Meet Brian Gardner, Founder of SalesProcess360 

Meet Brian Gardner, Founder of SalesProcess360 

Roger Van Nuis No Comment

Brian Gardner, Founder and Lead Evangelist for SalesProcess360, knows firsthand how to get the most out of your CRM.  

Who is Brian Gardner?  

“I was the son of the boss. I grew up in an industrial sales organization from the time I was a small kid, stocking shelves and playing with demos in the back of my dad’s car. I worked inside sales, outside sales, was a division manager and ultimately the VP of sales. I lived and breathed distribution.”  

Brian Gardner

Gardner served as a sales manager for a major regional industrial distribution rep company for 15 years before building Selltis, an industrial sales team CRM solution with roots in process improvement. He took his passion for sales process improvement to the speaking and coaching world with SalesProcess360. He is also a Subject Matter Expert in CRM at Texas A&M University.  

Gardner is the author of ROI from CRM: It’s About Sales Process, Not Just Technology, a compilation of 25 years of experience in sales management and CRM. 

Gardner believes getting ROI out of CRM doesn’t have to be complicated. Companies must focus on effective yet basic processes to manage the blocking and tackling aspects of selling to gain an edge over the competition. He works with companies to systematically implement and use CRM by identifying needs and mapping out a plan to meet them, utilizing not just the outside sales team but all touch points with the customer. 

We sat down with Gardner to get an inside perspective on why businesses find CRM implementations so challenging. Here’s what he had to say:  

What’s something he wishes businesses would do at the onset of any CRM project?  

For Gardner, the critical starting point of any CRM project is to designate a champion to oversee the entire implementation. This champion is the CEO for CRM. Without them, the project often fails.  

He says having a group of “Super Users” involved in a CRM rollout is also vital. These users represent company evangelists from different roles, divisions, departments and skill sets and should be included in the testing.  

Beyond that, he believes CRM is about more than software and says it requires careful consideration at every stage of the project, from building and designing the CRM to implementing it and training teams on how to use it effectively.  

That’s where Gardner comes in. His bread and butter is helping businesses overcome the common pitfalls of CRM implementation. He recommends working with professionals who understand your business and provide a tailored solution rather than just selling a product.  

Why does he think most CRM implementations fail?  

 “What often happens is a business will choose a software vendor or integrator who doesn’t understand the true business need. They position the presentation to dazzle the prospect with bells and whistles but haven’t done an assessment. They don’t understand the industry. They’re off on the wrong foot from the beginning.”  

Fortunately, Gardner has effective strategies to help businesses get their CRM on track, whether it’s a new CRM out of the box or an existing CRM in need of modification.  

Gardner is passionate about process development, and an area most businesses tend to overlook. He says the product or service taxonomy is one of the first things to evaluate when planning CRM implementation. How many levels do you need? What data are you trying to analyze?  

In his experience, businesses want to slice and dice their business by product or service level to help with business objectives like forecasting and pipeline activity. They’re looking for one source of truth.  

That’s why infrastructure and hierarchy need to be in place from the start. Without them, you’ll never get the data you need to make effective business decisions.  

He also explained that his passion for process is what enabled his former company to experience exponential growth.   

“I’m a huge believer in team selling. Companies have all these touchpoints, and they’re not leveraging them. That said, we put processes in place to better manage the front end of the sales cycle, from lead management, opportunity management, competition analysis and target account management. We built a CRM for that. We created a culture of sharing and leveraging information. As a result, we tripled our sales in six and a half years because of the CRM and processes we put in place.”  

How can businesses achieve buy-in from their sales teams during CRM onboarding?  

Gardner says the main reason why sales teams get frustrated is that the CRM doesn’t provide them with the level of information they need to work effectively. “A CRM needs to be built through the lens of the salesperson and from their perspective.”  

He says it’s a common issue because companies try to build a CRM system that answers sales and quoting functions’ needs. He says those are two different worlds with different levels of taxonomy and process.  

Another common pitfall is when businesses train sales on using the CRM system but don’t explain the “why” behind the project.  

“They constantly have to reinforce the why. That’s something SalesProcess360 brings to the table. We can tell stories of other companies’ experiences, provide real-world scenarios, and connect the dots for the super users or those managing CRM who don’t have that experience.”  

He says you must set expectations, train on the how and the why, and then monitor those expectations. “We also offer assistance in these areas. It’s important to realize that once you set up the system and built the dashboards and KPIs, you have to train your teams to leverage and use the data to make good business decisions.”  

What makes working with Gardner and SalesProcess360 different than others in the field?  

“I don’t lead with technology. I lead with process, best practices and the end goal in mind — no matter what CRM product solution is on the table.”  

To connect with Brian Gardner, email him at [email protected].   

SalesProcess360 Videos featuring Brian Gardner

Get insights based on decades of experience in industrial markets, including why you should think beyond outside sales, how to take a proactive approach to sales opportunities and how to let sales process drive your CRM wish list.