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I’ve personally been involved with thousands of “sales automation” projects, that are being used by probably 100,000 salespeople or so. The general feedback from the salespeople is usually unprintable, which is one of the reasons why we created Spiro’s sales automation CRM, but more on that later.

Since the days of Siebel, following with salesforce.com, there have been billions — really! — of dollars spent on sales automation technologies, but as of yet, I have not found a single sales rep that would tell me they love their system. In fact, a lot of people hate Salesforce.  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.

Salesforce Wasn’t Built For The Sales Team

Salesforce was put into place to organize sales operations and sales management, not to benefit sales. Most sales professionals feel that salesforce.com — or any CRM — is a way of controlling them. No one likes 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.

Salesforce Isn’t User Friendly

There are so many different things that need to be done within salesforce.com 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 Salesforce. Salespeople want to sell and make money. They want to be in contact with people, not sitting in front of a computer playing system analysts all day.

Salesforce Can Make A Sales Rep’s Job Harder!

The main thing a field sales person does with salesforce is data entry. Everything a salesperson does in a day, every single task, every person she 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 rep I know actually told people not to email him because if they did, he would have to fill out the salesforce information for them!

The Dreaded Salesforce Required Field

Most versions of Salesforce have certain fields that are required to be filled out before the salesperson 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 campaign success. I’ve seen required fields from having the correct address, billing information, to even hair color or eye color!

Built By Salespeople For Salespeople

Sales people need a system designed with the key players, them, in mind. That’s why we built Spiro, a CRM so smart it updates itself.  Instead of salespeople needing to enter information, Spiro automatically adds contacts, companies, even opportunities as it learns from a salesperson. Spiro is so smart that it even can change the sales stage for you — for example to Proposed after you send out a proposal.

Spiro also gives something back to salespeople: personalized recommendations on who they should call next to move their opportunities forward. Take a look at our quick video:

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 how they hate salesforce.

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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.

2 Comments

  • Bill Stepp says:

    Another idiotic thing about salesforce.com is some of the terminology. When a lead is called it is supposed to be converted to an account. In the real world of real sales, an account is someone a sales person is actually doing business with. So a lead should be converted to a prospect and only later converted to an account when the customer signs on the proverbial dotted line. I loathe salesforce.com. Marc B clearly never worked a sales job.

  • Most new software (and most of the vendor sites seem to be designed in a vacuum, usually by coders (no offense) who may not be fully-aware of the industry they are serving. Glad you are doing something about it. However, it will still take the hard work of adding the data on sus/pros-pects and customers, hopefully with adequate notes to serve yourself 6 months later or the new sales person.

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