Salespeople who use CRMs effectively achieve better results. Major benefits include gaining more leads, closing more deals and increasing client satisfaction.
Even so, CRMs are underutilized. Many sales reps are apprehensive about learning and using a CRM, and some organizations are therefore reluctant to invest in a platform that their reps “won’t use.”
A lot of CRM apprehension stems from misunderstandings. Some reps misunderstand the purpose of CRMs, and others fear that a CRM will be too difficult for them to use. There are also misconceptions and fears about security, costs, artificial intelligence (AI) and much more.
Here are 20 CRM myths that hinder businesses and salespeople from achieving their highest sales potential. We have grouped them into four categories:
- Usage myths
- Pricing myths
- Fear-factor myths
- Benefits/ROI myths
CRM Usage Myths
Myth 1: My salespeople will never use a CRM.
It is true that sales reps are often apprehensive about learning and using a CRM. But fortunately for sales managers, there is no reason to believe their salespeople will “never” use a CRM. The reality is a lot of excellent technology and best-practices exist for inspiring high CRM usage.
For example, we at Accent Technologies specialize in developing software that makes reps want to use their CRM. CRM Supercharger integrates AI technology into major CRM platforms to automate processes and guide reps into activities most likely to close deals. (We will talk more about CRM Supercharger in Myth #2 below.)
Also, by explaining to salespeople the value of a CRM, high-performing reps usually see the light and gladly weave CRM activities into their routine. Explain the benefits of tracking prospect interactions and getting forecasts to achieve quotas faster.
Other ways that have been shown to boost CRM usage include:
- Letting salespeople trial different CRMs to discover the one your team likes using the most
- Incorporating CRM usage into SPIFs, contests and other incentives
- Demystifying your CRM platform by making it a part of new sales-rep training
Myth 2: Entering CRM data takes time away from sales activity.
Speed and efficiency are certainly important to any high-performing sales team. It is understandable for reps to be apprehensive about anything that takes time away from their selling and prospecting activities.
The good news about data entry is that it can be completely automated using CRM Supercharger. This tool pulls data from emails, sales calls, contacts and more, and enters the data into your CRM automatically. It all happens with no time or effort from sales reps.
Myth 3: CRM is complex and hard to use properly.
Many sale reps and managers worry that CRM is difficult and leaves a lot of room for human error. But with the automated processes discussed above, much of the potential for human error has been eliminated.
Also, CRM creators are becoming more competitive as of late. As the platforms have evolved over the years, they have grown increasingly user-friendly to keep up with the rest of the market. Flexibility and simple interfaces are becoming the norm.
Further, most CRMs can be learned in stages. Your team can become comfortable with the platform’s basic features first, and then progress to more-advanced functions when needed.
Thus, it is true that some CRMs are more complex than others. As always, it is important to let your team run several trials before making a buying decision.
Myth 4: The CRM market leader is the only one worth using.
There is far more to the CRM universe than Salesforce. Many excellent CRMs have been developed over the past decade, and the competition is high.
Sure, Salesforce is an excellent product. But with some trials and research, your team might discover other platforms that are more useful for their unique needs. There is no monopoly in this market.
Myth 5: Only large corporations benefit from using a CRM.
Small businesses need CRM just as much as large enterprises. And fortunately, many CRMs work quite well for smaller sales teams.
If your business is just starting out, look for a CRM that is scalable. You want one that fits your business’ current needs but can also grow with you when it is time to expand.
You will also want to look for a CRM with data customization. While you will definitely need access to useful data, smaller businesses do not want to be bombarded with too much data. Drowning in information is just as bad as not having enough information.
If you know what to look for and your team is willing to conduct trials of a few different CRMs, they are sure to find one that is perfect for their needs.
Myth 6: CRMs are not used when they are most needed – while reps are out in the field.
The truth is that mobile CRM usage is on the rise. Reps are increasingly updating contacts while out of the office, and voice-texting is making manual data entry easier. Mobile CRM also enables reps to:
- Sell smarter with access to real-time data
- Access dashboards when out of the office
- Receive push notifications for important action items
- Share files with prospects or colleagues while on the go
- Manage customer service cases from anywhere
Myth 7: Only sales reps can benefit from using a CRM.
CRM is often considered “sales software,” but this is a limitation of CRM’s versatility. Smart organizations know that the robust customer information gathered by a CRM is also useful for customer service members, marketing teams, support teams, and virtually any customer-facing department. The more people who use your CRM’s data, the more value you will get from your CRM investment.
Myth 8: CRM is primarily used for storing contact information.
Contacts and contact data is only the tip of the iceberg. Few companies would invest in software that was merely a glorified spreadsheet. Other features and abilities of CRM include:
- Tracking of prospect and customer interactions
- Email integration
- Quote management
- Integration of social media
- Integration of marketing automation
- Rich, customizable reporting
- Mobile accessibility
Myth 9: It would be easier just to use paper.
Some reps – in younger and older generations – keep notebooks or journals with them to simplify work and life. While there is definitely a sense of simplicity in keeping the tradition of writing alive in a complexly digital world, pen and paper simply cannot achieve what a CRM can.
When your prospect information is confined to paper, it is not as easily accessible as the information in a CRM. Adding and locating prospect names, contact info and detailed notes would be impossible as you gain large numbers of prospects.
Also, email, social media and other real-time technologies have made the flow of information too fast and too prolific for paper to manage. The current digital landscape has surpassed the capabilities of paper.
Myth 10: You are on your own when it comes to learning your new CRM.
For some reason, there is a fear out there that CRM vendors just want to sell you their software and disappear. New software packages of any kind can be intimidating, so this “I’m on my own” fear can prevent companies from investing in CRM.
But in any industry, the most successful companies genuinely care about their client’s needs. CRM vendors are no different. While there may be some questionable providers out there, most of them want to partner with you and help you succeed in your sales goals.
When talking to CRM providers, ask each vendor:
- If they are willing to gain knowledge of your company’s prospects, culture, challenges and goals
- If they are willing to help you implement the platform and stick with you while you and your team are leaning
Most of the vendors you talk to will be happy to help.
Myth 11: All CRMs are the same. One size fits all.
Some sales teams are “turned off” to the notion of CRMs because they were once let down by a CRM that did not fit their needs. The reality is that there are several kinds of CRMs on the market, and many of them are designed for different business needs. Some are better suited for your industry than others.
No two CRMs are exactly alike, nor should they be. If your sales team did not achieve the desired results using a particular CRM, they would benefit from the chance to test others.
CRM Pricing Myth
Myth 12: CRMs are expensive.
It is true that some CRMs can be pricey (for example, $300 per user, per month for Salesforce Lightning Unlimited.) But many popular CRMs cost less than $50 per month, per rep.
And by the way, do not judge a CRM by its price. There are many affordable platforms on the market that provide every feature a small business could ever want.
Myth 13: CRMs are full of hidden costs after implementation.
Skeptical sales managers will be pleasantly surprised to discover that most CRM vendors are up-front about their pricing. Again, the CRM market is increasingly competitive. Vendors are smart enough to value customer loyalty rather than trapping clients into unforeseen costs.
As in any other industry, there are always optional features and add-ons you can pay for if you feel they would benefit you. But as a general rule, your CRM vendor would not hide these costs from you. You will be given everything you need to run your CRM successfully at implementation, without paying extra for a feature that was supposed to be included.
CRM Fear-Factor Myths
Myth 14: Sales Managers Use CRM for Spying on Reps.
While CRM platforms can certainly track the actions of a sales team, revenue-focused sales managers are not interested in spying. On the contrary, the best managers find ways to help their team improve their selling skills. Better selling, of course, means higher commissions – so CRM tracking can spell good news for reps.
CRM tracking can help managers uncover:
- Accurate sales forecasts
- Where sales are being lost and how to reclaim them
- Ways to shorten the sales cycle
- Ways to boost revenue for the organization and increase commissions for sales reps
Myth 15: CRMs use AI and bots that will eventually replace salespeople.
Human/AI collaboration is on the rise in all sectors, including CRM. This technology has many customer-facing professionals nervous. “Will artificial intelligence and chatbots make me obsolete? Will I lose my career in a few years?”
The answer is no, not likely. It is true that AI can perform repetitive, algorithmic tasks very well. This is why AI is so useful for automating data-entry in CRM. AI can also manage monotonous customer-service tasks that do not require a human touch (such as bots that answer basic FAQs when a customer types a question into a chat box.)
But AI does not have a sense of empathy. It does not consider people’s feelings, gain real trust or make someone feel important. AI also cannot be creative and help a prospect find solutions to her challenges.
AI and humans will continue to collaborate going forward. Nonetheless, your prospects still need you – a living, breathing human being.
Myth 16: CRM hurts sales reps by forcing them to “give away” their hard-earned leads and data.
Throughout the long history of sales, salespeople once held tightly to their leads like prized possessions. The old-school mindset used to be, “This is my territory. I earned these leads and I’m not going to share them.” But fast-forward to today, and selling has evolved dramatically.
Sales is now more client-centered and customer-service focused than it has ever been. More profits and commissions come from transparency than from hiding information and operating out of fear.
Sharing rich insights about leads is a win-win for salespeople, prospects and the organization as a whole. This is because information transparency can:
- Help organizations better understand the client journey, which leads to more sales
- Give the organization robust buyer insights, enabling it to offer better products and solutions
- Enable everyone in the organization to provide the best possible customer service
- Boost sales, revenue and commissions
The main point is that a CRM does not make sales reps “giving away” hard-earned leads. It enables transparency that results in happier clients, more sales and higher commissions.
Myth 17: CRM exposes my data to security risks.
The truth is, CRM providers (like all other cloud-based software providers) are diligent when it comes to data security. This concept is not surprising considering that a single data breach could ruin a CRM vendor’s reputation and even drive them out of business. They, therefore, take every measure needed to protect data. Security precautions typically include the following measures:
- Data is stored in multiple secure environments
- Data is backed up daily, and sometimes more than once per day
- Secure connections and firewalls are used
- System-integrity protection is implemented
- Intruder detection technology is constantly monitoring the system
CRM Benefits/ROI Myths
Myth 18: There is little ROI in using CRM, or the ROI cannot be known.
The truth is that over time, sales teams can achieve a dramatic return on the investment in their CRM. And yes, the ROI can be calculated.
It is not “easy” to calculate the ROI because you will need some historical data to do it. But it is a myth to believe that it “can’t” be calculated. In fact, whenever possible, every business should know such ROI.
The key is to compare the costs of CRM with some performance metrics. There is no “one right way” to calculate this ROI, but here is an example.
Calculate the costs of the CRM software, such as:
- Software costs
- Costs and time for training your team
- Costs of maintenance
- Costs of migrating the system
- Costs and time to get the CRM running
Once you know such costs, you can compare them to performance metrics gained since using CRM, such as:
- Number of closed deals
- Speed of closing the deals
- Level of client satisfaction
ROI can be calculated by comparing your costs/performance metrics before you implemented a CRM (this is the historical data you will need) with the costs/performance metrics after CRM implementation.
Myth 19: CRM brings improvement overnight.
While some reps and sales managers are overly-skeptical of CRM (see Myth 1,) others are too optimistic about how fast a CRM should work. Before sales revenue improves, several things need to happen first:
- Setting up the CRM
- Customizing it to your sales team’s unique needs
- CRM training
- Regular use of the CRM, over time, to make it a comfortable habit for reps
- Trial and error to determine which tactics work for your team and which ones can be ditched
Few things in B2B sales happen instantaneously, and CRM is no exception.
Bonus: A Myth About the Nature of CRM
Myth 20: CRM = Software.
When we see the letters “CRM,” it is usually the software that is being talked about. But for the software to be successful at any company, salespeople need to understand that customer relationship management is more of a philosophy than a software package. In fact, CRM is really a lifestyle.
Good relationships always take work – whether in marriage, friendships, or in our customer relationships. Sales reps, therefore, should be passionate about doing the work and living the life of customer relationship management. Once reps have the passion and commitment to strive for strong customer relationships, they will happily put in the work and the CRM software will be stunningly successful.
In Reality, CRM is What You Make It
Organizations and sales teams who do not fear CRM can achieve sales greatness. It all boils down to the desire to fulfill prospect needs, the willingness for trial and error, and the drive to follow through with the tools that work best for your team.