By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®
Decades ago I began my career with IBM selling to small to mid size businesses that wanted to migrate from ledger cards to electronic accounting systems. One thing that became crystal clear to new customers was that if the data that was entered into the system was wrong, the reports generated would also be wrong. The mantra at the time was “garbage in, garbage out.”
Fast forward and consider the millions of dollars being spent on Customer Relationship Software (CRM). To quote the late Yogi Berra: “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
Many senior executives haven’t fully understood that sellers are the data entry clerks responsible for entering data about pipeline milestones being achieved, qualification of opportunities, close dates, etc. Many of these entries are the opinions of salespeople.
Whether using Excel spreadsheets or CRM there is a knee-jerk reaction of sellers that are running less than YTD against quota to be over optimistic and show that it is likely they’ll be YTD or better against their number in the next few months.
Technology is wonderful provided input is accurate. Absent that, technology merely speeds up the mess with great looking reports and graphs that don’t reflect reality. Companies wanting to optimize the benefit of their investments in CRM should consider grading pipelines based upon buyer actions rather than sellers’ opinions.