Your CRM sucks, and one of the most sucky things about it is the hoops you have to jump through to customize it to work for you.
And one of the most sucky hoops you have to jump through, is getting the folks in tech to understand HOW you need to use the CRM so they can do the customizations necessary to get it to work that way.
It’s like trying to get someone who builds mass transit buses to design your Formula One car. It’s not that the engineers who design transit buses aren’t excellent at what they do. It’s just that they don’t know what a Formula One team needs in order to win a race.
I had the opportunity recently to listen to the motor racing executive, Mark Gallagher, speaking to an audience of C-level executives. One of the first things he did was ask how many people we thought a Formula One team consists of.
I thought it was probably around 50.
Gallagher said: It’s between seven and 800, up to a thousand people.
He said that when you watch Formula One on TV, you see the car, and the driver, the pit stop crew, and you see the folks with headsets - and you think that’s about the whole team. But the people who are really running the race are in a custom factory somewhere in the UK. They’re sitting in a room with big screens and they see everything about the car, visually and as data on dashboards - the tires, the engine, the fuel, the transmission - everything is tracked and shown in real time, down to the tiniest detail.
If the engine gets too hot, they see it even if the audience can’t, so they can fix it later.
After the race, they sit down with the crew, and they ask them questions. The driver tells them that the car didn’t “feel quite right” at a certain point in the race. Or that the steering seemed a bit rough. And they look at the data relevant to that point in the race. They figure out what went, or what could go better the next time.
Then they go back to the factory, which they own, and they work with the engineers, who are part of the team, to improve the performance of the vehicle based on this feedback from the ground crews.
Gallagher says that as impressive as the tech is for Formula One racing, what actually wins the race isn’t the technology. Every team has access to exactly the same technology.
What wins the race is the team - and what drives the winning team, is the winning culture.
It got me thinking, of course, about sales. And about what amateurs we are in comparison, when it comes to nurturing a winning culture. How often does a sales team sit down and really do a deep dive into wins and losses, how many of us avail ourselves of the kind of analytics and data that a Formula One race uses? How often do we really sit down and review the process? How often do we listen to our salespeople and our customers to figure out which part of the process just doesn’t “feel right” or where the “steering seems a bit rough”?
Just how seriously are we taking this?
And can we do better?
How can we do better when we’re spending all our time trying to “manage” our technology, creating work-arounds for what’s not working and staying on top of tech teams to try to wrestle it to do what we need?
One thing that really struck me about Gallagher’s talk is that Formula One race teams have their own factories. When they need a tweak to the engineering on the vehicle, or a new part to maximize performance, they don’t go to a factory that also produces buses - they go to the factory with the team that really GETS what they need.
One of the reasons your CRM sucks so badly, is that it’s a one-size-fits-all factory, designing buses and limos and SUVs and minivans - and you’re trying to get it to build you a racecar.
You buy the most generic platform out there - Salesforce - and then you bring in consultants who don’t know your business, and you ask them to tailor and customize a system to make you more competitive. Then you have to go to Salesforce engineers, who also engineer buses and SUVs, and train them to understand what you’re trying to do and why it matters, before you can even begin to redesign the car, let alone actually start driving it.
You buy the most generic CRM and bring in tech people who don’t know your business and expect excellence?
Then you have technical experts building something that makes sense to them but just doesn’t “feel” right to your team. And we pretend it doesn’t matter what the team “feels” like, as long as they get the job done, right? But then our effectiveness numbers are down, we’re frustrated, our churn is up - and we still can’t get the CRM to do what we need it to do.
But what if your system were run by people who really understand your business? What if your CRM platform were so flexible that the people who really understand HOW you sell were able to easily customize it to fit your needs?
What if your salespeople felt like - WOW, my CRM is really helping me.
What if your salespeople LOVED your CRM?
What if it actually helped them win the race?
What if, along with that, you - the manager or executive - could see every relevant data point in real time or in aggregate, could see what your salespeople are actually facing, what’s working for them, what’s not, what’s getting in the way? What if you had the tools and ability to readily update the “engineering” and design of your system to make it more effective?
What if Membrain were your sales “factory”?
I think we really need to stop expecting bus drivers to create race cars. Time for a better way. Time to elevate the sales profession by elevating our culture and improving the way our teams collaborate. And I think Membrain and our global network of sales development experts is the way to do it. We’d love to show you how - contact us today.
George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.
Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn