Yesterday, I spoke to the head of Sales Ops for a large technology company (Managed Cloud Services) who mentioned his company is a large Salesforce customer (2,500 licenses). I casually asked him how his salespeople felt about Salesforce, and out flowed some . . . strong comments.
“We survey our salespeople annually about their experience with CRM. And they tell us the same thing every year – CRM does not help them in any meaningful way. Fundamentally, they say it does not change how they interact with their customers, tell them anything they already don’t know, or help them act strategically.”
“Frankly, our salespeople hate CRM.”
Direct as it is, I doubt this is surprising to the Executives & Sales Managers who have spent time with CRM. Despite this reality, tens of thousands of sales and marketing execs make the pilgrimage to San Francisco every fall to be fire-hosed by visionary evangelists on the transformative powers of CRM.
Time for a reality check.
CRM is clearly a necessary tool for sales organizations. The platform element has streamlined processes and connections to many useful applications. The expensive irony is that a CRM is nearly worthless if salespeople detest it as much as surveys indicate.When they don’t like it, they don’t update it. Garbage in means garbage out, which is a very expensive problem executives mistakenly accept as a normal cost of business. Here’s what we all know:
Salespeople are wired for making sales calls – not putting data into a CRM.
Salespeople are wired for connecting with people – not putting data into a CRM.
Salespeople are wired for lively conversations, doing deals, and influencing other people – not putting data into a CRM.
Salespeople are wired to SELL, not update data.
Look at your own sales team and you’ll see the irony immediately. The more productive the salesperson, the more disdain for CRM data entry. But, CRM is a critical platform from both a strategic and operational perspective. The quandary is that salespeople resist feeding it the accurate data it needs to survive and thrive.
Is there a solution? I believe the answer is yes.
When data collection technology is aligned with how sellers sell, and in a way that benefits them, good things happen to CRM. A CCM – Commercial Conversation Manager – comes at CRM from an in-the-moment approach – not after the fact. A CCM augments CRM from an inside-out approach, not outside-in. CCM amplifies CRM success because it helps salespeople have better sales conversations, share those conversations with specialists – and automate CRM data entry in the moment of the sales call – NOT at a later time. As you know, that time often never comes.
To solve CRM data collection, you must solve to the problem of “when,” For salespeople, data input is not a technology issue – laptop or mobile device – but a timing issue. Simultaneously securing the data in the motion of a sales conversation solves the problem for all parties.
CRM is a task. CCM is a tool. The distinction is significant.
Together, they make a powerful combination to ensure that data is not only collected, but collected exponentially. It’s the oldest rule – if you’re nice to someone, they’ll be nice back. Do something nice for salespeople: automate CRM data collection. They’ll reward the organization with plenty of rich insight. On the next survey, let’s see if we can’t get salespeople to say something different…
“I LOVE CRM!”