“Why doesn’t our sales team use CRM as it should? We’ve introduced it especially for them!” A familiar board room complaint making sales directors and managers go nuts. Here’s the truth: most sales people don’t like CRM. In fact, they tend to hate it. Studies indicate CRM users spend over 5 hours a week updating contacts and activities1. Knowing that sales professionals only spend a third of their time on actual selling, CRM has quickly become one of those additional demotivating burdens for them to carry.
Now, we’re not saying CRM is useless for sales. When set up and used correctly, CRM is indeed a valuable platform to leverage customer and prospect correspondence and data. It helps companies forecast the business and streamline sales processes. What we’re saying is that people don’t use CRM as can be expected. There’s lots of tips and tricks out there to ‘help’ companies increase CRM adoption. Sadly, more myths than truths. Why? Because many do not recognise how sales thinks and feels. Let’s do a little quiz: myth or truth…?
CRM will make your sales people sell more
Here’s a myth. CRM can make your sales people sell more. But there’s many reasons why it does not. One big reason is GIGO: “Garbage In, Garbage Out”. The benefits of CRM are directly linked to the data that are put in. Research indicates that 9 out of ten users admit to entering incomplete data in CRM (1). That’s no surprise. Sales people tend to be suspicious when it comes to using new technology and tools. When it’s too complicated, takes up too much time and does not show direct value, sales don’t like it. Period. Moreover, they tend to distrust tools that suck up their most valuable asset, their sales contacts, and act as Big Brother. You don’t properly use something you don’t like. And logically when you do not use it like you should, it will not make you sell more. CRM equals more sales is a myth.
Training is key to increasing adoption
Another myth. Even if organising training is obviously useful and essential, it will not necessarily be the key driver for your sales to use CRM more. First of all, because training is usually standardised and does not deal with real life sales situations. More importantly, because CRM in itself is not really sexy. It does not excite your people or make them proud for that matter. “Hey, look how cool our new CRM system is”. Really, have you ever heard any of your sales reps say that?
So, how can you make CRM sexy? You can’t. That’s up to CRM software developers and UX designers. What you can do, however, is make sure that your CRM system is connected to a number of sexy tools that sales people actually use every day. So instead of putting all your training efforts on CRM, put them in user-friendly apps and train your sales people to use them.
KPI’s will force my team to use CRM
Ah, a good one. Yet unfortunately, another myth. “Let’s give sales a target for the number of leads, opportunities or entries they produce in CRM.” Good idea? Sales people will find a back door to deal with KPI’s anyway they want. There are countless stories out there about sales reaching KPI’s blindfolded by just entering spaces in empty record fields. Again, it’s the human input factor that is messing up things.
So instead of enforcing KPI’s, try integrating real sales proof in your system. Charge CRM automatically with actual buyer data retrieved from sales and other applications used in the field. When your sales rep gives a pitch presentation, your CRM should not only know that, it should automatically record any action taken by the prospects or customers that actually received this presentation. The technology is out there to do that.
Reward users for using CRM
Ok, this is a semi-truth. Gamification or rewards can actually help people to use CRM. Because it’s competitive and sales people are too. But even better than introducing a reward system: relieve sales people from their administrative strains. Provide them with tools to enter and enrich data automatically without them having to do double work.
CRM is not an isolated island of information. Most modern CRM systems can interact with external sources such as social media, database services and sales and marketing automation platforms and services. All of these contain relevant information about your customers and prospects that an intelligently set-up system can filter, combine and put to use.
Away with the nasty work
70% of CRM initiatives fail, according to some studies. Whether that is a myth or not, we mentioned a few reasons why CRM usage and adoption tend to go sideways. A big part of the problem is that data are inaccurate and unreliable, because sales people fail to input them correctly. Why? Because the best sales people like to deal with people and take pride in what and how they sell. They do not like to spend time on systems, even if these can actually help them. So instead of finding ways to pressurize sales to use CRM, play it smart, like they do. Let them use other tools that are linked to CRM, are fun to work with and do the nasty work for them.
1. introhive market study, 2015