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I have been working for large companies for over 20 years, helping them with the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) implementations which are supposed to help with sales and salespeople. I have seen many tools created to help with CRM, starting with Siebel, the attempt of e-CRM, cloud CRM, social CRM, and more. I have delivered solutions for, talked with and trained hundreds of thousands of sales people in Sales Processes and CRM processes, but no matter what spin I take on it, no matter how I try to weave my words, salespeople seem to hate CRM.

As of yet, I have not found a single sales guy that would tell me they love their CRM system. No one says that the highlight of their day is entering accounts, contact information, or jotting down activities in order to make sure their efforts are streamlined. (These sales pros should be using Spiro, which does all the data entry for you!) So I’ve come up with 5 reasons salespeople hate CRM:

CRM Wasn’t Built For The Sales Guy

CRM was put into place to organize sales operations and sales management, not to benefit the sales guy. Most sales guys feel that their CRM system is a way of controlling them. No one wants to feel that they are constantly being monitored. They want the freedom to go about their daily tasks on their time, without pressure, without force, and without big brother looming over their shoulder.

One telling example: when I asked a VP of Sales recently how he planned on getting his sales team to use the new CRM system, he said “because I’ll fire them if they don’t.” It was a lie, but it showed the attitude.

CRM Isn’t User Friendly

There are so many different things that need to be done with a CRM system that trying to figure out what to do next can take up way too much precious time. Trying to understand the difference and value between events, tasks, notes and activities—leaves no real way of differentiating all the facets of the CRM. Sales guys are people who want to sell. They want to be in contact with people, not sitting in front of a computer playing system analysts all day.

CRM Can Make A Sales Guy’s Job Harder!

CRM is typically all about data entry. Everything a sales guy does in a day, every single task, every person he comes into contact with, must be documented. This means going to a computer after every single thing they do, or trying to use their mobile device, to type everything on a tiny keyboard. This is a major disincentive.

One sales guy I know actually told people not to email him because if they did, he would have to fill out the CRM information for them!

The Dreaded CRM Required Field

Most CRM systems have certain fields that are required to be filled out before the sales guy can move on to a different page or task. This can mean up to 98 fields that must be filled in so that marketing can measure the sales guy’s campaign success. I’ve seen required fields from having the correct address, billing information, to even hair color or eye color!

Corporate Crap

Every six to twelve months, a typical company redesigns their sales or marketing direction and this means changes for everyone in the company. Not only do the sales guys now have to sit through long meetings to be sure they know about this new direction and what they can do to meet or exceed sales goals, but this also means a redesign for the CRM system. Now these sales guys are put through even more training sessions, so they know how to use the newest features of the CRM system, and they can be sure that old information can be migrated into the new system. How does this help sales and productivity? It doesn’t.

Built By Sales Guys For Sales Guys

Sales people need a system designed with the key players, them, in mind. A system that keep things simple and is as intuitive as possible…. maybe even giving out some proactive advice. When a sales team is happy and has tools that actually increase productivity, management will be happy with the profits rolling in. Sounds better than the grunt and groans about an inadequate CRM system.

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About the Author Andy Levi

Andy Levi is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Spiro Technologies. Andy is a technologist with a background in sales and was originally from Venezuela although many people can’t place his accent. He focused on CRM technologies for the past 20 years and built mission critical applications used by over 100,000 sales people.

11 Comments

  • Elizabeth says:

    You guys do remember that some women work in Sales, right? 😉

    • Adam Honig says:

      Hi Elizabeth!

      Thanks for the comment. You know we do use the term “sales guy” a lot here at Spiro and we certainly mean it in a gender neutral way.

      We recently surveyed a handful of females sales professionals to get their opinion on the term, and the response ranged from “I use ‘guys’ all the time” to “whatever”. No one was particularly bothered.

      Is there a term you prefer?

      Adam

      • Allison says:

        How about sales pros?

        Sure, some women may say they feel like one of the “sales guys” but bet that for quite a few who say that, it’s a coping strategy to try to fit in and be part of the team in a largely male dominated field.

        • Adam Honig says:

          Hi Allison,

          Good point — it’s hard to separate the answer sometimes from question and questioner. We’ve moved mostly to “salespeople” or “sales professionals” in our blogs now. That seems to be working for us!

          Thanks for the comment.

          Adam

  • Mark says:

    Yes, leave the ‘guy thing’ out and you will avoid alienating half of your audience. And, the ‘gals’ won’t publically complain since that will make them look bad. They will just tune you out and you will never know the potential you lost with your external and internal customers.

    I was a ‘train the trainer’ subject matter expert for our sales region in the late 1990’s with the first CRM systems. It is amazing that what you wrote here in 2015 is exactly the same thing we went through 20 years ago. Today, CRM is just part of the red tape- similar to filling out expense reports and HR surveys. Just do them and move on to the real work at hand.

    • Adam Honig says:

      Hey Mark,

      Thanks for the comment. We’ve talked with a lot of saleswomen, and most of them think they’re “sales guys”, but your point is well taken. In more recent blogs I think we’ve dropped “sales guys”.

      Regarding the content of the post, we’ve also been working in CRM since the 90’s — go Siebel! — and you’re totally right. It hasn’t changed that much…. yet.

      Adam

  • Chris says:

    When will spiro be able to cross talk to DealerSocket CRM ?

  • rleebaker@gmail.com says:

    Good read and so true. In our market whether Copiers or IT (which I’m now in) owners have spent multiple 5 figures to purchase a CRM and none have proven successful as outside reps openly refuse to use them even remotely as they were designed. I have reps from previous company tell me, “I like your notes in __________” while their Sales Mgr next to them (who followed me and is now severely under performing) scowls at me of all people, the one who had been trying to help him? The notes in the CRM and there for a reason…but it’s a secret…the answer to the secret is, “to use them”….AHHHH! LOL but sadly serious. Pride!

    • rleebaker@gmail.com says:

      Pardon the previous type “The notes in the CRM ARE (not ‘and’) there for a reason…but it’s a secret…the answer to the secret is, “to use them”….AHHHH! LOL but sadly serious. Pride!

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