3 Steps to Nirvana: Getting Beyond CRM to Hit a Number

CRM is fine. It does what it’s supposed to do. It doesn’t help me hit my number, but it’s not supposed to.”

Peter Black, CRO of XANT

While we rely on CRM software to build territories, track our funnel, and record deals, we do not rely on it to guide reps to the right prospects or the right activities. It wasn’t built for that.

If we have a revenue team that isn’t hitting numbers, it’s likely they are working on the wrong things. How do we get them working on the right things? Here’s what we know—without a helping hand, daily demands will steer reps to: 

  • Be reactive, not proactive
    • They wait for marketing to deliver better leads 
    • They wait for the channel to deliver better opportunities 
  • Work on closing deals, not on prospecting 
  • Talk to who they already know vs. building new relationships 

The end result of the above is overworking bad opportunities and not working to find new, better opportunities. Our data shows reps spend 297% of time on opportunities that will never close. Why? Probably because it’s more comfortable over-working an opportunity that “might” close than prospecting to create new opportunities. Getting reps working on the right things is the key to hitting a number—CRM is not the answer. How do we get beyond CRM and help our teams hit their number? 

For data in CRM today, we have dozens of apps that make it easy to streamline access and analysis. However, our data is old, incomplete, and inaccurate. How do we get beyond CRM and help reps prioritize activity that works? Even when it requires them to be proactive, to prospect, and to reach beyond the customers/prospects they already know?

Here are 3 steps to the Nirvana of your reps getting beyond CRM to hit a number: 

  1. Cadence. If you don’t have a Sales Engagement Platform (SEP) in place, run don’t walk. At this point, the ROI for SEPs is well documented. Forrester estimates a 3-year, 329% ROI on implementing a Sales Engagement Platform. Large companies like Verizon, American Express, and John Hancock use SEPs in scaled environments, and smaller companies like ClickDimensions, Sana Commerce, and QuickStart use SEPs to implement cadence–a structured way of prospecting. 

The primary benefits of cadence are  

a) Visibility —know who is working and what is working

b) Productivity —your reps get more done, and in a more structured way  

There are many SEPs on the market. All of them facilitate click-to-call, integrated with email, SMS, and social messaging. With cadences, you are able to program different plays, or cadence, that get your team working according to a plan. This helps a lot! It’s far better than what we used to have with just CRM. 

Here’s where to pay attention:  Cadence is not enough. 

Cadence can help reps do more, but by itself it does not help reps do more of the right things

  1. Prioritization. It makes little sense to help teams work faster if they are not working on the right things. The efficiency of a cadence tool helps you cover more ground, but is it the right ground?

Who are they enrolling in their plays? Who decides that? What intelligence is being used to drive enrollment criteria? Human Intelligence? Artificial Intelligence? Buyer Intelligence?   

The responsible way to roll out cadence is with accompanying prioritization. Work faster, yes. But also, work on the right things. 

Prioritization relies on data—data about what works and what doesn’t. To solve this data problem, XANT collects, organizes, normalizes, and anonymizes data in real-time from thousands of sellers who are using the platform to engage buyers. What is working?  What is not working? For which types of buyers, in which types of companies and industries and geographies? All this data helps optimize for your reps: next best prospect and next best action. More of what works; less of what doesn’t.

We call it buyer intelligence. Who are the buyers? What do we know about them? How can we use that intelligence to prioritize?

Buyer Intelligence data streams in from all geographies, industries and sales motions as reps work in Playbooks™. Not only can Playbooks see what actions reps are taking, it can also see what is working vs. not, and ultimately what creates revenue transactions. We compare this buyer-intelligence approach to ‘Waze for sales.’ Thousands of sellers virtually sitting on your reps’ shoulders, whispering what is working and guiding your reps to work on things that will pay off. 

  1. Change Management. With a Sales Engagement Platform and effective prioritization in place, you can see everything: 
  • Which teams and reps are working on recommended things? 
  • Which teams and reps are following the recommended plays? 
  • What are the results? 

With instrumentation and visibility, you are well armed to run full-scale adoption and change management programs, leaning into what is working and pulling back from what is not working. 

Without visibility, change management is a crapshoot at best. You launch training and hope it sticks. You run an incentive program and hope it works. But with the two capabilities listed above you can actually see which actions are leading to which outcomes, and you can fire up the best of sales enablement and sales ops to fine-tune your machine for performance. 


This may seem like Nirvana indeed, but at XANT we work with customers every day whose objective is to accelerate their revenue. Our customers aren’t as interested in implementing software as they are in seeing real results. We provide #1 and #2 listed above: The world’s leading Sales Engagement Platform for enterprises, leveraging a global buyer intelligence database to power prioritization that works. The visibility we create in the process is a perfect environment for your sales ops and sales enablement teams to do what they do best—and if you need help or guidance along the way, we are there for you. 

We want nothing more than for you to hit your number. If leveraging Playbooks helps you get there, we know we’ll have a partner for life. 

As always, thoughts, comments, challenges and questions welcome. 

Rock on!

Dave Boyce, CSO, XANT

Peter Black, CRO, XANT

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