CRM, Sales 2.0 And Compliance
Hang around any conference about CRM or any of the Sales 2.0 tools and sooner or later the issue of compliance comes up. Compliance is basically code for, “How do we get the sales people to use this stuff?” Virtually every CRM system has standard reports for managers to look at compliance. They can monitor who logs on, for how long, how frequently they are using the system. Various techniques are used to increase utilization, improving compliance—some of the techniques border on the draconian.
It’s interesting, I seldom hear conversations about compliance in any other sense. Think about it for a moment, how often do you hear heated discussions about Outlook (or whatever email system you use) compliance? What about Word, PowerPoint, or Excel (Again, substitute your favorite product names)? When we want people to search for information on the web, we don’t talk about Google or Bing compliance. The first thing a new hire looks for is a computer with all the log-ons and id’s, they know they can’t do their job without these tools or a computer.
I think the issue is the value of these tools is obvious and critical to sales people. Most of us would struggle to exist without email. It’s a primary communication channel with customers, colleagues, and friends. A sales person would never fight the use of Word, PowerPoint, or Excel. They need them to do their jobs, they couldn’t imagine life without these tools.
Yet somehow, CRM and many of the related Sales 2.0 tools haven’t reached this point in the minds of sales people. Sales people don’t see the value, they don’t understand what’s in it for them, they don’t understand how it helps them sell more, improve their impact, make their lives easier.
Perhaps that’s the issue. Perhaps we should stop talking about compliance or even measuring it. Perhaps we should focus on the value these tools bring to sales professionals, training them so they understand the value. Once sales people learn how to leverage these tools to help them win more business and improve their impact, I suspect compliance won’t be an issue.
There are other areas in which compliance is an issue in sales—leveraging the sales process, managing the pipeline, developing and managing account and territory plans, and many other areas. I suspect wherever compliance is an issue that managers are concerned with, there is an underlying more important issue—the people don’t understand how whatever it is improves their effectiveness and impact.
Perhaps anywhere when we find ourselves concerned about compliance, we should look at the real issue instead.
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