Welcome to a brand-new year, full of hope and possibilities.
And don’t forget your New Year’s resolutions!
We are all going to quit smoking, eat less refined sugar, exercise more, be nice to telemarketers and oh yeah, we are all going to manage our data properly so that our 2021 prospecting produces more revenue in 2022.
If you’re only going to make one resolution this year, make this the resolution:
“This year, I will cultivate a company culture that shows we value process over outcome”
Valuing process over outcome means your company cares about Data Integrity.
Data Integrity includes incentivizing your sales team for following process and documenting their work.
Data Integrity tells all sales stakeholders – from the lead-generation team right up to the CEO - exactly where every lead in your sales pipeline lives, where things are getting stuck, where there might be training gaps, and when a sales rep might need to be put on a performance improvement plan.
Data Integrity is the thing that ensures your company can survive turnover events. It enables you to keep deals moving forward if there is an unexpected health issue with a team member. It helps you train sales reps better and faster so that they produce revenue for you sooner.
In many small companies without dedicated marketing and sales leadership and defined standard operating procedures for both (the CEO is still the head of all departments, like it or not), nobody seems to care about the details when business is booming. Nobody cares how the deal got into the sales funnel to begin with. No one checks how many days it takes to close deals. People stop tracking how many times you needed to interact with the prospect to close them. There are no debates about first touch or final touch acquisition attribution.
And nobody is checking on data integrity policy adherence. (That’s a fancy term for standard operating procedures in your sales playbook that include documentation)
The CEO is happy that the deals are coming in and that top performer is given a lot of grace.
“Oh, leave Jim alone, he just closed two $10,000 MRR deals, he doesn’t have to (insert the menial data entry task here)!”
If Jim doesn’t have to do it, and everybody else knows that Jim doesn’t have to do it (and especially Jim knows he doesn’t have to do it), they also know that nobody really has to do it. By letting a policy slide for one person, you are making a statement to everyone:
“This is not important for my business. This is not important to me. This is not a ‘real’ company rule or policy.”
Jim keeps closing the deals, and Jim keeps skipping the details and ignoring company data integrity policies.
Jim doesn’t take notes when he’s talking to his prospects. He doesn’t’ update the CRM. He is “old school” and “it works for him.”
All of Jim’s notes live on a yellow tablet of paper that he takes home at night. When the tablet is full, he starts a new one, but the old one lives on his bookshelf, not in your office.
Jim refuses to use a company phone, he doesn’t want to carry two phones, so all of your prospects and clients have Jim’s personal number – but that’s okay, he’s been with you forever, and he’s closing deals.
Jim keeps all his business cards from networking events filed some way at home. They never make their way into your database. You don’t even ask about networking events anymore, he goes where he wants, he gets his job done! And you, Mr. CEO? You are happy! Finally! A sales rep you need not babysit! New revenue! Consistently!
You can finally see the promised land – Jim is going to take you all the way to 6x EBITDA, so you let him do it ‘his way’ and you stop checking his work, and you stop holding him accountable for any of the things you’d make a new sales rep do daily, weekly or monthly. You have a golden goose, and all this spare time, and isn’t life wonderful? Your peers are wildly envious.
But life does not stay wonderful forever.
What happens when Jim wins the lottery and never comes back to work?
What happens when Jim needs a double bypass?
What happens when your competitor offers Jim a salary you can’t or don’t want to match?
And your entire sales pipeline leaves with him. Your book leaves, too. The lifeblood of your company just walked out the door on his phone, in his notebooks, and in his “rolodex.”
Now you’re left with an empty pipeline, no prospect data, and a huge hole in your sales strategy.
Imagine if you had demanded that your superstar adhere to the same kinds of policies and procedures you demand of your service desk? Following process, documentation, dashboards, reporting?
Managed services prospecting is a high turnover role. We lose agents at two major junctures: before they get out of training because they don’t like our data integrity and “work hard or work somewhere else” culture, or around the two-year mark when it’s time to “rise up” and move on from a telemarketing role into another, better paying role with more challenges and responsibilities. When those agents leave, we are not adversely affected by churn.
Our process is well defined, well documented and followed by all. Any agent can sit down at the desk of any other agent and pick up right where they left off. Data Integrity will not protect you from churn, but it will protect you from losing productivity and revenue! And most importantly, it will protect your data - which is your most valuable intellectual property if managed correctly.
So how do you make the transition from a company that values outcomes into a company that values process?
You create a company culture that values data integrity. Here’s how:
- You clearly define your data integrity expectations from day one.
- You have a data integrity policy that all hires – even superstars – are expected to adhere to.
- You tie bonus structure to data integrity adherence.
- You create process flow that is not frustrating or redundant.
- You never “let it slide” when a top performer ignores process and policy.
- You lead by example.
On Thursday, January 21st at 11am CT, I’ll be joining Tigerpaw Software to share how you can start creating your own data integrity culture.
This is a great webinar for smaller MSPs who have not yet hired a sales rep, but who are preparing to make their first hire.
This is also a great webinar for larger MSPs who are frustrated with lackluster sales results from their sales team, and who are having issues around choosing and measuring key performance indicators for their sales reporting.
Happy New Year – May 2021 bring you everything you work for and may all your sales data be secure and useful!
Want to know more about Carrie Simpson and Managed Sales Pros? Head over to www.managedsalespros.com.