I was recently talking to a marketing executive at a mid-sized software company, and he brought up a problem he was having with “closing the loop” between marketing’s lead generation efforts and the sales team’s revenue output. He mentioned that while the company had recently invested in a CRM solution and some accompanying marketing automation software, that there was still missing data, incorrect data, and a general distaste for the new solution within the sales team.
Having run into this situation a number of times, I followed with three simple questions:
Question 1: Who actually implemented the CRM/marketing automation solution for you?
Answer: We used an outside consultant who focuses on these specific types of implementations.
Question 2: Who built the process and rules surrounding the treatment of leads both inside and outside the CRM solution?
Answer: The same guy, the CRM consultant.
Question 3: Who communicated the new process and rules to the sales team?
Answer: The same guy, the CRM consultant, although I was there with him at the presentation.
For anyone reading this that has been successful with closed-loop marketing, you already know the problem. While it’s fine to bring in an outside group/contractor to help with implementation, the communication of the new process and the enforcement of the new process must come from inside the organization.
Specifically, in this situation the VP of Marketing and VP of Sales should have been the co-leaders of the new implementation, building the process and rules and handling the communication and enforcement. Generally speaking, sales people hate to do what they perceive as “extra” work, and entering data into CRM system qualifies as “extra” work for them. Of course they’re not going to follow the rules set forth by the outside consultant – he can’t issue the stick, and therefore he shouldn’t be communicating and enforcing the rules.
The point here is that process and the communication are just as important, if not more important, than the software. Software is just a tool. Focus on things like process and desired outcomes first, then find the right software to help make those outcomes happen.