When CRM is your golden hammer, sales revenue suffers


When CRM is your golden hammer, sales revenue suffers


This post is authored by Dave Stachura, Accent’s Director of Sales Enablement Consulting.


When most people think of Abraham Maslow, the first thing to come to mind is the hierarchy of needs, but he’s also known for another famous concept: the law of the instrument.

It boils down to this quote:

"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."

It’s a great analogy for a common struggle among B2B sales teams.

Here’s a quick question for you: What is the main tool or software used by sales reps?

According to Capterra, the #1 sales software is Salesforce. I doubt that’s surprising to anyone. The vast majority of B2B sales teams use a CRM of some sort, with Salesforce being the most popular.

So it’s no wonder that when sales reps aren’t meeting quota or sales productivity is low, the gut reaction of sales management is to push for stronger CRM adoption.


The big problem with CRM

Here’s the problem: CRM isn’t the golden hammer that will solve all your problems. In many cases, CRM actually hinders sales execution.

No matter what new fancy feature CRM comes out with, it will never get past one inherent flaw, which is that at its core, CRM is not a sales tool. It’s a record keeper. It is designed to hold information about buyers, not help sales reps engage those buyers effectively.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Record keepers are great. They give us an easy way to keep track of information and store it all.

What is a bad thing is when you rely on a record keeper for more than just record keeping. You’re using a CRM hammer on problems that need a screwdriver or a key to solve, then questioning why you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for.


More tools, more problems?

Now let’s carry the analogy one step further… Say you move past the golden hammer mindset, and now you’re getting hyper-focused, individual sales tools that solve specific problems. Can you foresee any problems with that approach?

Here’s a big one: your sales reps now have to work within 10 different systems, all of which require separate training, implementation and maintenance.


Find the middle ground

The best approach is to find versatile, effective sales tools that can integrate into one simple system for your sales reps. Combine CRM with other systems such as a content library, email interface, data analytics engine, etc.

With this approach, you move beyond the shortcomings of CRM while still retaining its good aspects. You give your sales reps tools that actually help them sell. You don’t inhibit selling through a complicated maze of sales tools and interfaces. It’s simple and effective.



This topic was originally covered in Accent’s free webinar, “Sales Enablement vs. Sales Prevention: Which are You Doing?” The full webinar is available to watch on demand here.


By Accent Technologies

6th July 2016