5 Things You Should Not Expect from Your Sales CRM Solution

5 Things You Should Not Expect from Your Sales CRM Solution

Nishant Caesar Mohanty

Nishant Caesar Mohanty

Regional Manager – West India and Middle East

The CRM market is predicted to grow to USD 36 bn in 2017 according to a Gartner report. Another statistic tells us that 65% of companies adopt a CRM within their first 5 years. Clearly, companies are quickly relying on CRM solutions to increase sales productivity & gain customer insight.

Although these numbers look great, they reveal only part of the story. As Mark Twain famously said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”! So it would be best to not conclude on the value of implementing a sales CRM solution. Factors like user experience, data hygiene, change management etc. pose a real challenge when it comes to the success of a CRM. A CRM will help you integrate data, filter customers based on their status, and provide a 360º customer view. But it will not magically change the numbers on your conversion reports or improve seller effectiveness.

1. Adoption

In other words, some of the CRM basics need to be implemented by the end users and not the tool. So, what are the 5 things that you should NOT expect from your sales CRM?

According to Forrester Research, 70% CRM projects fail due to the lack of user adoption. No prize for guessing this is the “first sign”. We can’t expect technology to work its magic without realizing that installation and adoption are not directly proportional or even correlated. You will need to drive adoption and use gamification or good old carrot-and-stick if that’s your thing! Encouraging the right behavior from your field teams is critical to see increase in productivity. In short, drive this one!

2. Reps to automatically start loving reporting

Sales CRM solutions face resistance from reps because they’d rather “sell stuff” than “fill out forms” so the sales managers get simplified reports. Without accurate information it is hard to analyze and predict better. An app that automates and simplifies data collection should fix this. Most CRM vendors offer such mobile apps but these can be plain-vanilla and not appropriate for all users.
What may ease things are tools like geo-tagging and integration with the phone dialer, which can update information contextually and in real-time. A mobile-first solution with an intuitive UX design would appeal to most field users, especially if it integrates with the CRM at the backend. Give your sales reps reasons to fill forms & start liking reporting!

3. All your data to be 100% clean

An Experian study shows that an average U.S. company believes 25% of their data to be inaccurate. To recognize all the benefits of a CRM, data hygiene is critical; as the adage goes “Garbage-In-Garbage-Out”. Dirty data occurs because either reps don’t report or what they report is late and inaccurate. You can keep a tab on data accuracy by implementing rules in the CRM system or clean-at-source by adopting a solution which derives more information implicitly.

Features like simple data entry, automatic population of fields, validation checks, de-duplication checks, and workflows help maintain the sanctity of data. Additionally, these features also encourage user adoption due to their ease-of-use. You can fix this!

4. All reps to behave the same way

Even though we now have sales solutions to help us meet targets, human beings and human behavior remain a big part of the sales process. It is behavioral traits that distinguish a great sales rep from the rest.

A solution that can identify and record key sales behaviors will help your reps’ personal growth. These observations can go a long way in identifying the do’s and don’ts for all your field reps too. You can drive this one too, trust me!

These lines by Christopher Penn, a marketing executive and author, help put things into perspective. “‘Hey, here’s a gourd!’ is not so different as, ‘Hey, here’s an enterprise sales software!’ The language changes, but the humans are the same. Since “the humans” remain the same, they will have to drive a few factors. Managers will have to drive users, users will have to drive their efforts, and the enterprise software will utilize all this effort to drive efficient closures.

5. Do it all

As your CRM adoption & usage matures, it is natural to bolt on additional features on top of the CRM, be it managing sales quota, running sales contests, connecting to digital marketing systems, etc. While your CRM may offer some of these features, it is only likely that there other best-of-breed solutions out there which do these tasks better. So don’t be complacent and adopt what is convenient, instead look up the respective app store or a quick Google search to find out the best tool to improve seller productivity.

With over 55% B2B companies adopting enterprise CRM solutions and over 80% of their sales teams using them, the technology feels enticing for sure. We read and hear so much about what a CRM can do that we forget to ask about what it cannot do. Be aware of the responsibilities that you will have to carry out to get the desired results. A sales CRM solution can be an invaluable organizational resource if handled with care.

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