Steve Reviews a Solution


I know… this is out of left field right? Me doing a review of a Power Platform solution. But I know the team behind it, and I thought hmm… maybe this could be an angle for some new blog content. So, what the hell! BTW, I am not being compensated for this, nor did they offer… cheap bastards.

What’s wrong with sales today?

Sales has always been a black box. Great sellers have their secrets, but would rather not share them. Bad sellers just show up and check boxes until somebody finally notices they did not sell anything and fires them. Most sellers fall somewhere in-between. Obviously, we would like to elevate their skills to the level of the Great sellers; maybe send them to training, etc. But most of the great sellers I know, never went through any training, they were simply born with a gift. Everybody seems to think they are lucky… but they make their own luck; it’s part of their gift. In your sales team, hopefully you have some Great sellers, hopefully you keep your roster lean on bad sellers, which means the bulk of your team are “average”. Over time, some of those average sellers will blossom, but most will not, and those are the largest part of your sales force. You will never turn them into Great sellers, so you need to figure how to get the most you can out of them, the way they are.

Average Sellers

Average sellers know they are average. They can see the Great sellers and wish they had their gifts… and job security. They know they are better than the bad sellers, who may be able to hide in plain sight from management for a while, but all the other sellers know exactly who the bad ones are. Eventually all bad sellers get the boot. Once than happens, the lowest ranking average seller is now at the bottom… and possibly slipping. Average sellers are under the most pressure. And pressure usually leads to bad sales motions.

Bad Motions

What is the worst bad sales motion out of all of them? Desperation. This has killed more deals, and turned more average sellers into bad ones than anything else. Desperation to close a deal, make quota, stay off the bottom… and all right now! There is no time to waste. “Gimme a hot lead and I’m gonna call them right now and make them buy!” They jump on the phone, pressure the customer and hear something like, “I don’t know if I want your product/service or not, but I know I don’t want it right now”,  “Ok, fuck that guy, I never look back, gimme another one.”  Wait, did he just say “I never look back”?

CRM as a “Look Back” Machine

CRM was born out of the realization that most deals don’t close on the first phone call. There are very few businesses left that can survive on the “One Call Close” strategy. Society is much more skeptical today, than in those good old days. So this means you are going to have to make contact more than once to close any deals, and for some things it may require many touches, over an extended period of time. This is what CRM originally tried to solve for, a place to store and track all of this information until we could finally close or lose a deal. Of course it is all well and good to have a repository of your customer history to draw upon, providing you actually go back and draw upon it, instead of focusing all of your energy on new ones.

The Watering Can

Most sellers suffer from the watering can dilemma. They are watering all of their seeds, consistently and evenly, until one sprouts… then they dump the entire remainder of the can of water on that one. While they are desperately trying to get this hopeful sprout to bloom, all the other seeds wither and die. Water in this analogy is of course, the seller’s time. The key is to create more of that, but time is finite… or is it?

Is Time Finite?

Yes, of course it is, that’s a stupid question to even ask. So instead, let’s talk about cloning yourself because that is possible right? Well, sorta. In our business we call the closest thing to cloning, “Automation”. How does Automation clone a seller? By automatically performing routine sales tasks in the background, on behalf of the seller. How many more hours can this add to the Seller’s day, I guess it depends on how much of their work can be automated.

Automation

Automation is not a new term in our industry. Microsoft has made huge strides in the automation space, as have others. To be sure, the toolbox is there, but the machines are not, they need to be assembled. Microsoft has given us a lot capabilities to automate routine tasks, and for sure, if you spent enough effort you could automate some of your Sellers’ time. It would certainly be handy if there was a solution out there that was designed to do exactly that.

The Solution

Okay, I know this was going to be a review of a solution, and one that I think can tackle many of the items I discussed here, but to be honest, I don’t have time to get to it in this post. This is not an intentional “Cliffhanger”, I just got some other shit to do right now. I come back to this shortly.

Steve Mordue MVP

Steve Mordue, a Microsoft Business Applications MVP, is the CEO of Forceworks, a 2014 Microsoft Partner of the Year. Steve started his business applications consulting career in 2001, originally supporting Salesforce.com as a Certified Consultant. Steve transitioned his consulting practice to Dynamics CRM, (now Dynamics 365) in 2011. Steve has been engaged in hundreds of deployments over the course of his career. As one of the leading Microsoft Business Application Consultants, recognized by Microsoft as an expert, Steve has provided training, on behalf of Microsoft, to other Microsoft Partners globally on how to launch and build successful practices. Steve is a member of the Worldwide Dynamics Partner Advisory Council, and is a frequent presenter and panelist at global Microsoft events. The opinions shared in this blog are Steve's alone. If you are looking for Microsoft confidential information, you will not find any here.

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