Angry-Sales-GuyAccording to Gartner, in 2017, customer relationship management software, or CRM as it is commonly known, is projected to have the largest market of any enterprise business software. Of businesses that deploy CRM, the department that is most likely to have access to the system is sales. However, the relationship between salespeople and their CRM has historically been less than harmonious. When implemented properly, CRM is a tremendous tool that provides numerous benefits for salespeople and management alike. For example, salespeople can access customer and prospect data in anyplace at any time, and sales related activities like quoting and delivering marketing content can be automated to streamline the sales process. For management, CRM can provide tremendous insight into the day-to-day work of the sales team, while providing data that enables actions like improving processes and making accurate forecasts. However, CRM deployments often fail due to businesses not ensuring certain necessities for users during implementation. When this happens, salespeople often decide not to use the system, and the business fails to receive a return on what is often a significant investment. Recently, Software Advice, a CRM technology reviews and research organization under the Gartner umbrella, conducted a survey that discovered the top dislikes that salespeople have for CRM.

The Top Dislikes Salespeople Have for CRM

Top-CRM-Dislikes   Based on the results of this survey, we will look at the top 5 reasons salespeople dislike CRM, and provide solutions to these issues.  

Why Salespeople Dislike CRM

1. Time Consuming

clock-594178_640 When a salesperson says a CRM is “time-consuming”, what does that mean? To put it simply, it means that the salesperson believes the tasks they’re expected to carry out in the system takes too much time away from their most important job: selling! A CRM that meets the needs of a salesperson will be perceived as an indispensable tool that enables the salesperson to sell more. Anything short of this standard will be seen as a burden. According to a 2014 study from Cirrus Insight, assuming a 40-hour work week, the average salesperson only spends about 24 percent of their time selling. Much of a salesperson's time is actually spent doing tasks like finding content for prospects and logging data from their interactions. A CRM with a content library and limited data entry requirements can resolve issues like these. To make the tasks associated with working in a CRM less time-consuming, businesses should do a couple of things: Optimize the CRM for the salesperson. This means that the CRM is customized to fit the processes that salespeople have become accustomed to. Limit data entry requirements. This can be done a number of ways, but two simple ways to limit data entry requirements are first, determining which metrics are the most essential for management, and only requiring data to be logged that allows management to track those key areas. Second, customize the system or use add-ons that automate processes and limit activity logging.  

2. Difficult to Learn

Taking a glance at change management statistics in terms to software implementation reveals one thing: it’s hard to get businesses to adopt new software, and its even harder if the software is difficult to use. A 2013 article published in the Harvard Business Review found that organizational change projects (which includes software implementation) fail at a 60 – 70 percent rate. In terms of CRM, a 2009 survey from Forrester Research found that CRM systems fail at a 47 percent rate. There is no doubt that a major cause of this is businesses deploying systems that aren’t customized for the needs of their users. Another cause of salespeople believing a CRM is too difficult to use is poor training and failing to continuously educate users on the system. When salespeople begin using a CRM, there is a lot of information to take in. For example, it’s not a given that a salesperson will understand relatively basic information like the difference between leads and contacts. In addition, they will have to learn how to navigate in the system to find information; they will learn how to generate reports; how to accurately forecast, and much more. A major goal of a CRM implementation is to make the system easy to use. This can be done by limiting the functionality of the system initially and adding additional features along the way. For example, the business can rollout the system and have salespeople become acclimated with creating quotes, and as time goes along more features can be utilized and added to the system. Another way to ensure the CRM is easy to use is proper training. Some best practices for CRM training include:
  • Thoroughly training users for tasks they will carry out in the system. This can be accomplished by training departments individually so there aren’t salespeople in the same training sessions with individuals from marketing or accounting because they will most likely use the system differently. It may also be beneficial to segment training within the sales team for individuals that do appointment setting versus those that manage accounts, for example because they may also have different tasks in the system.
  • Continue training and education after the initial implementation. If your business uses the system properly, it is likely the way the business uses the CRM will change. There will be feature enhancements, new departments may begin using the system, or processes may change as the business grows. In addition, new employees will require training, as well. Thus, the need to continuously train members of the organization is essential.

3. Poor Performance

PHE63L27S6-1024x683A major cause of poor performance with CRM is data accuracy. When a business’s CRM contains inaccurate data, it will undoubtedly perform poorly. For example, if a CRM contains duplicate entries, meaning the same data is entered on multiple occasions, or if important information is omitted, areas like forecasting and reporting will produce inaccurate results. To ensure the optimal performance of a CRM, businesses must take steps to ensure accurate data. This can be done by:
  • Having data entry requirements
  • Having individuals tasked with maintaining data accuracy
  • Using add-ons and system features that remove duplicates and maintain clean data

4. Inflexible

An inflexible CRM is one that is difficult to configure and customize. The reason salespeople dislike an inflexible CRM is that it forces the salesperson to use generic, out-of-the-box processes built into the system, instead of processes that the salesperson is familiar with. Consider that for the most part, individual businesses are unique. The sales process of a telesales organization that relies on high-volume calling will differ from that of an organization that focuses on account-based selling. However, if these two organizations deployed the same CRM, and the system is limited in its ability to be configured and customized, those two organizations with entirely different sales processes will be expected to use the CRM the same way. To resolve this issue, businesses should ensure that the CRM their organization purchases is one that can be configured and customized for its users.  

5. Doesn’t Integrate Well

Today, salespeople use an array of tools to enhance their ability to sell. This includes things like email, social media, calling tools and prospecting solutions. However, at the end of the day, salespeople will need the data they collect in these tools to be stored in a single location. If not, their data would be all over the place and organizing important information would be a nightmare. This is where CRM comes in. A good CRM will have the ability to integrate with different applications and software used by a salesperson in order to give the salesperson access to all of the data they need to sell. A CRM with a limited capacity to integrate with other systems and applications is almost useless in this day and age. Before businesses purchase a CRM, it is important that they understand how well the CRM integrates with other software. Also, it’s important to understand the level of integration, as well. For example, a CRM could claim to integrate with Twitter; however, this integration could simply be a display of iframes that doesn’t let the user interact with the Twitter platform. Such an integration would only let the salesperson see an image of a tweet. Compare this to an integration that allows a salesperson to favorite and reply to tweets sent by prospects. So, when businesses are in the market for a CRM, it’s important to discover not only if the system integrates with other software, but also how deep the integration actually is.   Do you have any feedback on this post or any additional information you’d like to share about CRM and salespeople? If so, leave a comment below or contact us.