Most of the companies that we work with have invested in their sales organization to some degree. Whether it is money spent on sales training, a time and territory management offering, or an outing for team building, companies are investing in their people. The disconnect we see is that companies are willing to spend the money but don’t necessarily follow up to reinforce the lessons learned.

One area where most have invested is in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs. It’s consistently clear that CRMs are not being used as tools to optimize the dollars spent in your people. Here are 3 questions, with suggestions to consider, in assessing your sales training optimization as expressed through your CRM:

  1. Do tools reflect the steps in the sales process and promote the common vernacular used in training so everyone speaks the same language? Matthew J. Boyle, marketing director at a Massachusetts accounting and consulting firm describe this scenario, “When employees manage their own contact information and share it unsystematically, data-quality issues proliferate, and compiling and sorting correct, current information becomes an immense task. This can result in a firm that functions like several different small practices under one roof instead of a cohesive whole”. CRM’s customized with company-wide vernacular can help.
  2. How do salespeople internalize their customer’s needs and what steps are necessary to complete the sale? This can be laid out in a CRM as well. If companies had even one step defined and followed up on in a CRM for salespeople to track, wins would increase and training would be internalized. For example, if the salespeople attached their follow up letter outlining their sales meeting with the client and attached it to client in the CRM for all to see, Managers could coach to the correspondence, communication skills would increase, forecasting accuracy would improve, and trends could be analyzed.
  3. How do managers coach through the information in your CRM? Organizations can all have the same training experience yet, skill levels still vary dramatically. This is natural to an extent. There are always those people that just have “it”, but all boats can rise with the training tide. With a CRM based on a well defined sales process, Management will be able to quickly assess where individual development is needed. For example, a CRM would show that samples are sent to a prospect and date sent. This is useful information, but it can also show that there has been no meeting or discussion of that prospect’s needs. Product sent to client before goals shared is money down the drain. A manager could see this and use this as a coaching opportunity to reinforce the skills taught in training.

Like all good relationships, the match between training and the CRM is reciprocal. We help companies utilize their training dollars and dollars spent on CRMs to be mutually beneficial. Let us help your company design and implement a sales process that is optimized through your current CRM.

Flannery Sales Systems helps companies to define (or refine) and implement a repeatable sales process. Implementation success is increased when aligned with technology. We work with a broad cross section of industries. We are confident that we can enhance your results.


On the heels of the rapid development of technology and tools to supplement field sales organizations, the role of the Sales Operations professional has become more critical for success in driving revenue. In the past, the Sales Ops team was responsible for managing compensation plans, organizing the usage of CRMs and making sure that product knowledge was distributed from the Marketing teams. Like most job descriptions, the role is expanding as an integral component for success.

One of the challenges that the Sales Ops professional faces is sorting through the sheer number of offerings in the respective disciplines offered. Gerhard Gschwandter, Founder and CEO of Selling Power magazine recognized this challenge for both vendors and users alike. His recently released is designed as a virtual marketplace that brings all parties together, helping to make connection in 15 Sales Operations related categories.

Check it out here:

Flannery Sales Systems is pleased to say that we are an early adopter of the SalesOpShop platform, and have already benefitted from our usage with a new customer. We are sure that more success will follow through the use of this valuable tool.

My Aunt Jeanne, 92, just passed away. She was the last living relative of my parent’s generation. Jeanne had 13 children, 32 grandchildren and 36 great grandchildren. Add in spouses and you have well over 120 people. In her lifetime she had to manage the equivalent of a small village, and did it largely on her own following her husband’s passing in 1977. The photo above is from my wedding, when she joined me for the “first dance”.

In today’s economy, managers are asked to manage more people with dwindling resources. I thought about some of the memories that were delivered by my cousin Tommy during the eulogy around Aunt Jeanne’s “mothering” style, and believe it correlates well.

1. Feeling special. My aunt made every kid or grand kid feel like they were her favorite. She expressed confidence in their abilities to achieve and accomplish. If managers made each sales person feel like they could achieve, would they? If they make their sales people feel like they are going to fail, will they? Something to ponder.
2. Teaching (Coaching) moments. Jeanne took advantage of every teaching moment. She not only taught with words but also by example. It’s the do as I do that is most remembered. We could all use a reminder that teaching is not effective unless you live it.
3. Recognition. A nickel, quarter or a dollar was given for small tasks like mowing the lawn, returning books to the library or finding certain pesky insects and turning them in. The important thing to Jeanne, or the kids, was not in the money received but the recognition of a job well done.

As parents, we know that there is more to the equation when raising a family versus running a business, but the parallels are also there to think about. Thank you Aunt Jeanne for showing us how to do it, and God bless you !