The Rise of Knowledge Workers: How Your CRM Should Adapt

Knowledge workers are essential, automation-proof employees vital to your company’s long-term success. You might know them better as your sales reps.

The term “knowledge worker” has been around for decades. It refers to someone who makes significant contributions while working with information and data, as opposed to jobs based on repetitive behaviors. In Peter Drucker’s hallmark 1959 book, Landmarks of Tomorrow, he celebrates the importance of knowledge workers, calling them “the most valuable asset of a 21st century institution.”

Studies show that 85% of new jobs in the U.S. created in the past decade required complex knowledge skills. Knowledge workers are providing true value, as these positions have generated more than 70% of all U.S. market value created over the past 30 years.

Sales reps are some of today’s most valuable knowledge workers. However, the way most companies log and process sales information hinders these individuals instead of helping them. A modern CRM should help sales reps by giving them access to vital information, smart reporting, and intelligent alerts. When a CRM is built for today’s knowledge workers, it will leverage automation to enhance (not replace) sales staff productivity.

Here are three ways your sales technology should be tailored to maximize the efficiency of your team.

1) Accessible Information

Your sales reps need access to data in order to make better informed decisions. Many CRMs on the market aren’t made for the day-to-day users, that is, your sales reps. They’re made for management, leaving sales reps flying blind without basic tools for organizing their workflow or optimizing their outreach.

Sales reps need continuous access to information in order to optimize their time. One McKinsey report found that employees spend 1.8 hours everyday searching for information, or 9.3 hours per week. Put another way, your company hires five sales reps but only four show up to work – the fifth is out looking for information.

A CRM should solve this problem by surfacing job-critical information about accounts and urgent tasks, creating visibility into the sales pipeline, email history, customer service interactions, and more. By providing this snapshot in one place, a CRM vastly increases the efficiency of sales reps who can immediately determine next steps on a minute-by-minute basis.

The goal is to turn workflow on its head, so that sales reps are proactive instead of reactive. Viewing them as knowledge workers dictates the kind of tools they need to be supplied with to succeed. Base’s CRM removes the guesswork and wasted time in a sales rep’s workflow by surfacing job-critical information and account details.

2) Actionable Reporting

CRMs need to do more than make information available; they need to synthesize it into actionable reports that illicit actions and responses from your sales reps.

Today’s knowledge workers can be made more efficient and productive by providing them with insightful data that places information in context. Without context, deals can be lost with little to no certainty as to why. Reporting from your CRM should be supplying answers to those questions and strengthening the knowledge workers on your team with new insights.

Reporting at its best is granular and actionable. It should tell your team that more deals are being won when they spend less time in a particular stage of the pipeline, or because leads are getting called faster. A CRM, after sorting through the mountains of data created by client interactions, should immediately return not just a big picture perspective of how your sales numbers are doing, but what small steps should be taken to improve outcomes.

Understanding that sales reps are knowledge workers changes how CRMs function. They need visibility, qualitative feedback, and organization.

3) Intelligent Alerts

A CRM should help your team connect the dots. That means that by analyzing multiple deals, it should help uncover the best practices that resulted in closing opportunities. Knowledge workers have the intelligence to apply this learned data to future situations, enabling them to recreate their success.

But the CRM should also function as a sales rep’s daily partner, alerting them when deals hit new stages in the pipeline, or when they receive an email that contains negative sentiment. These alerts will activate a knowledge worker to act in a specific manner – either creatively working to solve a problem, or moving to capitalize on a success.

Alerts reduce time lost between when an event takes place and when a sales rep knows they need to respond. Because sales is a space that has so many variables and is so diverse that it is impossible to fully automate, a CRM should function as a de-cluttering, time-maximizing tool.

Automation can’t self-correct the way a knowledge worker can. That’s why we use automation to alert and coach your sales staff, so they can apply their skills to win more deals.

When knowledge workers like sales reps have tools that automate non-critical functions it allows them to spend more time on the aspects of their work that contribute the most value. This kind of intuitive technology helps them access relevant data, visualize it as it pertains to the sales pipeline, and then make decisions that will result in higher conversions.

To learn more about ways your sales technology can empower your sales reps, I suggest you download this eBook: 5 Reasons Why Your Reps Don’t Want to Use CRM (But Should!).

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You spent months fighting for the budget to purchase a new CRM, researched dozens of potential solutions, invested time and resources in implementation and rolled it out with a flourish - only to have it rejected by your sales reps.

Rachel Serpa

Rachel Serpa

November 2, 2016

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