At a high level, there are three schools of thought when it comes to what CRM systems are supposed to be doing in B2B sales environments:
- Providing management with much greater visibility into the activities and progress of the sales team.
- Providing salespeople with copious information about their prospects, customers, and opportunities.
- Telling sales reps and managers what they need to do to achieve the short- and long-term objectives.
Wait…what’s that last one again? Telling sales what to do? Seriously?
Admittedly, the first school of thought is pretty rudimentary and outdated. And most sales operations graduated to the second school of thought years ago. But no matter how complete or robust, a passive repository of information that sales reps and managers can access whenever they want will only go so far.
That’s why more and more sales operations are now graduating to the next level of CRM capability…prescriptive guidance. And prescriptive guidance is just a kinder, gentler way of saying, “Telling them what to do.” For example:
- Telling them which prospects they should pursue next.
- Telling them which opportunities are most likely to close.
- Telling them which prices each customer is willing to pay.
- Telling them which accounts are starting to buy elsewhere.
- Telling them which accounts could purchase more volume.
- Telling them which accounts could buy other products.
Now…imagine that this type prescriptive guidance is being pushed to each salesperson. They don’t have to remember to log-in and look for it—every week, a prioritized list of “action items” just arrives in their inbox.
While this might sound like a pipe dream, it’s just the natural evolution of things…and it’s already well underway. So now you have a choice to make. Do you just want to put the information out there and hope someone uses it? Or do you want to start using the information to tell sales what to do?
Yeah, I like the sound of that last one, too 🙂
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