If you’re not measuring sales engagement with customers using your CRM, then your speeches and slogans about the desire to create a compelling customer experience and build lasting relationships with customers by focusing on customer service are worthless.
It’s not going to happen without holding the sales team accountable to specific measurement of the depth of their relationship with customers. Face it, the sales team initiates the relationship and builds its foundation by learning a lot about the customer that later will be leveraged by service, support, operations, accounting, etc. If the sales team does a poor job of either:
- Gathering in-depth information about the customer, their needs and their motivations
- Documenting and sharing that information in easily accessible, ready to use ways
…Then the entire organization is doomed to treat every single the customer the same, repeating the same
questions, making the same false assumptions and generally underwhelming the customer.
Practicing Empathy = Customer Experience = Using CRM Properly
I recently heard a great technique for “practicing empathy”: As you’re walking around through your life each day, imagine you’re at the bottom of the well and everyone you encounter is peering over the edge of the well and could be able to help you out of the well. How would you treat them if they could save you?
What a great perspective! I find salespeople can have trouble getting good at asking questions, listening and mining for real problems they can help their customers with and their true motivations. Long term, developing a strong sense of empathy is the goal. However, this is definitely not something you can master in a ½ day sales training session.
It is the job of every sales leader to define exactly what information salespeople are expected to learn about customers and standardize how that information is to be shared with the rest of the team. That’s the foundation of a great customer service experience for your clients.
Don’t Let CRM Ruin Customer Experience
Now, we’re not talking about salespeople typing long blurbs of notes into the CRM solution every time they speak with a customer. That’s too hard to measure and not very useful to others. Management has to define a short list of specific data points that must be learned about each customer and those should be fields in the CRM with drop downs to choose from. That way the salesperson can easily see what they don’t know yet, ask those questions, quickly select the customer’s answer and now the CRM can be searched for this information across thousands of customers. Additionally, now everyone in the organization can easily do the same thing without repetition.
Most importantly, sales management can easily create CRM dashboards that show which salespeople are creating lots of leads but, not getting all the questions answered and which salespeople are gathering and documenting this information consistently. And thus, carrots and sticks can be distributed appropriately.
Sadly, this is not the norm. The result is that in spite of lots of best intentions, your focus on customer experience and customer service and relationships ends up depending on a very small group of key individuals who just happen to have the gift of empathy and a great memory with which to manage relationships.
These key employees may have gotten you where you are today but, there aren’t enough of them in the world to help you grow into the organization you want to be. Making relationships and your business scalable requires doubling down on tailoring your CRM and sales management process to encourage learning and sharing what matters.