Unavoidable Process Creep

Here’s a tale I picked up late Friday night, when speaking on the phone with a recently recruited sales manager at one of my customers.

He has two particular charges tasked with penetrating a prospect community of around 60 organisations.  To track what’s occuring with them, the pair of reps created a spreadsheet to record such activity.

This is a classic scenario, where it’s easier to do this than ‘tweak’ some sales software already in situ.  What happens next, is that the reps fill in progress each month and fire off the updates via email.

In just a few short weeks, the process is already on shaky ground.  Another view would be ‘failing’.  And the reasons why this has happened apply in my experience to just about every instance I’ve encounterterd where a brilliant idea for tailored documentation aimed at collaboration and reporting has fallen down…..

The reps lose interest in filling in the spreadsheet – the scale meanders between outright hostility to typing up progress through to ambivalence meaning requisite details are reduced to a few indistinguishable abbreviations and words

History is lost so trends cannot be acted upon – as when an entry is made, it typically overwrites anything previously recorded

The Big Boss catches you out – When the manager is asked by someone yet more senior what’s been going on with prospecting recently, he draws an embarrassing blank, as he can’t collate the data quick enough, and there’s holes in it that are quickly exposed

Reps do their own thing – everyone appeared to buy into the new idea a couple of weeks ago, and a central ‘master’ spreadsheet was born, yet within the blink of an eye, one of the reps decides he can do a better one, so adapts his copy for his own purposes, the major impact of this is that he actually records less, not more intel, and the chances of easy collation for the boss are now non-existent

So, how do you avoid all these pitfalls?  It’s a wonder anyone sells crm at all isn’t it…..


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