How to use Zoho CRM for sales forecasting

Use Zoho CRM to jump at business opportunity

One key challenge we see our Zoho CRM customers have is in using their sales forecasting module correctly. It is especially important in some industries as it can be a critical tool in managing accounts and sales.

The sales forecasting module of Zoho CRM allows you to see your business’s effectiveness more clearly as well as where you are missing out on opportunities.

An example of an industry that the Zoho CRM sales forecasting module is especially useful for is the spare parts sector of the automotive industry. Using this tool, a spare parts distributor can easily work out the maximum revenue each mechanic can generate in a workshop. By deploying the Zoho Business Intelligence engine we can calculate the maximum revenue each mechanic shop can yield by dividing the revenue by the number of mechanics. This result can then be displayed automatically in Zoho CRM.

Zoho’s dynamic data integration can extend to your accounting system, ERP, distribution system, and inventory system. Once this information is in Zoho CRM, account managers and sales people can see if they are missing out on sales.

What’s more, Zoho CRM can easily display the revenue by account and even by category. You can drill-in even more deeply by displaying the budget per account and per product category. Zoho CRM allows you to go one step further by displaying the category break down by number of orders. You can even see each category by revenue, order number, period of time, and compare the buying pattern to another time period.

Zoho CRM’s flexible interface also allows information to be displayed chronologically. You can display information by month and by year. This allows you to see and compare figures between years and/or months, thus giving you insights into the seasonality of your market.

Details like this provide the sales person the specific knowledge of where each issue is in each account and or when new issue is coming up.

For management, full visibility of trends and patterns can be derived. This helps managers steer the business and increase the effectiveness of their account management. Ultimately, Zoho CRM helps you strike when an opportunity comes up, rather than letting these sources of business be snatched up my competition.

Zoho CRM can show you why you won or lost a sale

Zoho CRM can show you why some reps succeed and others fail

Most of our Zoho CRM customers can easily make a link between sales results and lead sources. From this connection they find it relatively easy to identify the most effective way to advertise and bring business in.

The following questions remain more difficult to answer:

Why did we win this sale? Or why did we lose this sale? How can we minimize the loss of good leads?

Added to these questions is the often wide disparity between the performances of different sales reps.

However in some industries the performance of sales reps can be analyzed and predicted with Zoho CRM. If you operate in such an industry there is good news; guidance can be provided to reps to really improve their performance, especially when it comes to helping reps minimize the loss of quality leads. You can bring performance up to a point where if a quality lead is engaged by a good rep, the likelihood of a sale is very high.

One industry where Zoho CRM is particularly useful is automotive sales. In an industry like this we can ask the following question:

Is there any causation between a sales person’s activity and the outcome of the sale?

The parameters we then need to monitor with Zoho CRM are: the rep’s activity, the activities repetition, and the timing of the activity in relation to the outcome of the sale.

To shed light on these dimensions of business activity a company needs to use Zoho CRM to generate the following reports:

  1. All the activity types for sales won and lost
  2. All the activity types and repetition for won and lost
  3. All the activity type,repetition and timing for won and lost

By drilling into these Zoho CRM reports a business can begin to identify the activities that are helping sales people succeed in the sales process

A business will be able to see in good resolution the differ over dealership, sales person and be able to provide feedback to improve performance.

This is one of the ways that we can use Zoho CRM to help make data meaningful to your business, and as a result allow you to steer your team to success.

Moving you along with expert data migration

The lost and essential art of data migration and cleaning

In our experience, data migration and data cleaning often involves a huge amount of manual work. As a result these projects end up being expensive and time consuming. Most of this is because people don’t really know how to correctly use technology to enrich, clean, and sort the data for migration purposes.

As well as this, data migration and cleaning is usually attempted by people without the right skill set. Even if you are a programmer you still might not have all the skills needed. Then to compound this, while data migration and cleaning is essential, it is a very unsexy and unglamorous job.

This mixture of expensive, unsexy, and difficult is a dangerous combination.

All of this results in data migration and cleaning being one of the most misunderstood and undervalued skills in the tech industry. The nature of the job is results in talented programmers not staying in the work long term. With a significant amount of this work being performed by junior programmers there is a loss of continued knowledge and expertise of a vital skill set for your business.

This complex undertaking can be inefficient and frustrating for all involved. The process often takes far longer than necessary, creating time delays, loss of productivity and often a loss in the integrity of your organizations data. Data migration and cleaning projects lead by inexperienced and uninvested staff create headaches for all, with little understanding of project length and if it is being performed for optimal results.

What can complicate this process even further is when the focus is on migrating your financial accounting data. This is an area where specialist knowledge is required to prevent a loss of high value information and time. It has become clear to us at Lumen that the uniting of strong programming experience and financial accounting knowledge is key to a successful outcome.

Not knowing why and what you need to achieve is a sure way to make mistakes. We as a company have over 15 years of multidisciplinary experience and specialization in data cleaning and data conversion work. This makes us a safer way to complete the work on time and on budget, a sound investment in your migration project, allowing you and your team to focus on the work that is important to them.

Together we can unleash Excel

How we can help your company utilize the full power of Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel has proven its foundational importance within business financial management since 1985. Its functionality as a tool for financial analysis and data management is widely known. What is often lesser understood is the integrative potential of this platform with cutting edge programming knowledge.

Through our 15 years of working with varying scale businesses what has become apparent is the significant difference between how a trained Financial Analyst would utilize the broad functionalities of Excel within their daily practice, in comparison to a trained Programmer. While a Financial Analyst can understand the dollars and cents, what they are often lacking is the knowledge of programming and an understanding of Excel, to maintain and debug issues as they inevitably arise.

Secondly, while the utility of Excel is valued in most businesses, what is often required to maintain the integrity of the information it holds is a database. This addition allows an organisation to trust the data they are working. It is a reoccurring, and often debilitating issue within many organisations that rely on up to date management of large amounts of data, resulting in frustration and inefficiency for your team. ‘How do we maintain up to date data?’ is a serious question that all businesses face. We have the experience and skills to set up functional systems that will ensure your business is making decisions with the right information. The alternative is akin to using an old map to navigate new roads, and expecting to get your destination successfully. Needless to say, there are often tears.

Therefore, entrusting your organisations growth and development in a company with specialist experience in data, Excel and database programming, is a safer and smarter investment. If data accuracy, and integrity of outcome is important to your organisation our Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) can build a financial model fit for you. The benefit this brings to you is the security of having your financial system supported by a team of expert database programmers working alongside the CFA.

Our integration team can extract data from most current systems and develop this into a tool that is reliable and functional. Bringing you and your team peace of mind, and clarity of information.

SEO training: Executive & Hands On – Part 3 of 3

In our final post outlining our SEO services we turn our focus to our ‘Hands On SEO’ training.

‘Hands On SEO’ is all about equipping the SEO implementers with the skills they need to do their job. Our training will mean that the relevant staff will be able to work on a websites SEO week in, week out.

There is some overlap with the ‘Executive SEO training in that both groups need to understand the fundamentals, strategy,  and tools, but the ‘Hands On SEO’ training goes much more in depth with the technical execution of these principals.

Goals of Hands On SEO

By the end of the training we aim for implementers to be able to:

  • Use the tools of the SEO trade – especially for performance measurement.
  • Contribute meaningfully to SEO strategy development.
  • Be competent in the technical aspects of SEO (onpage and offpage).
  • Be able to develop useful content for their website that is useful for both their customers and SEO.
  • Have developed an increased synchronisation and collaboration with sales staff.

Hands On SEO –  meeting 1 of 4

 Meeting one of the ‘Hands On SEO’ training begins with a run through of all the relevant tools we will use with out SEO efforts.

Once you have a solid understanding of these we then put them to work and audit your current website.

Hands On SEO –  meeting 2 of 4

The second meeting focusses on SEO strategy.  This is an aspect that also gets taught on the Executive path, but it is important that implementers can support in SEO planning and also understand SEO strategy enough to be able to put their work in context.

Strategy is arguably the most important step in SEO.  It is also probably the hardest step because it does not involve mindless busy work, instead it involves rigorous thinking.  To do it in the most effective way businesses will ask (and answer) some tough questions about the businesses sales cycle.

Hands On SEO –  meeting 3 of 4

In this meeting we roll up our sleeves up and get into the onsite SEO.

When we say ‘onsite SEO’ we are talking about everything that can be done on you website (www.yourbusiness.com) to improve SEO.

Hands On SEO –  meeting 4 of 4

After Onsite SEO has been covered we then teach you how to strengthen your offpage SEO. As the name suggets, this concerns everything that can be done outside of your website that will improve SEO.

This is first done through demonstration  how linkages work and the do’s and don’t’s of building them.

The balance of meeting 4 is used to review everything covered and to allow you to run any specific questions by us. By spending time on your business-specific questions we hope that after meeting four you will be able to hit the ground running.

Where to from here

At this point both your executives and implementers will have the skills they need to carry out the heavy lifting when it comes SEO.

They will still need more experience to become SEO experts, and there may be times when more help is needed (for instance if a highly technical challenge comes up) – but for the most part you can begin to move forward armed with the right tools and perspective.

As mentioned in the first post in this series, we see the ideal set up as a hybrid between outsourcing to a SEO consultant and using an in-house team. We are happy to  discuss with you where along this spectrum is ideal for you.

Our aim is for your business to have a sense of independence and self reliance, with our job being  to teach and guide you in ways you can use technology to improve you business performance.

If you are interested in finding out how your business can use SEO to enhance its sales cycle  then contact us for a free consultation.

SEO training: Executive & Hands On – Part 2 of 3

Continuing our series outlining our SEO services we elaborate on our ‘Executive SEO’ training.

In this training path we want to equip executives with the relevant knowledge to use SEO in their strategic decision making, and to evaluate SEO application. Our aim is also to prevent executives making some of the SEO mistakes we see all too often.

Short-sighted SEO

One of the most common mistakes companies make when it comes to SEO is only considering SEO as part of website performance.

There are a number of problems with this myopic approach.

One of the big problems  is that getting to page one on Google for a keyword (or any other search engine for that matter) may feel  nice, but companies should ask the question ‘So what?’. The ‘so what?’ could also take the form of the following questions:

  • How does ranking in this keyword help me sell?
  • Does our target market use this keyword when they search for our product/services?
  • Does our high ranking lead to sales? If not, why?

It is only when these questions (and many more) are answered that SEO work becomes meaningful. And by meaningful I mean ‘increases revenue/business performance”.  To make SEO really work a business needs to do something difficult – it needs to think critically. This is a key aspect of our ethos, and something that is relevant to all our services: CRM, email-marketing, business analytic etc.

By answering these questions SEO becomes something that is considered as part of a company’s marketing strategy as opposed to just when thinking about the website. Remember: we work on SEO what we are really working on is your sales cycle.

Another problem is that when executives don’t understand SEO then it is unlikely that SEO will be a company wide effort.

This often takes the form of all SEO efforts being vested in only one person – often someone in the marketing department or a SEO consultant. The problem with this approach is that often these people do not know the business intimately and therefore do not understand how the sales cycle works.

Only when executives, marketers, developers, copywriters, content creators, and sales people are on the same page can SEO be executed in the most effective way. Having multiple people at different levels fluent with SEO you also have the ability to leverage sales even more when SEO is integrated with CRM and email marketing.

Goals of Executive SEO

By the end of the training we aim for executives to be able to:

  • Assess the performance of their their website
  • Develop appropriate SEO goals and strategy
  • Make effective plans to achieve these goals
  • Develop an understanding of how SEO fits in the company’s wider sales cycle.
  • Effectively participate in keyword planning

Executive SEO –  meeting 1 of 2

As mentioned in our last post in this series,  Executive SEO training generally follows the pattern of two three hour meetings.

The first meeting starts with an introduction to the main tools used in SEO work.

Using these SEO tools we will then peruse your business’s online presence.  In doing so we will identify strengths and weaknesses and areas where attention probably is best  focused.

In this meeting we also discuss performance measurement. As leaders of the business it can be helpful to understand the ROI your SEO efforts have. Here we show you the range of options you have that can help you get a concrete picture for how much business your website is bringing you.

Executive SEO –  meeting 2 of 2

In the second lesson we cover SEO goal setting,  keyword planning, and how to incorporate SEO into marketing decision making.

At this point we begin to discuss the fundamental question of ‘where is SEO relevant to our business? 

While it is often a fantastic area to develop, some business may be better suited for pay-per-click campaigns, or even more traditional marketing efforts.

One example where this my be appropriate is where the keywords that make sense for your business to target are massively competitive, with a results page dominated by large-multi national business.  This may mean it is an uneconomical way to find new customers (although often this can be resolved with a savvy targeting of long-tail key words).

Another case where SEO may be of moderate importance would be a business or industry that operates almost solely from reputation and word of mouth.

We also outline the work needed to execute SEO. This includes both onsite and offsite SEO. While executives do not need an intimate understanding of the development side of SEO, it is helpful that they have a basic understanding how how search engines see websites and the elements that are important in that process.

Where to from here

 After this training is complete we are also available to advise executives as new challenges or questions arise. This could be especially helpful at the keyword planning/SEO strategy phase. As mentioned in our previous post, we see it as more effective and economical for businesses to be large independant with their SEO work, but we do understand that expert support is needed from time to time.

Our next (and final) post in this series will cover the ‘Hands on SEO’ training that we provide.

If you are interested in finding out how your business can use SEO to enhance its sales cycle  then contact us for a free consultation.

SEO training: Executive & Hands On – Part 1 of 3

We train people to become practically competent for SEO using two training paths – ‘Executive’ and ‘Hands-On’.

In our earlier post about the current state of SEO we outlined how changes in search engine algorithms have dramatically shifted the SEO goal posts.

If that post covered some of the ‘what?’ of SEO, this post will outline the ‘how?’.  More specifically, we will outline how we go about SEO training with our clients.

The Lumen SEO approach

The whole process is informed by our philosophy that SEO needs to be a process integrated across all of a company’s business activates.  This is reflected in the way our SEO service is strongly connected to our CRM, account management,  email marketing, marketing automation, and web development services.

We are unique in that we approach these as all parts of the same sales machine – each one having an interplay with the other. This synergy is what makes our SEO a revenue enhancing exercise.

Our approach is also shaped by our experience that it is often more practical and economical for businesses to have consultants act as a guide, as opposed to completely outsourcing all of the work.

We see the best results when we develop long term partnerships with business – helping them grow using a range of digital/software tools.  The result is a hybrid system when the client controls how much work is done by us and how much is done in-house.  Our aim is to help a business become independent in its operations by imparting knowledge. link to training

Two paths for SEO training

 The skills and knowledge needed to effectively deal with SEO differs depending on the role a person has in a company. That being said, we believe that because of the recent changes to our digital world it is important for everyone in a company to understand how SEO effects operations.

This is especially the case for management. SEO is no longer something that sits in the ‘nice-to-have” list. Solid SEO strategy is vital for a company to have successful digital operations, and managers and executives need to apply their skills to this effort.

We run two paths of training, both tailor made to suit the unique needs of executives and implementers.

An Operations manager or COO may need to know they ways SEO is relevant in a businesses wider sales strategy, but probably does not need to know the technical aspects of creating an effective blog post. On the other hand this may be a vital skill for a Marketing Assistant to know.

The first path is ‘Executive SEO’.  This is tailored to teach executives how to built, evaluate and execute good SEO strategy. It is to help executives to understand how to factor SEO into their decision making.  The Executive SEO lesson structure is usually is comprised of two three hour lessons.

The second path is ‘Hands-On SEO’.  This training path is for the people at the coal face – the implementers.  It is for the people creating content, (emails, blogs, webpages and newsletters)  – the ones who will have their fingers on the. The training are divided into four three hour sessions.

The next posts in our series ‘SEO training: Executive & Hands On’ we will outline the training for both paths.

If you are interested in finding out how your business can develop its website performance then contact us anytime for a free consultation.

CRM: From a chance of success to proactively creating opportunities

The journey from being responders to actively driving change

The business environment has changed dramatically over the last few of decades.  In many ways businesses have been given the ability to be much more competitive. Businesses now have more tools to use to differentiate their service from their competitors.  However many companies are yet to take advantage of this and still have a passive way of approaching their business operations.  Surprisingly, these problems could be stemming from a lack of business knowledge that results in problematic deployments of tools, poor collection/collation of data, and the inability to transfer data into useful knowledge.  In the long run this can be a big problem as it is increasing knowledge and understanding that underpins innovation.

This does not need to be the case 

CRM systems such as Zoho CRM can be important tools that help businesses move from a place of hoping for success to making business success happen . Using  data, tools like Zoho CRM help businesses connect with the reality of business performance.  Through the right analysis this data can then be used to make wise business decisions that take the initiative in seeking out new opportunities.

It is important to note that while  the Zoho CRM tool is helpful, it is not in itself the driving factor of such change. What is key is the application of the CRM tool.

 With intelligent implementations, businesses will no longer have to rely only on their gut feelings as a basis for their business decisions.  Systems like Zoho will enable the transformation of data to knowledge, and it is this knowledge that will be the true driver of smart business decisions that lead to innovation.

How to start the process

 The first thing businesses will have to do is to centrally store their collective knowledge of their account management, sales processes, and both their online and offline activities. 

This raw data then needs to be analysed, interpreted, and delivered in a way that is relevant to the right audience.  This is all with the aim of having the right data get to the right decision makers in the right form. 

Once this data has been processed it can be applied and reinterpreted to assist in achieving a multitude of businesses objective or in the resolution of many issues that companies may face. Empowering people with the right information when they make plans and decisions is akin to giving people a map when they are trying to get from point A to point B. This process can benefit everything from growth, to operation effectivity,  and ROI.

An added benefit is that this can organically promote collaboration between different departments and stakeholders within the business – thus enhancing the collective intelligence of the organisation.

Iterative use 

Once these changes are made, the process of data collection and interpretation using your Zoho CRM continues.

Data related to the causes and effects of business decisions continue to be collected, and over time this process allows for valuable learning to occur.  Without this process, business experience often leads only to hunches and emotional decision making.

This iterative process essentially means that future decisions can become smarter and smarter, as the wealth of knowledge that informs them grows.

To learn more about how an investment in CRM can help your business make smarter decisions contact us. We are certified Zoho CRM Consultants as well as Certified Zoho CRM resellers,  who are also experienced in using Salesforce and Sugar CRM.

Is SEO now a DIY job, or still one for consultants?

What SEO tasks, by necessity, should to be done yourself and what should be done by consultants?

Search engines such as Google And Yahoo have been around for nearly two decades – during that time they have made dramatic improvements in the algorithms that produce search results.  Many of these changes have been with the aim of providing the most relevant results for the users. 

To do this they have had to overcome websites using deceptive practices that focus only on improving SEO, as opposed to creating content that is both high quality and highly relevant for users. 

Search engines have placed a larger emphasis on quality content – which makes the process of understanding and applying SEO easier for the  people and businesses who own the website.

This has also taken SEO out of the shadows.  Where before it was a kind of voodoo, practiced by developers and tech-savy IT specialists, it is now more the domain of the average business user.  The result is search engines that work better for users.  

How has SEO changed? 

The biggest changes in SEO have been a resulted from the constantly evolving algorithms of search engines. 

In earlier times search engines placed a heavy reliance on keywords and links.  While this lead to major improvements in the results search engines delivered, it also created an environment where SEO consultants could help companies rapidly improve their SEO by filling their website up with key words and embarking on bloated link building campaigns (often using websites known as link farms).

 Search engines responded to these trends by releasing new algorithms to combat efforts to artificially improve search engine performance.  Nowadays these SEO techniques will lead to major penalties and search engine black listing.

These algorithm evolutions have meant search engines are a now a more accurate and mature system  – one where content and user experience is very much at the centre.  It is a system where branding and content strategy is more important than key word density and back links.  It is a situation where SEO fundamentals are still important, but so is having a well connected, social website that is relevant to your industry and is active.ever it is businesses who can do the heavy lifting.

To learn more about how best to approach your SEO efforts then contact us.  We are certified Zoho CRM Consultants as well as Certified Zoho CRM resellers,  and have the expertise to help your website and  (more importantly) your business perform better.

Are these changes good or bad for businesses?

These changes are both good and challenging.

It is good news for businesses that see their SEO efforts as part of a long term growth strategy.  These business understand that if they want success they have to make the effort (and investment). 

The challenge now is that (again) businesses will have to change the way the practice SEO.

 Is SEO easier or harder now? 

The answer to this is: both.

SEO is harder for three main reasons:

Firstly, SEO is well known and everyone has grand expectations.  This has lead to intense competition (just ask tradesmen trying to get on page one).

The second reason is that when it comes to modern SEO, content is king.  Much of SEO now depends on well-structured content that is created in a patient and systematic manner.  SEO gains will be made with relevant, engaging, informative, content that is social and produced often by reputable authors.  There is no getting around the fact that this takes considerable time and effort.

The third reason is that search engines like Google and Yahoo are much smarter.  And example of this is that Google has recently been using humans to manually grade pages for their usability and content. While they have been doing this computers have been following them and learning how to understand and grade a page.  This is all part of Google’s efforts to increase the relevance and quality of the search results it provides users 

On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, more of the tasks required to de well with SEO can be done by businesses.  Even further that that, it is better if businesses can create their own content because it will produce a more authentic kind of content written by the experts in the field.  This means there is more independence available for businesses when it comes to SEO.

What should business to?

There are three main things that businesses should consider doing.

1) Execute a comprehensive SEO strategy that is integrated with all parts of your business.

 A big problem with how many business approach SEO is that they work on it in isolation.   The classic example of this is the businesses who have been operating for a while and get Company X to build a website.  Then after  having it for a few months/ years, they decide they need to improve search engine rankings.  The try and achieve this by paying a Company Y a monthly sum to ‘do their SEO’.  The job is often very vague, and can lack any real goals or strategy.  Even if high rankings do eventuate, companies are often unable to see this transfer to conversions.

At Lumen, we take a completely different approach. We factor in SEO in all aspects of our digital service.  Due to our multi-disciplinary approach we integrate SEO with CRM, Email Marketing, and developing a high quality and high performance website.  We see SEO as having an inherently bi-directional relationship with a business’s wider sales cycle.  As opposed to seeing SEO as a isolated search engine beauty-pageant, we see it is closely connected with a companies business model.

2)  Develop a system for creating quality content

 Many business we come across often have a hard time creating engaging  content that also promotes SEO ranking.  There are multiple reasons that this is a challenge.  Factors such as expertise, SEO skills, copywriting skills, post architecture all come into play. But perhaps the biggest question is ‘what do I write about week-in, week-out?’

 An answer to this can be found in your CRM system.  We have found that systems like Zoho CRM can help you stay in touch with what your customers are interested and concerned with. By doing this a business can keep abreast of the relevant questions that their customers and industry may be asking.

3) Strike and effective balance between using SEO consultants and an in-house team.

 This aspect is the one of the big changes we see in SEO.  In the past, keyword cramming and link building were dark-arts that only specialist SEO consultants could do. 

Nowadays SEO is split into two parts.  The first is fundamental SEO setup (strategy, site structure, HTML etc.) – most of which can be done in one go.  The second is a content campaign. With this content, much of it need to be created by people who understand the business and industry.  This requires people who are experts in their field. This is a service that an SEO consultant is unable to provide.

 We believe the best path forward is a hybrid SEO model. One where digital consultants help with SEO set up, and then teach and guide an in house team to push ahead with powerful content production.  Where exactly this balance lies will differ from case to case, but we believe it is the best way forward.

Conclusion

Many have said that the only constant thing with SEO is that it is constantly changing.  The result of this is ever-moving goalposts when it comes to optimistic your website for search engines.  Digital consultants are still vital in keeping business up to date with changes and best practice, but more than ever it is businesses who can do the heavy lifting.

To learn more about how best to approach your SEO efforts then contact us.  We are certified Zoho CRM Consultants as well as Certified Zoho CRM resellers,  and have the expertise to help your website and  (more importantly) your business perform better.

Getting your CRM and KPIs to work together

Key symptoms of a failing CRM system – and how a certain KPI contributes

Is there a key symptom of a failing CRM? One that leads to an under performing sales team?

The question above is one we get asked time and time again, and after years of installing and driving CRM systems we see that one of the key symptoms of a failing CRM is an over-reliance on a certain KPI – that being the KPI that tracks the number of meetings and phone calls your sales team is having.

An over emphasis on this KPI can be a ‘canary in a coal mine’ – one that should act as a warning that the current way you are using your Zoho CRM.

What can this lead to? 

A myopic focus on this KPI can gradually foster the following dynamic:

  • Diminishing sales team performance
  • Constraining initiative and creativity
  • Fostering short-term focused behaviour
  • Increase in shortcuts being taken and cheating
  • A cooling-off of intrinsic motivation
  • Makes holding on to good people difficult

How this could reflect on management? 

Placing this KPI at the centre of a companies focus is often a symptom of the following management style.

  • Perfectionist & authoritarian
  • Constantly requiring people to seek permission
  • Management by tasking and tight controls
  • Over reliance on discipline procedures

The problems in depth

This KPI has a focus on the past, and lacks a future-focused orientation.  It also has a huge focus on compliance.  When complacence and a retrospective perspective dominate your team management – high performance, initiative, innovation, creativity have less space to grow – let alone flourish.

While in some scenario attention to meetings and phone calls is appropriate – often the figures it generates are out of context, or encourage a picture of  black and white – of ‘this is the good group and this is the bad group” – of achiever and non-achiever.  This oversimplification can cause even the most valuable salesperson to seem unproductive.

the outcome of heavy focus on this KPI may also promote  management to not take any responsibility for the team’s performance – exonerating them for helping/training the sales team to achieve better results.

This kind of disconnection with the reality of business performance is major cause of management and leaders losing empathy for the sales team and the challenges that they face.  When empathy and sympathy are gone, the void is often filled with blaming.  It results in the business losing focus of important holistic issues such as the effectiveness of the business model or the quality of leads the sales team is working with, and puts a spotlight on hoops that salespeople are ordered to jump through.

It is important to remember that we are not saying that following KPIs for meetings and phone calls is bad all together.  They are important – just not as the cornerstone of your CRM.

What is the solution?

The solution is in moving from a focus on process to a focus on outcome.  There are many ways to do this, but a good way to start is to figure our how KPIs like this one fit in your business model and your sales cycle.

If you are interested in learning more about how to create effective KPIs then contact us to.  We are certified Zoho CRM consultants and can share our experience in making Zoho CRM systems perform.