“I received a note from a sales rep in an entirely different territory, thanking me for information on a competitor in a sales report I had entered into our CRM system a month or so ago. The person said he was bidding against this competitor and my information on several key discriminators for our products really helped him write a winning proposal.” (a Voice2insight/CRM system user report, February 2012).
One of the most important values of an active, organization-wide CRM/Voice2insight system is the continuous flow of current, accurate, and complete knowledge in the system and available through search/query to all authorized members. This organization-wide availability of good knowledge has been the “holy grail” for knowledge management systems for many years. The collaboration and sharing of lessons learned and key technical information can save many hours of searching (often with no results) and can give employees a critical competitive edge, wherever they are working in the organization. This open and collegial sharing of knowledge is a key to what is called a “learning organization,” an organization with a vibrant date entry system and with feedback loops and double loops, where good information is “powering vigorously” around in the organization.
Sales reps will use a voice-based data entry system. A key to “getting it out there” is a voice-based CRM data entry tool that sales reps find natural, intuitive, easy, and fast. If they know they can get their sales reporting task done immediately following a sales meeting, in just a few minutes, without all of the hassle associated with keyboarding and writing, they take to it willingly and with positive business intent and purpose. They know that the organization needs the knowledge, so they give it clearly and completely, with thoughtful explanation and sufficient detail. With voice and the phone, the words, sentences, and paragraphs come out naturally and fluently because these are tools the sales reps use continuously and with excellence. They are very good at speaking their minds and explaining their experiences.
The need is for explanatory knowledge not jots and tweets. Organizational use of its expensive CRM system cannot be limited to just activity reporting, a number or statistic to be entered via a smart phone or tablet computer. These notes, jots, and tweets are not sufficient to sharing the explanatory and experiential knowledge of background and context that makes information useful for understanding, decision making, and proper action. We need full and open voice-based CRM data entry to capture the full experiences the sales reps are having out with the customers on the ground. Words, sentences, and paragraphs of explanation are the life blood of a “learning organization” environment.
The power of knowledge is in data aggregation. We need all to aggregate all of the information possible, amass it in one place, so the great power of computer searching can be brought to bear for an understanding of trends, patterns, and behaviors that are operating with customers and competitors and in the industry marketplace. That is why organizations buy CRM solutions. What is going on our there? How do these purchasing decisions compare or contrast with those of last quarter or last year? Why are they asking these kinds of questions now? Are we seeing a new product development life cycle because of the availability of these new materials? Can we raise our prices now or should we wait for the next quarter – what have our customers done in the past when we have raised prices – what have our competitors done in response? Who is this new company – why are they growing so rapidly – are they taking our customers? The greater the flow of information coming into the CRM system from the sales team, the greater the aggregation of good data and the greater the potential for good analysis, decision making, and proper action.
CRM has to connect top management and the sales team. The more vibrant, the more energetic the data input from the sales team that is flowing consistently into the CRM databases, the more good information is aggregating and accumulating, and the better the searches and queries and yield of strategically useful information. When the top managers of the organization know what they want as information from the field, from the sales organization, when they communicate this openly and positively to the sales team, then the sales people can gather this information and return with it for management use. The connection between the management team needs and the sales team capabilities for gathering information is a connection made in heaven when organization leaders see it and foster it.
A voice-based CRM data entry system, willingly and thoughtfully used, brings an incredibly powerful force of knowledge for good that is available no other way and is the heart of a successful “learning” organization.