It is crucial to have a “clean” Salesforce instance, but it’s another daunting task to maintain it. Startups are built from the ground up and one of the major stepping stones is promoting an environment of accountability among your sales reps to properly input data and to follow sales best practices.
If reps are not accurately updating opportunities properly (MANA, close dates, value, next step fields, etc) then the validity of your sales process diminishes. If your organization is not on the same page with what the “definition” of each sales stage is and what prerequisites need to be met to progress an opportunity, then how can you create a predictable sales process?
Sales processes are specific to every organization, but if you haven’t properly defined that process then it becomes difficult to measure what you’re doing well and where opportunities need more attention. This opens up a whole other can of worms, how can you forecast accurately? How can you properly coach your reps? How can sales operations report effectively?
Don’t worry, most organizations have some sort of data quality issue and we’ve seen all sorts of Salesforce instances. We aren’t Salesforce consultants (close to it though), but InsightSquared is able to provide visibility into where data isn’t being inputted or updated to provide your team with best practices to create a culture of accountability.
The Road to a Cleaner CRM
We could write a thesis statement on all of the best practices we share with our customers to help them create a predictable sales process, but this is a blog post, so we are only going to share the tip of the iceberg. There are three major steps that need to be taken right off the bat: Process Development, Defining the Process and Process Adherence.
1. Process Development
Ensure that all of your definitions are consistent across your organization (across segments, up and down the hierarchy).
The buyer’s journey also has to be consistent throughout the organization. At each stage, where is the prospect in the buyer’s journey? Are they supported by clear entry and exit criteria between each stage? Once you’ve defined a clear path between each stage make sure the reps are clear on their responsibilities to input the necessary data (contacts, activities, success criteria, evaluation checklist, line items, close dates, next steps, etc.).
2. Defining the Process
Once you have a process in place, clearly define the process, so that reps are able to explain why each opportunity in their pipeline belongs in its current stage and close date period. Make sure you define, implement and enforce consistency amongst the organization in:
1. Use of stages, based on exit criteria
2. Rep actions to take based on stage
3. Measurement of rep actions
Once the terms are clearly defined, sales leaders can send out weekly dashboards to remind their reps to review all of their opportunities and update close dates accordingly.
A best practice we share with our customers, is to email this dashboard to each sales rep every Friday. Therefore, reps will update their pipeline if it is not accurate and execs and managers are able to trust that the pipeline is up to date every week (an up to date pipeline = a more accurate forecast).
3. Process Adherence
Now that you have developed a process and defined that process, it’s time to enforce it among the organization.
Schedule Your Dashboards
Based on what is best fit for your organization, InsightSquared is able to schedule dashboards to be sent out to selected recipients to help automate reminders for reps to update pipeline, enforce data quality, and identify trends in pipeline velocity metrics to understand what’s working and what’s not working.
Therefore, reps are held accountable for properly updating their pipeline, so sales leadership is able to have an accurate depiction of changes and risks in the pipeline. Creating a dashboard for your 1:1s with your reps is also crucial to hold reps accountable to properly update their pipeline.
Setting an Impactful 1:1 Agenda
Taking your reps off the floor and having effective 1:1s is vital for reps performance and enforcing a culture of accountability.
To properly prep for your 1:1, schedule your dashboard to be emailed the day before, or the morning of and be sure to include action items to be addressed. Some action items that we suggest to be discussed are:
1. Understanding How the Pipeline Has Changed
- What moved out?
- Is the pipeline growing?
- Are we setting ourselves up for success?
2. Pipeline Review
- What’s in the pipeline? (key deals, stalled opportunities)
3. Activity Management
- Volume vs. quality
4. Next Steps
- Action items and owner
Be sure to create accountability by following up after your 1:1s. This can be done by creating a paper trail of the agreed-upon actions via email after the 1:1 or a shared doc. Lastly, in your 1:1s don’t be afraid to dive into a randomly picked opportunity to ensure that reps are following best practices on all of their opportunities.
Just the Basics…
As mentioned before, this is a blog post and just the tip of the iceberg on how to create a culture of accountability and data cleanliness among your organization. We are going to leave you with a few best practices to get you started, but to learn more, we suggest talking to one of our Salesforce experts. It takes 24-48 hours for our team to spin up a free trial of InsightSquared with your data, so you can have these real time insights into your organization and address where your reps are falling short with data entry.
Rep Management Best Practices
1. Decide on key metrics you’ll use to measure your teams. Optimize your CRM to make KPI tracking simple, and train managers to lead using these metrics.
2. Establish a process to monitor activity and KPI attainment, inspect and provide proactive guidance intra period to get reps on track.
3. Spot performance issues early by having managers review reps and coach them on a regular basis, based on their goal attainment.
4. Communicate goals at the outset of a period so that your team focuses on high-impact activities.
5. Create coaching plans for each rep—even the strongest performers have areas to improve in order to reach their highest potential.