Why Your Salespeople Hate CRM

salespeople hate crm

Why Your Salespeople Hate CRM

Sales managers and company executives, you have a problem on your hands. You have invested in a CRM system, but despite all of the begging, pleading, threats, and motivational activities, it hasn’t been the silver bullet you thought it would be.

You read the Aberdeen Research reports* saying that companies that use CRM have 14.8% better customer retention rates, 40% better team attainment of quotas, and 41.7% better individual sales rep attainment of quotas, as well as better insight into the sales pipeline helps inventory and labor forecasting.

You get it. You’re on board.

Yet you aren’t seeing the same numbers in your organization. You’re not getting the participation the organization needs.

Face it. Your salespeople hate CRM, and worse, you don’t know what to do about it. I have a few suggestions as to why — and more importantly, what you might be able to do solve your problem.


CRM is Big Brother

Think back to when you got your first job as a salesperson. What was it that attracted you to the position? Besides the promise of a good income, it was also likely the thought of the freedom associated with the position. Salespeople got to take clients golfing. Salespeople were allowed to take good customers out for fancy dinners. Salespeople got to kick off early on Fridays to have cigars and drinks in the name of “networking.”

Now, ask yourself: Are you using the CRM as a digital babysitter, in an attempt to micromanage your team without actually being present? Are you asking your sales team to record every single action, conversation, phone call, and stop they make?

For example, if your quotas are based on the number of dollars added to a pipeline each month, does it really matter how those dollars (assuming they are real) got there? If you have a salesperson who is better at building relationships and closing deals face-to-face, do you need to track the number of cold telephone calls they made, as long as they are making their numbers? Probably not. By using the CRM to track minutiae, you are probably frustrating your salespeople, and driving yourself crazy policing inconsequential behaviors. Salespeople will begin to game the system, filling their activity logs with junk. This will erode your trust in any of the data they enter.

One recurring theme that we have seen in successful implementations of CRM is that firms track only the necessary information, not every single action. In fact, at Datix, we only start behavioral tracking with “significant conversations” that have a compelling reason for further communication with the potential client. It doesn’t matter how many meetings or calls the sales team makes to achieve the number of significant conversations in their quota, so we don’t bother keeping track of those small details.


Salespeople Don’t Want to Work at Home at Night

Salespeople are running around all day, making calls and visiting accounts, and keeping sparse notes on what happened during the day. Then, they try recall their entire day in front of their computer at home at night.

This is inefficient and risky for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s almost a certainty that the information will be inaccurate. Everybody forgets details, and hardly anybody writes down precisely what happened at each account. Secondly, it promotes the system-gaming behavior I mentioned above: Filling in activities simply to satisfy the metrics, whether those things actually happened or not.

The solution is to make sure your CRM has simple, easy-to-use, mobile functionality. Most serious CRM systems have interfaces that can be accessed through smartphones or tablets. Many best-in-class firms are providing their sales teams with up-to-date mobile tools – smartphones, tablets, or phablets – to ensure everyone has the easiest data entry experience (and no excuses!).

Over and over we hear that a CRM system is “bulky”, “burdensome” or “takes too long to put information in.” By allowing your sales team to input only the most crucial information, in the most mobile-enabled way, you turn an hour at home at night into 45 seconds in the car, when the information is fresh in their minds.


Salespersons’ Relationships are ‘Theirs’, Not the Company’s

This is a tricky one, particularly in the situation where your sales team is comprised of people who are contractors, not employees. They typically think that their relationships with accounts are theirs, and are reluctant to share information about what they can sell to these accounts with the supplier.

In this case, a solution that has been successful is to provide the CRM system for the reps, allowing them to use it for all of the lines that they carry, not just yours. Then allow them to use it as they wish, with the understanding that you just need information for your lines. Choose a system that restricts access so you are only privy to pipelines and forecasts pertinent to your own business

Sure, this solution gives them the opportunity for a “free” CRM to build their other lines, but it will also give you the insight into the pipelines and forecasts you need to help make decisions for your business for a relatively small investment.


Turn ‘Hate’ Into ‘Love’ or — at Least ‘Like’

The bottom line is that CRM, when adopted and used correctly, is a great investment for your company and your salespersons. If you invest in the tools and the time to configure the system in a way that meets your salespersons’ needs and expectations, you’ll start to see a return on that investment.

And they might even begin to like CRM.


Your Take
What are your thoughts? Have you had success with CRM adoption at your firm? Have I missed anything? Are you a salesperson with a different point of view? Leave a comment below.


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7 Comments so far:

  1. Rick Mess says:

    Sadly, most companies I’ve worked for or contracted with believe that their CRM, ERP or BPM system are the magic bullet. I’ve even been required to enter “dead data”, people who are never going to become customers because they never used or will never use the products and services I provided. At the executive or mid-management level, it is believed that activity is productivity which is far from accurate. CRM systems are like women’s makeup, less is more. Carefully choose who and what you enter as viable prospects and opportunities instead of playing data entry boy for every person you called or met with. We are in sales which means if we don’t sell, we don’t eat. Does management think we are watching movies on our phones instead of working to generating revenue? I’m sure my reply to your post will be met with unhappy responses or a success story that runs contrary to your article or my reply. But I felt compelled to comment.

  2. Kyle Harsha says:

    Rick, thank you for your response. On more than one occasion, we have seen companies that are in the situation that you described- seeing CRM as a “magic bullet”, only to be disappointed when they used it to measure things that were inconsequential and frustrating to those involved. CRM is just a tool that can be used to make our lives easier and more efficient, or quite the opposite, depending on its use. Granted, I have seen a number of salespeople who aren’t doing the necessary behaviors of proactively prospecting business. They either pull a GlenGarry Glen Ross and blame the “bad” lead cards, or wait around for inbound leads because they have read too many times that the “modern buyer is further into the sales process when they engage a company that they used to be”. By tracking sales prospecting behavior using a CRM, an effective manager can use the information to coach their people. They just need to be aware of what the salespeople are thinking from their side of the desk. Happy selling- and probably no need to track this discussion in your system.

  3. kumar shan says:

    Hi Harsha,
    Thanks! Man. When I think of using a CRM, man i really hate it when i’m in a hurry to meet my prospect. But as you said it adds a lot of values to your sales management. So i said yes, when my friend introduced me an app(more viable solution) which makes things way too easy. Here’s what i use, i call it the Next Gen CRM – https://www.contalog.com.
    First of all its handy, makes me closer with my ipad, easy updates from my office that helps me get rid of those late night typing jobs.
    You can fine more on this @ https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-software-tools-for-salespeople
    Hope its useful to someone!

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