Where CRM Falls Short – Why It Doesn’t Help Reps Sell


Where CRM Falls Short – Why It Doesn’t Help Reps Sell


News Flash! Sales reps don’t really like CRM. You could state it in stronger ways, but we get the point. But why? When Salesforce.com revenue grew over 30% last year, and CRM is the number one sales technology tool sought after by most business leaders, how can CRM not be loved by its dedicated, loyal sales rep users?

It’s simple—there’s nothing in CRM that really helps sales reps sell. Think about it. You invest countless hours updating information, adding details, tracking activities… and entering data. But where’s the return on the data entry? A greater feeling of order and organization? Yeah, right. More insight into the buying team? Hmmm…? Easy access to relevant messages and materials? Nope. Next step guidance or suggestions? Not even close.

CRM never lived up to its original promise. To be the sales tool that helps reps stay in touch with buyers and move deals forward. For all intents and purposes, CRM is a database of historical record. A backward-looking passive system that helps reps, and more pointedly managers, see what’s happened. These shortcomings are the reason for the sales enablement industry movement—to give reps the right guidance, relevant materials, and insight to actually help them sell.

So why is business so elated with CRM? Well, it’s a good system of record. It helps teams coordinate activities, seeing the history of interaction. And for sales leaders, it’s a great reporting tool—providing general visibility into sales rep activity levels and pipeline status. Nobody is saying CRM is bad, or even that it’s not necessary. I’m only saying that reps need more. They need technology that helps them do their jobs more productively.

CRM is a Sales 1.0 system. It really hasn’t changed that much in the last 15 years. To be effective in today’s environment with more informed, more demanding buying teams, we need Sales 2.0 technology. What does look like? Let’s take a quick look.

Better visibility into sales situations

Giving me a list of buyers and the activities I’ve completed just doesn’t cut it anymore. As a rep, I want to see a clear picture of my buyers, which buyers are most influential, which have specific needs, and the outcomes they’re looking to achieve. I need this kind to view so I can plan more effectively. Just as importantly, I want to see how individual buyers are responding to the message and materials I share with them—so I can follow up quickly, with greater impact.

Help Prioritizing

Where to spend time is the most important determinant of success in B2B sales. I simply have to spend my valuable time on opportunities where there’s real need—enough to build a business case, where buyers are showing interest, and where there’s a good fit. I need help in scoring and ranking opportunities so I don’t waste my time on buying teams that just aren’t ready to move, or that won’t benefit enough from what I’m selling.

Relevant content and resources at their fingertips

Don’t make me jump from system to system, from network drive to web portal looking for the information I need to create my business case. And please, don’t make me call co-workers and marketing teams just to find the stuff. Reps need a central location where they can quickly find materials relevant to the buyer’s situation, tailor and personalize, and share them easily to connect the value dots for buyers.

Coaching, guidance and reinforcement training

As I go through my busy day, I don’t have time to stop and take a training course, or schedule a coaching session. I need coaching and guidance as situations arise—especially if I’m new, so I can respond quickly with appropriate messaging and actions that will move the deal forward. The initial sales and product training I’ve received was a good baseline, but it would be really great if I could get reinforcement training and coaching as I need it. Quick hit reference cards, conversation guides, or short training videos that reinforce what I’ve learned would be a 10 out of 10.

I’ll stop here. But you get the point. We need to arm our reps with the technology and tools that help them move deals forward and sell more effectively. CRM is the backbone—it stores everything and serves as the system of record. But we need to move beyond just CRM to Sales 2.0 Land to improve our sales execution.

Hope this helps. Good luck, and see you in Sales 2.0 Land.

By Accent Technologies

25th June 2015