Eliminating the Spreadsheet: How to Improve Sales Rep-Manager Communication

This past week, I sat in a large networking company’s conference room listening to an irritated sales rep and his sales manager discuss challenges in their current sales process (as an aside, being able to listen in on these sorts of conversations is what makes being a product manager such an awesome job!).

The lively conversation centered around two big challenges:

1. Managers don’t know enough about the real status of their deals. CRM can’t provide it so they resort to spreadsheets and late-night phone calls.

2. Reps hate the inefficient, manual process of documenting their deals. They know why managers need visibility, but providing it cuts into selling time.

It’s painful. And it gets worse.

The time it takes managers to create, distribute, and integrate manual reporting via spreadsheets cuts into their ability to coach and help move deals forward. And, the time reps spend filling out spreadsheets from their manager keeps them from working — and closing — more deals.

But we can’t just walk away. Closing deals faster does require information typically contained in what we at Clari call “shadow CRM spreadsheets.” And closing deals forces reps and managers to juggle critical information and tasks every day.

Closing deals faster also requires a deep understanding of what we call the “cadence” of sales — it’s a flow, a rhythm that takes place over the course of each day, week, month, and quarter. If you don’t understand it intimately, you’re not going to meet the needs of high-performing sales teams:

Why does this matter? Productivity over Reporting.

Reporting matters. It always will. It helps executives plan and is the core benefit of today’s CRM systems.

But sales is about selling. Sales managers help their team most when they help reps move the ball on deals. Managers know a 10% productivity boost is exactly like a 10% surge in the sales team. So the top benefit of improved rep/manager communication is preparing reps to close more business.

Yet a SiriusDecisions executive report revealed that 82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared. Why? It’s not a lack of motivation or skill. Instead, let’s go back to the conversation above. Today’s systems force reps to sell with one hand tied behind their back. They juggle a staggering amount of information manually in numerous systems — Excel spreadsheets, Google docs, Dropbox — and then enter progress manually into the CRM system.
Meanwhile, we force their manager to spend time cobbling together “shadow CRM” spreadsheets, eating into their time supporting reps.

It’s all too hard and too time consuming and, worse yet, nothing in the CRM system reminds reps or managers what to do when. When we put obstacles in front of sales reps and sales managers, we make selling inefficient and slash into revenue. Every day. Invisibly. Because low productivity is a hidden tax on selling.

There’s a better way.

A new generation of smart sales productivity solutions proactively helps reps accomplish what they need to do, when they need to do it, while automatically improving CRM data quality. Managers and executives get immediate deal insight. Deals progress faster. Forecasts are cleaner. And rep and manager are thrilled.

If you’re reading our blog, you probably already know Clari is a leader in this new generation of sales solutions. With Clari, reps and managers get deal-specific news, emails, attachments, meetings, files, social insights, and CRM data delivered right into a simple mobile app.

Clari works with existing CRM systems to eliminate the need for “shadow CRM” spreadsheets. It even understands the cadence of sales — daily, weekly and monthly — giving sales teams insight into what activities will be most effective... every step of the way:

  • Reps get an engaging mobile experience helping them sell more and spend less time updating
  • Managers get an easily configured, real-time view into deals
  • Both get intelligent alerts and insights to close business faster

That’s more efficient for everyone — and it’s reflected in higher revenue.

Want to see how Clari works? Give us a call. Boosting productivity and revenue is what we do... and we’d love to show you.

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