When you talk to a member of the marketing team, they willtell you that CRMs are great for keeping track of customer’s data. When you talk to a general manager, they’ll tell you they are great to track close rates and sales goals. When you talk to a sales member, they will most likely tell you CRMs are a waste of their effort.
If two out of three important parties in this equation feel CRMs can benefit business, why is it that sales teams can’t stand it?
Sales members don’t like CRMs because it doesn’t benefit themselves. This isn’t representatives being selfish, it’s simply a matter of self-preservation.
Let’s keep it plain and simple.
In today’s sales market, competition is extremely competitive, and sometimes cutthroat.
According to Sales Hacker, CSO Insights showed that an “average sales team’s annual turnover is around 25 percent, with half quitting and half fired.”
For this very reason, sales members keep their trade secrets close to their hearts. Imagine if they were asked to put all of their sales notes into a system that was controlled by the company that employs them. They have to have extreme trust that those notes aren’t going to be taken and given to their replacement.
They have to hope that their techniques won’t be shared in a sales meeting, and subsequently become commonplace and outdated. They also need assume that their marketing team will treat their customers with care, and not undermine their efforts to offer fair pricing or the right products.
If this is hard to understand, let’s take this out of the sales world for a moment. If you feed a ferocious dog, and he becomes your best friend, you might keep feeding him treats. You might form a meaningful connection, and wish you’d started giving treats much earlier. But, if he continues to bite you each time you reach out your hand, you’ll stop trying to feed him.
If sales teams could put data into a system, and it could tell them how to get closer to a sale or increase their close ratios, you can bet they’d put more data in. But if sales teams have to spend energy inputting data that doesn’t help them, or could even potentially harm them, there is a reason why there isn’t a return on investment.
The Problem with CRMs? Users
To be fair, another part of the problem is that most businesses that purchase CRMs do not use them properly, which would explain even further why sales teams just don’t care for them.
SalesLoft found that 43% of their users use less than half of their CRM features.
This could mean they aren’t running campaigns, analyzing data and utilizing results, or even segmenting their customer market like they should be in order to actually benefit from using a CRM.
CRM companies are making efforts to become more sales friendly. Recently there has been a surge in mobile-friendly systems, that allow salespeople to input data on the go. They are also making an effort to create user friendly systems and built-in training, that appeal to non-tech savvy individuals like salespeople. But even this won’t make a sales team go gung-ho over CRMs.
CRMs in their current state, simply don’t benefit sales people. In order to solve this business problem, companies will need to innovate. Of course, companies are making changes, but these changes aren’t happening fast enough.
Here are five ways CRMs could evolve to benefit sales teams:
- Send out notifications of potential sale opportunities based on past data.
For example, let’s say a salesperson got this note from their CRM. “This time last year, you sold 25 cases of watermelon to Sunset Harbor. You can offer a 15% decrease in price on this item if they purchase the same amount this month.”
- Create marketing campaigns that are designed specifically for their customer. No food supply customer wants to receive a daily email about the benefits of hamburger meat if they run a vegan restaurant. Salespeople have been known to put in fake email accounts into CRMs simply because they know the marketing campaigns are annoying or useless for their clients.
- Design around team based decision making. Sales team members see each other as competition. This is because of the cut-throat nature of most traditional sales forces. Sales members could benefit from learning from one another. Data collection and analysis could do this without having to give up an individual’s trade secrets, if setup properly.
- Be an assistant for a busy sales person. Sales people seem to be on the go all the time, leaving little time to follow up on previous customers. Using automation, CRMs could help send out “Hey, how have you been?” messaging without the sales person having to craft more than a few messages.
- Show all the ways a person does business. Current CRMs show who sold the most, and who sold the least. They show who had the highest close ratio, and who seemingly isn’t doing so hot. They don’t show the customer service, the personal attention, and pushing and pulling and working a deal that great salespeople do best. They don’t show how salespeople truly work hard for your business. Maybe, CRMs will never truly will show the extra work your sales team put in behind the backlit screen, but it sure would be nice if this was an option.
Modern CRM companies advocate that getting sales teams to use their CRMs just takes time, training, and patience. In all honesty, it’s going to take much more than that. It’s going to take an overhaul of what CRMs really do.