Choosing a Sales Intelligence Solution Your Team Will Easily Adopt

I recently ordered a new dishwasher for my home.  Unfortunately, it arrived in the wrong color and I had to call the support number for the retailer.  After giving them five or six pieces of identifying information they finally agreed that I was the customer I claimed to be.  I quickly explained my problem and the rep put me on hold for fifteen minutes.  When he returned, he explained that he couldn’t help me because the item was still flagged as “In transit”.  I explained that it wasn’t in transit, and that I wanted to correct the problem and order the proper color before the long weekend.  He reiterated that he couldn’t help me so I asked for his manager (three times with my voice becoming a bit more exasperated with each request).  I sat on hold for another ten minutes before the line went dead.

Back to step one…ugh.

We’ve all been through these types of incidents.  What is annoying is the number of places where information could have been streamlined to prevent the problem or to fix it rapidly.  Systems designed without an underlying understanding of customer and employee workflows are bound to frustrate both.  A system which tells the customer, call back later because our computers aren’t ready to help you is poorly designed.

So when you think about sales intelligence platforms, think about the likely workflows that will frustrate your sales reps.  You want them to adopt your new tools, not curse them.

Sales reps aren’t always looking to immediately add an account to their CRM.  They may have a sales trigger they want to research and qualify.  In this instance, pulling up company information is their primary workflow, not adding accounts to the CRM.  Your sales intelligence solution should be flexible enough to review individual or multiple prospects before inserting them into your CRM.  Your sales reps may want to qualify or nurture leads parallel to your CRM and only add them as accounts when they have been sales qualified.

Another issue is the level of integration between the CRM and the sales intelligence platform.  If your goal is to have the CRM as a primary work platform, then sales reps should not be splitting their time between a light CRM integration and a browser service.  Toggling between products and windows is inefficient and frustrating.

Sales Intelligence platforms should also perform duplicate checking before adding records to your CRM and provide the ability to quickly remove duplicate records from lists.  For example, a named account rep may be looking for additional locations or contacts across the family tree.  By flagging dupes and allowing them to be quickly removed from lists, the sales intelligence platform expedites the identification of prospective contacts and locations while ensuring that duplicates are not entered into the platform.

A few other workflow items to include in your evaluation:

  •  Is account information laid out in an orderly and efficient manner in support of quick qualification or does the platform suffer from a database framework with dozens of rarely populated fields inserted between key qualification variables?
  • Does the system support batch updates to maintain data integrity or will leads grow stale in your CRM leading to higher marketing costs and poor message targeting?
  • Does the system provide the sales operations manager or admin with tools for quickly adding new users or reassigning seats?
  • Can sales reps quickly share news or sales triggers via Chatter?

So when you evaluate sales intelligence connectors for CRM, make sure to evaluate the likely sales and marketing workflows and whether they will make your sales reps more effective and efficient.

Have other tips about sales intelligence solutions?  Please post in the comments below.  

Michael Levy
Michael R. Levy is a contributing writer to our blog and the principal of GZ Consulting, a market research and competitive intelligence consulting firm based in Massachusetts. Michael founded the firm in February 2012 after leaving Infogroup where he was the Manager of Strategy and Competitive Intelligence. Michael focuses on information services including sales intelligence, CRM, data hygiene, and marketing automation.
Michael Levy
Michael Levy

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