CRM solutions and sales force turnover
Personnel turnover can be rough for any department in a company.
When someone departs they often do not leave a complete job description and list of dutiesbehind so that a new person can just come along and take over. Then there is the downtime between the point at which the old employee leaves and the new person comes on—but in actuality it is the downtime between the old employee departing and the new one coming fully up to speed that is costing the company money.
Turnover is especially painful when it comes to the sales force, if only because you’re dealing directly with company revenue. A sales rep departs and you’ve immediately lost regular sales from that territory or area. Time passes (and more sales are lost) while a new candidate is found and interviewed. Yet more time is taken while that person comes aboard, learns the product, learns the market and comes up to speed.
It could well be six months later that the new rep starts paying off—if that rep works out.
It’s the CRM solution that can ease the difficulty of that transition…or not.
Lacking Adequate CRM
Without an effective CRM application, when a sales rep leaves a company, it can be a nightmare trying to dig out and then take over and sell any deals that were in that person’s sales pipeline.
You might be able to tell what those deals were and with which companies, but:
• What about the actions that had already been done?
• How closed was the buyer, really?
• What else needs to be done to push the deal through to a close?
• What questions remained to be answered?
• What preferences and specifications did the prospect express?
• What concerns and objections remained to be handled?
In this scenario it is difficult for the sales manager or another rep to pick these deals up, and it might well be impossible for a new sales rep to answer these questions.
Now the new sales rep comes in. That new rep may find a scenario in which the CRM solution doesn’t assist the new rep in learning the company’s sales process, as it is not visible in CRM. That means the new salesperson must learn the sales process (which hopefully exists) and in addition must learn CRM which doesn’t follow that process. The confusion adds substantial time to sales training.
Now the new salesperson must start picking up leads or deals and working them. If CRM doesn’t allow deals to be accurately followed there will be even more time wasted as the rep devises his or her own solutions for properly tracking these deals and controlling them, while also being required to enter data into CRM that will not be useful to the sales rep later on down the road. This is all quite in addition to doing what the rep was hired to do: sell.
How much time do you think it will take to bring that new rep on board—and (more importantly) how much more time before that salesperson is pulling his or her own weight in relation to the overall sales quota?
Enter the Right CRM Solution
Now let’s look at this scenario utilizing an intuitive, flexible CRM solution.
1. After a rep leaves a company it can be easily seen not only what deals are left in the former salesperson’s pipeline but exactly where they are in the sales process. There is enough data available so that the sales manager or another sales rep could pick up the important deals and push them through to closes.
2. Then the new sales rep comes in. In addition to being taught the company’s sales process, that sales process is very visible right in CRM. The rep can clearly see how a sale travels from lead to satisfied customer, so understanding of the sales process is much faster.
3. Because CRM allows for placing of sales training documents right within each applicable step of the sales pipeline, experienced sales reps can share their wisdom and everyone—including your new salesperson—can take advantage. Training is much smoother.
4. Because data on in-progress sales is much more accurate and clear, it is possible for the new sales rep to pick up sales left incomplete by the former rep.
5. And last but certainly not least: with all possible confusion removed from the runway, that rep can be brought on board and will be up to speed in remarkably less time than it would have taken before when using inadequate CRM.
When it comes to sales force turnover, the right CRM solution makes transitions as smooth and as painless as possible.
Click here to see what such a CRM solution looks like.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.