How to improve your business by linking your CRM with your KPIs
One Secret to a Successful CRM: Why Certain KPI Spells Disaster for Your Sales Team
Is there a key symptom of a failing CRM? One that leads to an underperforming sales team?
The question above is one we get asked time and time again, and after years of installing and driving CRM systems, we see that one of the key symptoms of a failing CRM is an over-reliance on a certain KPI – that being the KPI that tracks the number of meetings and phone calls your sales team is having.
An overemphasis on this KPI can be a ‘canary in a coal mine’ – one that should act as a warning about the current way you are using your Zoho CRM.
What can this lead to?
A myopic focus on this KPI can gradually foster the following dynamic:
- Diminishing sales team performance
- Constraining initiative and creativity
- Fostering short-term focused behaviour
- Increase in shortcuts being taken and cheating
- A cooling-off of intrinsic motivation
- Makes holding on to good people difficult
How this could reflect on management?
Placing this KPI at the centre of a company’s focus is often a symptom of the following management style.
- Perfectionist & authoritarian
- Constantly requiring people to seek permission
- Management by tasking and tight controls
- Overreliance on discipline procedures
The problems in depth
This KPI has a focus on the past and lacks a future-focused orientation. It also has a huge focus on compliance. When complacency and a retrospective perspective dominate your team management – high performance, initiative, innovation, and creativity have less space to grow – let alone flourish.
While in some scenarios attention to meetings and phone calls is appropriate – often the figures it generates are out of context or encourage a picture of black and white – of ‘this is the good group and this is the bad group” – of achiever and non-achiever. This oversimplification can cause even the most valuable salesperson to seem unproductive.
the outcome of heavy focus on this KPI may also encourage management to not take any responsibility for the team’s performance – exonerating them for helping/training the sales team to achieve better results.
This kind of disconnection with the reality of business performance is a major cause of management and leaders losing empathy for the sales team and the challenges that they face. When empathy and sympathy are gone, the void is often filled with blaming. It results in the business losing focus on important holistic issues such as the effectiveness of the business model or the quality of leads the sales team is working with, and puts a spotlight on hoops that salespeople are ordered to jump through.
It is important to remember that we are not saying that following KPIs for meetings and phone calls is bad altogether. They are essential – just not as the cornerstone of your CRM.
What is the solution?
The solution is in moving from a focus on process to a focus on outcome. There are many ways to do this, but a good way to start is to figure out how KPIs like this one fit into your business model and your sales cycle.
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