Do you read your vehicle’s manual before you get into your car to drive to the grocery store? I bet the answer is no, right? Once you learn the fundamentals of the road and the basic functions of the vehicle, you’re likely to only use the manual when things go wrong.
And that makes sense; drivers shouldn’t need to know the thirty-thousand parts of their vehicle or the orthogonal geometry that makes up their city’s grid system to drive their cars. They certainly shouldn’t need to know about the engineering technicalities that go behind constructing traffic signals.
At the end of the day, it’s not feasible to ask drivers to understand these components of their journey with any certain level of expertise. The same goes for drivers of any Customer Relation Management (CRM) tool.
An interesting comparison I admit, but the commonality they share is that both experiences should be designed with seamless UI and minimal touch points in mind. The challenge, as it relates to CRM, is that our sales teams seem to be paralyzed by the unfamiliar and uncomfortable when using a tool for which they do not carry a certain level of expertise.
How do we solve for this? Simply put, we need to design our CRM experiences as we would with any customer facing application. We should be leaning into purposeful design, feature sets, flows, triggers, and connectors that automate information. In short, we need to be designing with human centricity at the forefront if we want to make sure we’re collecting essential data about our pipelines.
That’s not to say you won’t need experts. Everyone needs a mechanic at some point and the same goes for CRM management consultants. Over the years I’ve learned that data and analytics change based on the ebbs and flows of the machine, but having someone who understands the importance of design on your team will always drive your data and business forward.
A fantastic example of this is in Ad Sales, which has a pricebook of products that are evolving faster than most industries today. Teams are expected to carry the product knowledge of what their foundation was built on and also be at the forefront for new products advertisers are using today to reach the market. On top of all of that, there is the ever growing rolodex of key players on the client side and the must-know people on the agency side of things, each requiring a bespoke relationship. Taking that a step further, there are account hierarchies that need to be understood for both sales veterans and beginners.
This is where CRM comes in to do the heavy lifting. A well-designed instance will structure your contacts so that your communication process is automated across platforms and housed in CRM for future reference or knowledge transfer. Opportunities can be connected with your company’s Operating Management and Billing Systems to ensure consistency once a deal is closed, automating the work it would take a team of administrators to reconcile daily.
These capabilities are crucial for Ad Sales since it doesn’t follow the traditional trajectory of a standard opportunity. Most opportunities moved to closed/won remain static and don’t change over time with each day. Digital sales fluctuate every day based on what is delivered, the margin on the deal may change at any point if audience traffic needs to be purchased, and programmatic deals may come in below or above the closed dollar amount if channels stay open. CRM systems can stay on top of these nuances with accuracy when they have been constructed with a solid foundation of understanding the business and are built with purposeful rules that keep the flow of traffic going.
As Ad Sales continues to expand from programmatic and into the metaverse, all while keeping a foot in the bedrock of their foundation, it will be critical to design your CRM to build the infrastructure with purpose so that when something new comes around the corner, sales teams won’t need to reach for the manual.
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