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The Hidden Power of CRM: Unlocking Sales Potential

Discover how a well-utilized CRM can transform your sales strategy and boost your success.

For as long as I can remember, salespeople and some sales managers have not given the humble CRM its due. Salespeople complain that it is nothing more than Big Brother. If you are one of these people, your sales manager already knows what you are doing or not doing, even without having to look at your CRM.

Salespeople often complain about the administrative work that comes with the CRM. This, too, is not a healthy relationship with your CRM. A healthy relationship is to think of your CRM as your outboard brain, one that remembers everything you need to know when you need it.

  1. Comprehensive Client Relationship Records: You should look at your CRM as the record of your relationships with your clients and your prospective clients. If you want to acquire, grow, and retain your clients, these records are an invaluable and strategic asset. Post-it notes, be damned; put everything in your CRM.
  2. Enhancing Competitive Strategy: I doubt you or your company is doing the work to use your CRM for competitive strategy. To make something more of your CRM, you might start by capturing every competitor you displace. Record who they were and why they lost the client. If you are ambitious about stealing your competitors’ clients, you might also build a field that allows you to know which competitor owns the clients listed as yours in the CRM.
  3. Effective Trend Tracking: If you want to use your CRM effectively, you will need to document what you see, hear, and experience when you are selling. Maybe you bumped into a client who told you they bought from a lower-priced competitor. This means nothing until three more clients tell you the same story. This happened to me in staffing. I lost a client to a new company in my territory. I didn’t respond because it happened only once, but after I lost two more large clients, I recognized they were using predatory pricing to gain a foothold.
  4. Internal Industry Insights: By documenting everything in your CRM, you have valuable information and insights ready to go before your first meeting with a prospect. Imagine this scenario: You just booked a first meeting in a new industry. A number of your peers have already won deals in this industry. If you could go to your CRM to see what problems the clients who have already signed a contract faced, you would be able to prepare effectively for your first meeting.
  5. Strategic Customer Segmentation: In Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition, I suggest that you segment your top 60 prospects by highest revenue value to the lowest revenue opportunities, breaking these 60 into four lists of 15. This means you can call three dream clients every day, touching every company every month. If you argue that you would rather do this by industry, I would encourage you to do so.
  6. Improving Operational Execution: I hope this never happens to you: You win a new client because your competitor failed to execute well enough. Once you take over from your competitor, your company makes the exact same mistake that cost the competitor this loss. If you document why the client fired the previous vendor and what they expect, you can help your team avoid losing a brand new client.
  7. Leveraging CRM Automation: I use HubSpot. While I wouldn’t automate prospecting, I would automate a series of follow-up emails designed to help the client with their buyer’s journey. These emails must create value for the contact and their task force considering a change initiative. This can be difficult to get right, but when you do, it can help you win, and perhaps, faster.
  8. Optimizing Follow-Up Tasks: Your CRM is the best assistant you have. It can remind you of the follow-up tasks you need to take care of before you fail to complete some small or large task. If you forget a task, it may cause your contact to think you are forgetful. They may wonder what else you may forget now or in the future.

When I first started in sales, my CRM was a stack of index cards, a Sharpie, and a telephone book. Every Monday, I would call every prospective client I knew that bought what I sold. I had no choice other than writing my notes on the back of the index card.

Because I took a lot of notes, I had to replace my index cards with thick paper that I put in a binder. It worked well enough, but as soon as the CRM was available, I immediately invested. CRMs were not very sophisticated at that time, but every year that passed, they started to become capable of being a strategic asset for salespeople and sales leaders.


Instead of criticizing or complaining about your CRM, do the work to build it out as a strategic asset, one that can help you win deals. Start by capturing your records of your relationships. Once you have done this, build out the fields you need to make your CRM capable of helping with competitive strategy.

If you do this right, you will be able to track trends that can help you make decisions. One thing you must do is make certain that your team is capturing data and insight about each industry. Your buyers want to buy from a salesperson who has done their homework on the company and the industry.

Do good work, and I’ll see you tomorrow!


Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 24, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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