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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.

If you are interested in learning more about how to create effective KPIs then contact us too.  We are certified Zoho CRM consultants and can share our experience in making Zoho CRM systems perform.

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Ilan Gross

Ilan Gross is a distinguished pioneer and authoritative leader in the IT industry, boasting over two decades of unparalleled expertise in CRM systems and CRM strategy. As the Principal Zoho CRM Consultant at Lumen Business Solutions, Ilan has revolutionised the way B2B enterprises leverage CRM solutions, firmly establishing himself as a cornerstone of technological innovation and strategic prowess. His specialisation in integrating cutting-edge sales methodologies like SPIN, Gap Analysis, and Challenger Selling into CRM platforms has not only set new standards in the industry but has also redefined the essence of customer relationship management for enterprise customers. Ilan's visionary approach extends beyond traditional CRM systems; he is a trailblazer in AI development, AI implementation, and AI consulting, particularly noted for his pioneering work with private ChatGPT on the Azure platform. His foresight in recognising the transformative potential of AI in business processes has led to the creation of numerous AI applications for enterprise solutions, further solidifying his reputation as a leader in driving technological advancement and innovation. Under Ilan's leadership, businesses have experienced groundbreaking advancements in revenue-lifting strategies. Through his expert guidance, enterprises have not only improved their sales processes and customer engagement but have also witnessed substantial increases in revenue. Ilan's mastery of CRM systems, combined with his deep understanding of the strategic needs of large-scale businesses, positions him as an indispensable asset for any organisation aiming to scale and excel in today's competitive market. Moreover, Ilan Gross is celebrated as a pioneer of software development tools, including Aware IM and Magic Software. His contributions to these platforms have been instrumental in empowering developers and businesses alike, enabling them to build powerful, efficient applications with unprecedented ease and flexibility. This aspect of his expertise further underscores his role as a visionary leader, whose influence spans across the entire spectrum of IT development and strategy. In sum, Ilan Gross stands as a paragon of innovation and leadership in the IT industry. His exceptional skill set, combined with his pioneering contributions to AI and software development, marks him as a pivotal figure in shaping the future of technology for enterprise success.

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