Got Skills?

From surgeons to carpenters, from police officers to accountants … every profession uses tools.  And, so it is with sales professionals.  CRM is far and away one of the most important tools in a salesperson’s toolbox!

Professionals need to know the terminology, trends, and facts in their field.  They need an understanding of their customers’ wants, needs, and objections.  They must also be familiar with best practices, pitfalls, and patterns which lead to success.  But all this is not enough!  They must also be highly skilled on the tools of their trade. 

There’s an applicable expression, which I’m not a fan of, – “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.”   This expression gives all teachers a bad rap because many teachers are talented professionals who can easily work in the field that they teach, and have. They just love to teach.  Nonetheless, this saying does make a point – if you know a lot about a field, but you can’t use the “tools of the trade,” you might have a career as a teacher, but not as a practitioner.

CRM technology is a chief sales tool, and a skillful CRM user has a competitive advantage. Yet most salespeople barely use a fraction of their CRM’s capabilities and many struggle to use even the basic features, regardless of what CRM product they have.  Why is that?

I’ve heard all the excuses … I don’t have the time or I’m out of the office. It’s too hard to use.  It doesn’t do this or that.  I’m not good at computers.  These are cop outs!  Here’s why salespeople aren’t skilled CRM users:

1. Lack of Effort – You can’t expect someone in your office to spoon feed you CRM knowledge.  It’ll never happen.  The rest of the office already thinks salespeople are spoiled and they’re tired of cleaning up salespeople’s mistakes and sloppy paperwork.  Break out the manual and make the effort to go through the application on your own.  Skills take time and practice to develop.

2. Selfishness – Heaven forbid a salesperson should have to verify an address, or enter qualifying information about their leads into the CRM fields. The reality is salespeople need to do data entry.  Otherwise, marketing can’t target their campaigns to our prospects to support our sales efforts.  It’s time for salespeople to shoulder more responsibility for the database.  It’s time to turn selfishness into a higher expectation for yourself when it comes to the effective usage of your CRM! 

3. Attitude – What do some salespeople do during CRM training?  Their email and call-backs.  Most salespeople have never read, let alone seen, their CRM’s Users Guide.  When salespeople don’t know how to use their CRM software what do they do?  Too often the answer is they make excuses for not using it.  Or, even worse, undermine the organization’s use of it.  Successful salespeople are creative and resourceful problem solvers – it’s time to use some of that on your CRM! 

The combination of knowledge and skill is a winning combination.  Practice, patience, and persistence are mostly what it takes to develop the skills at anything.  Do you have the CRM skills you need?  If not, it’s time to work on them!