim’s latest thoughts again bridge this divide in a novel manner.

Mr. Dickie paints a pretty simple paradox that is happening in sales organizations all over the world: the recession has sales managers expecting their reps to do more, with less.

I love this analogy Jim makes:

Assume that you’re the coach of a high jump team. Four out of 10 of your athletes cannot clear the bar when it’s set at 6 feet. Now you plan to raise the bar 10 percent, which would take it to just over 6 feet 7 inches. All things remaining equal, how well do think your high jump team will do against the new performance standard?

This is the classic mistake sales managers make – simply thinking that raising quotas will lift top line revenue. Sometimes it works for a while, sometimes it fails miserably from the get go.

So, what’s the solution to trying to sell more in tough economic times?

Dickie points out that CRM tools are out there that finally do what they were designed to do – shorten all the non-sales parts of selling. He doesn’t really mention a lot of these tools by name – but notes that the web 2.0 world has enabled CRM applications to be more nimble and to access broader data sets.

SugarCRM has the luxury of being a pretty recently built CRM app. So, it has easily assimilated to the new world of CRM; bringing in vast data sets with Cloud Connectors and enabling deeper collaboration with ajax email clients and Sugar feeds Twitter-like chat capabilities. And let us not forget the ability to leverage relationships housed inside online social networks right from your SugarCRM UI.

But a lot of older systems simply cannot bolt on this new web-based functionality into the sales reps’ user experience. And Dickie seems to get that a lot of wholesale change has to happen among the CRM deployments around the world to fully equip the sales reps of 2009 with tools that reflect the hectic and ever-changing sales environment they live in today.