April Blog Series: Spring Cleaning
Insights from: Wendell Simmons (Product Management at Fullscope) and Ashley Kleeman (Fullscope Microsoft CRM Business Analyst)
B2B sales cycles are becoming longer and more complex as competition expands. The level of detail and effort required involves more steps, communications, and resources. Many sales organizations still expect the account manager to micro-manage ever growing ad-hoc "Deal Teams" to keep the sale on track to closure. But the reality is that modern B2B sale cycles are multi-faceted sales projects and the account manager is the project manager. And the simple Opportunity record in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is inadequate to support the process. Acknowledging that sales should be treated and managed as projects doesn't imply that tools like Microsoft Project are the go-to solutions. These tools are designed for a different kind of project. But the familiar CRM Opportunity can be configured to provide sales with many project management benefits.
I called Ashley to find out more about Sales Projects.
Ashley, if I ask my friends and neighbors about sales processes they think in terms of one click shopping online, which is common in the consumer space. But as we know sales in the manufacturing world is very different. To use the "C" word, it involves collaboration between sales, service, and engineering teams to close a deal.
Yes, it's complex, even if the product itself is very simple like a metal bracket. As a result, the cost of sales eats into profitability. Also, money is often left on the table when account teams make selling & negotiation decisions based on incomplete, or worse, inaccurate information.
And when the selling team includes one or more partners the complexity skyrockets, response times grow, and management loses visibility into the state of the deal. This just opens the door for the competition. How has Fullscope helped clients?
Many sales organizations use CRM to track leads which progress into opportunities and hopefully, orders. But like we've discussed, sales are more complex than that.
What we've done is extend CRM with the ability to:
- Manage more complex product configurations,
- Incorporate departmental and partner activities, and
- Management of sub-projects required to drive the deal to closure.
I know there's a lot of folks out there trying to keep all of the balls in the air by hand, or maybe with spreadsheets at best. What steps can they take on the road to better B2B sales management?
- Acknowledge that a complex deal is really a master project with concurrent sub-projects.
- Leverage CRM based collaboration to coordinate communication between participants
- Modify your CRM functionality to support a repeatable sales project process.
There you have it folks, three steps to taming the complex sales beast.