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In this episode of the CPSA Social Selling and Tech show, we'll discuss the role of the CRM in ensuring a scalable sales pipeline.
Our guest this time is Jamie Shanks, author, speaker and one of North America’s leading social selling experts.
Listen to this episode of the CPSA Social Selling and Tech Podcast and discover:
* What kind of information should be captured in a CRM?
* How granular should salespeople get with recording social seling interactions in their CRM?
Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:
* Do sales and marketing want different things from a CRM?
* Jamie’s top features from SalesForce
* Jamie’s top features offered by Microsoft Dynamics
Read the edited transcription:
Bill Banham: Jamie Shanks, welcome to the show.
Jamie Shanks: Thank you so much for the invite, Bill.
Bill Banham: Okay. So, today we're talking about CRMs, and we're going to get started with quite a big question. What would you say to a salesperson who says that they don't need to use a CRM to manage their sales funnel? Perhaps they feel like they're organized enough through spreadsheets, or they just concentrate on using LinkedIn to filter folk?
Jamie Shanks: Well, fantastic. I mean, at the end of the day, I can give you a car without an engine. You're more than welcome to push it down the road. Let's define CRM. It's a customer relationship management tool. That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to blow your brains out and procure something bigger than you can handle personally. There are free tools, there's those that leverage spreadsheets. I personally don't think that ... I mean, to me, in a way, that's manual in nature, and that's a starting point.
Of course, for my growing business, we've invested heavily in a CRM, but as a sales professional, you cannot rely on your memory, nor notebooks as a form of keeping you organized on the relationships, the next steps, and that's just a tiny portion of CRM. For me, the biggest value of a CRM is the interconnectivity of other applications that make my sales job easier. So, it depends on your viewpoint. If it's about storing information about past steps and next steps, yeah, I mean, yes, you could use spreadsheets, but really, the real value of CRMs and what we get out of it is the interconnectivity to every application in my business.
Bill Banham: Okay, so again, straight out of it, we're going to talk about all of the different features you can get by connecting your clever CRM with other tools. I thought perhaps we might save that one til later, but it's a key point. So, imagine that you do integrate your CRM with different email marketing tools or social listening tools, or ... I won't spoil the list, because I'm sure you can go through those in a moment. What's the kind of information that can be captured by integrating to that extent?
Jamie Shanks: Well, just use ours as an example, so we use salesforce.com. Every interaction before somebody becomes a customer, so that means we have connected our marketing automation platform, our employee advocacy platform. We've connected our sales acceleration platform, and I'll kind of go through all those in a second. So, from a perspective accounts standpoint, everything we do from pre-sales professional touches, so we're talking marketing level touches, all the way to the sales professionals' daily cadences and sequences of communication, email, social, content sharing. There's applications built on top that keep them abreast as to what to say, when to say it. That's kind of like a sales acceleration tool. Auto dialing and so forth.
Then, upon becoming a customer, we have clientsuccess.com. So, everything that manages our customers, everything that manages our channel partners, QuickBooks. I mean, CRM, think of it as the brain to our entire business. In a small business like mine, it's a form of an ERP. It is the central nervous system to my entire company, and all other applications revolve around it. Salesforce is the sun, and everything else is planets and moons.
Bill Banham: Okay, so it's this big brain in the organization. I like that, that's good. How much of this brain is an automated cyborg? Because there's a lot of talk, obviously, at the moment, about 18 months or 24 months in the future, a lot of sales jobs maybe won't be around, although they'll be significantly different because of chat bots and lots of different forms of AI. Where does a CRM fit into all of that? Will there be lots of current sales roles, which CRM will be able to manage with the different inventions?
Jamie Shanks: I don't believe that's the case. I believe that the weak sales roles ... So, if you looked at foresters data, there's four types of archetypes of a seller. The explainer, which is somebody that does demos and the relationship manager. The great, trusting advisors ... The sales professionals that are adding tons of value, they'll never be replaced. So, if you're a sales professional that is truly there, helping the customer along their journey, you're in great hands. A CRM is your ally and advocate to bring speed to revenue. All it is, it is helping shorten the sales cycle, providing you information to have contextual conversations.
Humans close deals; humans are the ones that host the proposal meetings, negotiate deals, sit in the board rooms. At the end of the day, the CRM is there to aid you along the journey, to help you, provide you information so that you can make informed decisions along that journey. But if you're a sales professional that A, is worried that the CRM could be so automated, it's taking you out of the game, then you're not a value-centric seller. You are a widget, and then absolutely you may be replaced. But that's not the core purpose of the CRM.
Bill Banham: That's wonderful. I've just got this vision now of your boss walking down the corridor and pointing his finger and saying, "You are a widget, sir!"
Jamie Shanks: And in fact, I was working as a ... That's a funny story, because I was working at a software company. This was before I started a consulting company. The CEO walked around the corner with a group of investors and pointed to me and said, "This is our number one demo doer," and I was an explainer. I was the archetype the forester talks about that is at risk. His view of me was I am a glorified tape recorder who does demos, and those type of sellers are going to struggle in the future. Now, the CRM can't replace even that, but yeah, no, I was that widget.
Bill Banham: The best CRMs now, they'll link up with various different social media platforms and profiles and all that cool stuff. Is that actually more important now than recording face-to-face conversations, because it's bigger data? Tell us a bit about that.
Jamie Shanks: All critical. At the end of the day, what I want out of my CRM is behavior information, so activity-based information, as well as results-based information. So, I'll give you an example. If you're in any normal CRM, if you're in Microsoft Dynamics, if you're in salesforce.com, under any contact or account or opportunity, you can log activity, phone calls, emails, social conversations, face-to-face meetings, pigeon carrier messages. You can measure it all. As a leader and as a seller, I want to know how often am I having a meeting, what's the frequency of meeting. Am I meeting average customers every two weeks, or every four weeks. I need to collect behavior and action information. As well, I need to see leads, opportunities, and so forth being created or influenced through various sources like social.
So, when you're looking at it, all of this information. LinkedIn messages, Twitter messages, Facebook, phone calls, emails, all should be logged in there so you can figure out what communication methods, mediums are best for you and your company when creating next steps with customers. At the end of the day, my business became a multimillion-dollar business because I took the time and I ... Listen, it was laborious. I took the time to gather this information in a CRM, and after five years, I have so much data to pull from, I know that if a deal, as an example, takes longer than 90 days to close, the probability of it becoming a customer is less than 10%. So, now it triggers a report. Anything older than 90 days, get ready, because that's a giant red flag. If I didn't have a CRM, I wouldn't know that, or I would have been very subjective rather than objective.
Bill Banham: Now, in one of the many sources that I was reading, written by you, sir, ahead of the interview today, you mentioned that in addition to the CRM, there are three other tools needed to measure social selling success, and they are marketing automation platforms, a content-aggregated distribution platform, and social selling ... Sorry, and social platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Can you walk us through how each fits in?
Jamie Shanks: Yeah, absolutely. So, our marketing automation platform, think of it as the giant net that captures lead information, specifically from inbound. Now, marketing automation has outbound functions, but ultimately, it's registering who's reading your emails and your social messages, but as well, who's on your website, who's checking out all of your online content. And it's scoring and tabulating all this information to be able to spit you out what would be called marketing qualified leads. That is connected to an employee advocacy or content library, which we are sharing content, whether it's via email or social, and to help push buyers off their status quo, or to teach them something they didn't know.
But marketing automation and that employee advocacy tool are connected because they're scoring where are the sources coming from, what sales professionals are sharing content that are actually driving the leads, and then ultimately, the social platforms are the mediums at which the sellers ... Or, sorry, the buyers are reading information. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and so forth. So, they're all interconnected. Think of my marketing automation platform, if the CRM is the brain, then the marketing automation is the hands connecting all the leads. But it's collecting it using these tools, it's gathering information from the content library or employee advocacy, and it's sharing this content on social platforms like LinkedIn.
Bill Banham: Perfect. That just leaves me to say Jamie Shanks, thanks for being the guest today.
Jamie Shanks: Thank you so much for the invite.
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