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Why Reliable CRM Data is the Source of all Fast Flowing Revenue Streams

To have a fast flowing revenue stream, you need to get many factors right. Software (like CRM), training (skills and product knowledge), coaching, and good sales processes are all key.

Even with all of those in place, your journey to quota can hit snags. The definition of a snag is a tree, tree limb or bush that has fallen into a river. Snags can be dangerous to river craft trying to navigate safely downstream.  In business, snags cause deals to be lost at the last minute, cold-calls to not convert into meetings, forecasted deals to get pushed.

Upstream vs Downstream thinking

Imagine your marketing team is delivering a steady flow of leads to the sales organization. Sellers are calling 90% of them, however, they aren’t converting enough calls to meetings. What are you missing?

It could be that:

  • People aren’t interested in the solution
  • People have other priorities at the moment
  • The salesperson isn’t doing a good job handling prospects’ objections

Those are all reasonable conclusions and if we’re to draw them, we might think the best thing to do is; to work on our product’s messaging or positioning; to think through the ROI so the salesperson can better explain why it should be a priority; to give the salesperson more training on objection handling.

In this case, we’d be neglecting a more fundamental and basic question, “Are we calling on the right people?”

In Dan Heath’s latest book “Upstream: The Quest to solve Problems Before They Happen,” he describes the tendency (by humans, companies, and governments) to want to solve problems as they happen as downstream thinking.

Solving the problem of “People aren’t interested in our solution” using downstream thinking would be to ask, “What can we say to change their mind?”

Solving the problem, “People have other priorities at the moment” using downstream thinking would be to ask, “How can we convince them this should be their priority?”

Downstream thinking isn’t bad; however, it can keep you from seeing – and addressing – the more fundamental problem/s. Instead of asking how you can make people take more of an interest in your solution (downstream thinking), we should ask whether we’re getting on the phone with the right people to begin with (upstream thinking).

Upstream Thinking at its Best

When the Green Bay Packers showed up for spring training after having lost the NFL Championship to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1961, their coach, Vince Lombardi did not say, “Gentlemen, we need to take our game to the next level.” No, he said something far more provocative. 

Holding one in his hand, he proclaimed, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He began with the most elemental statement of all, focused not on upping -the-game but on lowering the game down to its most fundamental element. This is upstream thinking at its purest. Upstream thinking involves examining the problem or problems that come before the one you’re looking to solve.

Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in a webinar with Tracy Eiler, CMO of InsideView entitled, “The Unexpected Secret Ingredient to Winning in a Virtual Sales World” where we talked about the ingredient you may be forgetting– reliable CRM Data.

Click here to listen to a 5 minute excerpt of the webinar 

Without reliable CRM data, everything downstream is negatively impacted:

  • Lead to meeting conversions (prospects aren’t interested)
  • Meeting to opportunity conversions (interested, but prospects have higher priorities)
  • Opportunity to deal conversions (not enough interest from members of the buying team)
  • Won-deal to renewals or continued business (not enough perceived value)

The Definition of Reliable CRM Data

To have reliable CRM data means to have a database of leads, contacts, accounts, and activities that is accurate, complete and meaningful. Accurate: Inaccurate records and fields are updated or removed Complete: Lead, contact and account data is verified and appended Meaningful: leads, contacts and accounts match your ideal customer profile and/or exhibit an intent to purchase or a likelihood of need Without accurate and complete data, your salespeople could be calling on people who have left the company, or who no longer hold the title or position of someone who has the authority to buy. Without meaningful data, your salespeople could be calling on prospects that are least likely to buy when they could be calling on prospects that are most likely to buy. Calling people who aren’t a good match for your solution is a great way to hear, “I don’t have an interest.” In our webinar, I mentioned a shocking stat: 50% of your prospects aren’t a good fit for what you sell.[1]

Imagine the impact on your sales success if you could improve on just that one stat.

For a summary of different stats presented in the webinar, view this Infographic on the Secret to Winning in a Virtual Sales World.

[1] Marc Wayshak Research 2019


Reliable CRM data is the highest stream – think of it as the source for all results that flow throughout the pipeline. Without reliable CRM data, you’ll cause unnecessary downstream inefficiencies that will most certainly negatively impact your revenue stream. 

Get and keep your CRM data in order, and then focus on improving engagement and moving more deals through the pipeline to a close.

Nancy Nardin

Nancy Nardin

Founder, Smart Selling Tools

Backed by 30 years of experience as a sales executive in information technology and the analyst industry. Nancy is the founder of the popular website which offers free resources for sellers to learn about sales technology. Having created the widely recognized “Nancy Nardin’s SalesTech Landscape,” a graphic of the entire sales technology market, Nancy has been recognized as a top industry sales thought leader including being named by LinkedIn as a Top 15 Sales Influencer to follow on LinkedIn for 2019 and 2020.