Driving Better Sales Process with Blockchain Based Smart Contracts

Ed Marsh | Feb 23, 2022

A Cool Solution to Several Common CRM Related Frustrations

Introduction to SignalsFromTheOP

Guide to episode

  1. In most cases CRM never fully delivers. Reps don't use it consistently and data quality is low. That diminishes the return.
  2. Web3 enables smart contracts on a block chain which provide a new possible solution.
  3. This can not only improve data, but let's companies compensate based on sales activities that are key to the sales process.
  4. It's also a solution to improve data quality which means more reliable forecasting, etc.
  5. This solution can be automated, right down through micropayments to employees and payroll reporting

Transcript follows:

Hi, I’m Ed Marsh. Welcome to this episode of Signals from the OP. In these videos, I work to share emerging ideas for senior management of middle-market industrial manufacturers - in digestible chunks. Today we’re going to chat about CRM usage and data quality.

This is a different topic than how a company should use a CRM, sales force automation, and marketing automation – that’s a topic for another day. As is the question that should cascade from how to use it – how to select and implement a system. Those topics will await future signals episodes.

Today we’ll start at the point where a company has already selected a system, implemented it, and reached stasis in terms of engagement.

At that point, experience tells me you’ll have two frustrations.

First, actual adoption and use will be relatively low.

Second, data quality will be poor.

No matter how you design a CRM system to be easy to use, you’ll likely observe a typical 80/20 distribution of adoption. Some reps, generally those who energetically embrace training and experiment with best practices will use the CRM consistently because it helps them be successful. Many others won’t.

And if not everyone uses it consistently, then data will be spotty, reports and dashboards will be of low value because you’ll never know what you can really trust, and you won’t really be able to gauge who is maintaining the activity level and following the sales process that you know are both important to success.

That brings us to the second common frustration – dirty and incomplete data.

Low data quality is cyclical. Low adoption means that data is often inaccurate and spotty. Inaccurate and incomplete data becomes a justification for lack of use – creating a negatively reinforcing cycle.

Soon the database will lose its value as an asset, and even simple functions like marketing emails will become problematic.

So these two issues end up being related in many ways. And both are difficult to fix using traditional approaches. It’s easy to tell people that it’s a condition of employment, to harangue them, and to mirror back to reps obviously incorrect forecasts predicated on that sort of data.

But eventually, managers grow weary, sales digs in, and companies simply accept it.

On the one hand, this is crazy. Would you tolerate an accounting department where only 20% of the folks routinely used the accounting software? Of course not.

On the other hand, it’s an almost ubiquitous reality.

The good news is that there’s now an interesting approach to fix both problems, built on Web3 for sales, and using smart contracts and micropayments.

This article and this on-demand webinar will give you context on what those terms mean, and how trends like the Metaverse might impact industrial companies. If these terms like Industrial™ Web3 and smart contracts are new, or vague, please check it out for background.

Here I want to pause quickly and emphasize one important contextual point – this isn’t a new gimmicky way to approach this problem. Smart contracts, built on a blockchain, provide a new solution because they enable tracking and administration of an enormous number of activities. In other words, it’s not a new way to skin the cat as the saying goes – it’s an entirely new realm of possibility.

The idea is to use smart contract technology – integrated with your CRM via open APIs – to log certain activities, award micropayments, report on them, and even interface with your payroll system so that payroll reporting includes those payments without creating additional admin burden.

So, what might you track? It could be anything from unbouncing and updating an email address or associating a contact with a company, to logging prospecting phone calls and emails or updating a deal’s projected close date and status weekly to improve forecasting.

There are a couple of interesting points here.

  1. Instead of nagging folks to do stuff (whether they should be in the course of their job or not) we’re incentivizing them with payments. This doesn’t necessarily mean additional pay – it could be a portion of regular pay is recategorized and distributed based on these metrics rather than hours of commission.
  2. This is a really slick way to actually incent, measure, and compensate for doing the important sales activities that define your sales process and lead to predictable and repeatable success
  3. In the case of payment for sales activities, for instance, we’re clearly articulating precisely the work we expect them to do which they’ll probably appreciate.
  4. We’re going to create a set of conditions where engagement will increase as people will consistently work within the CRM system (since that’s how their contract will be fulfilled)
  5. We’re going to improve data quality – at the field level, for instance, updating email addresses – and in aggregate, by consistently updating opportunities so that forecasts are accurate
  6. It’s going to happen automatically in the background – tracking a potentially enormous set of actions and activities, calculating and awarding micropayments automatically to employees (often with a Visa pay card), handling the payroll reporting, and doing it all in a way that’s manifestly egalitarian – using a public contract.

So if you’ve invested in a CRM system but struggled with adoption and data quality, this application of smart contracts builds on a new technology to help solve it – not as a gimmick or shiny object, but in a way that’s only enabled because of the tech.

It can deliver a number of appealing benefits to the employees and employers – and drive CRM engagement to solve the common twin frustrations of poor data quality and low adoption.

I’m Ed Marsh. Thank you for joining me for this episode of Signals from the OP. If you enjoyed it, please share it and subscribe – either to my YouTube channel EdMarshSpeaks.TV or at the related blog SignalsFromTheOP.com.