The need to incentivize strong customer relationship management

A CRM can improve the sales funnel

By Brian Thompson,

Salespeople understand the need to forge lasting connections with clients, but their incentive plan may not provide the positive feedback necessary to encourage this type of relationship building. That's particularly valuable in fields that experience extremely long lead times for sales of complex products. A salesperson might spend several months working to make a single deal, and this may not be properly accounted for using some traditional compensation plans. 

Companies that sell products on an elongated sales cycle should consider adjusting their compensation program so it includes provisions for work in the organization's customer relationship management system. This type of work can result in large sales wins down the line because it encourages salespeople's long-tail sales efforts.

Complete integration
According to research group Aberdeen, best in class sales organizations incorporate a collaborative approach to CRM usage that encourages salespeople to keep detailed records of customer information and rewards collaborative efforts. This is in contrast to the siloed approach that encourages individual salespeople to be fiercely protective of their personal leads.

"A CRM can reward collaborative efforts."

By placing all of a company's information about leads and in-process sales within a CRM, the organization can improve efficiency and eliminate time spent creating one-off solutions for specific customers. The entire organization's knowledge base can be contained in a single space, which makes it easier for people to collaborate and cuts down time spent communicating between departments. 

How compensation fits in
With the knowledge of how important CRM solutions are to a company's overall performance, sales managers need to encourage employee participation. Additionally, a strong compensation management solution can act alongside a CRM and offer immediate feedback on employee's progress toward specific sales goals. That's particularly valuable when a project involves sales that have an exceptionally long lead time, because it allows managers to give employees some amount of credit for their efforts before a sale is finalized.

According to research from Tech Target, this type of integration allows companies to identify trends in sales performance more easily, and makes it simple to pick out certain buying patterns from specific types of clients. 

Iconixx can work alongside a CRM to give employees in-depth updates regarding their progress through complex compensation plans. That has the potential to improve individual employee motivation and increase a sales team's ability to hit quota.

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About the author

Brian Thompson