“In Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’, competitive success comes from competitive intelligence. You can only understand your competitive situation if you know how to gather the right intelligence….The title of Sun Tzu’s original chapter on competitive intelligence was ‘Using Spies’…. Sun Tzu wants you to remember that the ultimate source of all information is people. The closer you are to them and the better your contacts, the better your information” (Gagliardo. The Amazing Secrets of Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’).
Sales reps, out on the road, visiting customers, watching the competition, observing the marketplace and the industry – these are the eyes and ears of the organization, the “spies” who are in a position to see and hear what is going on “out there” and then reporting it back to the leaders. Enabling the sales team to perform at its peak capability should be one of the highest priorities senior management.
The only value of the CRM database comes from a continuous flow of current, accurate, and complete information into the databases from the sales team. Missing, bad, incomplete, or biased information, strictly numerical information with no sense of context or background filling CRM databases is a tremendous threat to management effectiveness.
One marker of a dysfunctional CRM implementation in an organization is given the name “User Adoption Problems.” This is the CRM industry terminology for “sales reps who won’t use the system for reporting their sales meeting information. They won’t use it!” Many leaders seem to assume that just because “they build it, the sales reps will come.” Just because they pay out all of the money and disrupt and stress the organization to implement a CRM system they assume the sales team will jump on board happily and willingly and keyboard in their sales information.
Interestingly enough, attention to how the sales reps enter their information can bring tremendous benefits to leaders trying to improve or to implement a CRM system. They need to realize or remember two truths concerning sales – (1) sales reps hate to type or write because it is administrative work that takes away from selling and they don’t like keyboarding and (2) sales reps like to talk, to explain, and CRM user interfaces are too complex, too hard, too much, and take too long.
Thus, by its very nature, the CRM system repels those it should most attract. Rather than the sales reps willingly and happily entering their sales information into the CRM system, they are being frustrated because the system is forcing them to keyboard and is restricting their ability to explain, to discourse. All the CRM systems want is a box checked or a number or a word or two. For a sales rep, what the system is saying is “We really don’t care about what you want to say, what you think is going on. Just give us the numbers and facts as fast and as simply as possible.”
So, unfortunately, the result of this failure of CRM to consider its primary source of information, is “user adoption problems.” Procrastinating, delay, short cutting, simplifying and understating, ignoring – we begin to get the behaviors associated with distrust, alienation, cynicism, and chronic negativism regarding the sales system.
BUT THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SO!
Sales reps love to talk on the phone. It is natural, intuitive, and necessary for them. Voice-based CRM data entry tools, therefore, come naturally to them, easily, with no learning curve or difficult adjustments or hurdles. The organization identifies the kinds of information it desires reported, the sales rep takes good notes in the meetings, and then when the meeting is over, he/she finds a quiet place with a good cell, dials into the Voice-based CRM data entry system, enters a PIN or security ID number, and then, in an open dictation system, speaks in all of the information from the meeting. All of the facts, observations, decisions, commitments, insights, problems, competitor discoveries – everything. This talk might take three to four minutes (the equivalent of 60 minutes keyboarding under stress), and the communication is complete with context, background, and all of the associated information of the interaction with the customer. When finished, the sales rep just hangs up and gets on with working with customers, selling, and making money. The voice-based CRM data entry system, based on a human transcriptionist model, processes the information into the desired CRM database fields and syncs it automatically into those fields.
Thus, all the sales rep experiences is a phone call. Nothing hard, no difficulty, no keyboarding, no hassle. Just a phone call and hangs up. All of the complexity happens through the voice-based, human transcription system. Because such systems use native English language human transcriptionists, the transcription is highly accurate (near 100% accurate), meaning the sales rep does not spend any time editing the document and it is appearing in the database as a professional communication. This accuracy and professionalism are what discriminates a voice-based, human transcriptionist model from speech recognition or voice-to-text software options.
Leaders trying to avoid “USER ADOPTION PROBLEMS” either in an existing CRM application or with a new implementation, should put “VOICE-BASED CRM” into their web browser and read about the benefits of a voice-based CRM data entry system based on a human transcription model. Based on the cost of CRM failure, the cost of CRM User Adoption problems, the cost of a voice-based CRM data entry tool – specifically to help the sales team participate happily and willingness and fully – has astounding ROI calculation results.