As a tactical sales execution tool CRM has proven its creed. CRM is widely credited as having replaced Excel opportunity lists and having centralized the reporting around deal flow. It has thus increased the effectiveness around sales operations as well as the manageability of the sales organization.
But many organizations miss out on the strategic significance of CRM – which is that the best designed CRM implementations don’t just capture the business aspects of the sales process (as in BANT) but also the needs and wants of the customers. A CRM system that captures the entirety of situation the customer faces helps not just sales – but helps the organization navigate to where the customer’s problems are heading. For a running business, understanding where customer issues are heading enables product management to prioritize features customers will need, enables product marketing to update the marketing collateral to reflect evolving needs and so forth.
Winning organizations capture this type of information in various ways. From brute force harvesting of customer communications, to systematic approaches, such as SPIN selling methodology. In the case of SPIN, organizations require sales reps to fill in the 4 SPIN questions: Situation (what the customer is doing now), Problem (where there are gaps), Implication (what they cost to the organization) and Need-Benefit (what is the opportunity).
Sales should not oppose creating visibility to Marketing, Products and other departments. After all, having a product the customer needs and wants to buy, supported by ample marketing collateral simplifies the sales process considerably.