Ask any sales rep about his or her customer relationship management (CRM) platform and you’ll likely hear a lot of groaning. It’s no secret that many companies are struggling to realize their returns on investment (ROI) in any quantifiable fashion, meaning companies are spending a significant amount of money on CRM solutions that often fail to live up to expectations.
Implementing and using a CRM platform can create a prickly divide, as sales managers drive their sales teams to keep the CRM data up-to-date, taking away valuable selling time. The million-dollar question: Why are these CRM platforms falling short of customer expectations?
We’re not asserting that CRM platforms don’t have value – they do. But there is no doubt that companies are missing out on critical opportunities by adhering to a system that requires extra work for the sales team, but yields little actionable value. For salespeople, any tool or technology is only as valuable as the sales it helps them win – for the majority of the sales industry, CRM platforms have missed that mark.
Most sales teams struggle with customer relationship management platforms in three distinct areas:
- CRMs don’t capture the whole picture. Like just about all humans, salespeople think about things visually. They like to conduct business in face-to-face (Zoom) meetings, using presentations and whiteboards to help tell the story. It stands to reason that a visual, digestible plan will be more actionable for a salesperson than lists of data. However, traditional CRM platforms tend to produce spreadsheets and lists instead of visual maps. For a busy, highly motivated sales rep, time spent doing data entry into a traditional CRM feels like wasted time. Especially when it results in a report with the same data spewed back to him/her.
- The platform doesn’t align with the reality of the sale. CRM platforms are designed, installed, and integrated by IT professionals. And in order to work properly, sales teams need to adapt to the software. And most CRMs lack intuitive processes that require sales teams to fill out unnecessary forms and data that don’t drive sales value. An effective sales enablement technology needs to have each user seeing the value of the technology on their sales growth. It’s really quite simple – salespeople want tools that help them sell.
- CRM platforms are stuck looking back. Traditional CRM platforms provide a backward-looking view of sales and customer activity. That’s effective for sales management and reporting but ineffective for improving sales performance and predicting future sales. Salespeople need a forward-looking view into how well they’re executing their strategies and plans. Both for new prospects and growing existing accounts. What happened in the past isn’t going to bring in new sales. Seeing where the opportunities lie and taking action accordingly will.
It’s about the People, Process, and Technology
To get the most out of any sales enablement technology, a sales rep needs to clearly understand how the process of inputting data will lead to progress toward his or her sales quota. Change management and the appropriate technology must be implemented to show the full picture and gain 100% adoption.