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!
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.