I get to spend a good amount of one-on-one time with clients, consultants and analysts in the legal, financial and professional services industries as part of my job. I say “get to” because I truly relish it – it’s a great opportunity to learn from people who shape their respective industries. From a selfish standpoint, this facetime helps to ensure Introhive is positioned to serve the future needs of our clients.

We discuss a wide variety of problems and solutions, but if there’s one recurring roadblock that prevents firms from making their “good to great” leap, it’s a lack of meaningful data, and one needs to look no further than CRM to find the culprit.

Specifically, we’re talking about CRM adoption concerns that threaten the long-term viability and ROI of a mission-critical solution. So naturally, I hear plenty of questions about CRM automation during my interactions. Here are my answers to five common questions I field:

Question: What is the biggest benefit of CRM automation for sales and business development teams?

Answer: One of the great things about automation is that it requires less intervention by users rather than more. CRM-related workflows can now be introduced with little-to-no training, allowing revenue producers to focus their mental energy on strategic activities that are more likely to result in actual revenue.

Question: Now that sales and business development teams are less involved in the early stages of the decision-making process, what should they do to get the attention of influencers and decision makers?

Answer: Sales and BD teams need to spend more time researching and targeting buyers in an informed way. In the same way that online advertising made messages tighter and more relevant, salespeople are expected to be more informed than ever before talking to a prospect.

With a plethora of vendors bombarding clients every day, the only ways to stand out are to be more informed, more targeted, more trusted and to leverage real relationships.

Question: What’s the secret to uncovering valuable, unique insights into your target accounts?

Answer: The only way to do this is through research. Most of that research can be automated but one way or another, it can’t be skipped.

Question: What other advantages of CRM automation do business leaders get excited about?

Answer: I could go on here, but I’ll limit it to four additional benefits firms realize when they implement CRM automation:

  1. Marketing, sales and service sync up, resulting in a better customer experience at every touch point. This used to be called great customer service. Now it’s the table stakes for client retention.
  2. Ineffective sales processes go away and there’s an overall maturation of the sales methodology.
  3. Because it’s a smarter selling process that does away with wasteful activities that infuriate talented revenue producers, firms see better results in terms of sales and business development talent acquisition, development and retention.
  4. When firms solve their lack of relationship data problem, sales enablement technology opportunities only grow stronger because they’re all fueled by good, clean data.

Question: What do you tell organizations that aren’t using CRM automation?

Answer: Requiring sales, marketing or BD teams to do tedious work is demoralizing and unproductive. By focusing your technology rollouts on things that remove the tedious work, you’ll help your team members become smarter advisors for clients.

To learn more about the challenges that plague today’s firms – the same challenges that CRM automation solves – check out Data Driven by Default: Why Today’s Best Biz Dev Teams Rely on Relationship Data.