5 Reasons CRM Fails When it Comes to Sales

Why are CRM tools so hard to deploy in a sales team? What do salespeople really need? Here are 5 reasons why you don't need a CRM

Last update on June 15

1/ It's Not About Customers

Sales teams need a tool to manage prospects, not customers

What does customer relationship management have to do with acquiring new clients ? As it goes, not much! It’s only once you attain a large client database that you should green light marketing operations. Since their inception, CRM tools were designed for companies with thousands of customers. They were thought of as a way to manipulate structured databases that you can segment and use to help build statistics.

2/ It's About Closing

Salespeople want to close deals

Salespeople don’t build statistics, segment data, or listen to what marketing people tell them. They are are busy, efficiency-driven people who are focused on winnings deals and reaching (or even exceeding) their goals. They set priorities and only have time to listen to simple solutions that will help them attain those goals. Yet, the tool they are asked to use on a daily basis wasn’t created with them in mind.

CRM tools were designed for marketing teams and managers that need visibility over a company’s activity. That is fair enough, but salespeople see CRM tools as a constraint, something that doesn’t help them with their daily work. They often update them moments before a sales meeting instead of while they are prospecting. That’s why we often hear “Did you fill in the CRM?” or “Did you update the CRM?” instead of “Did you use the CRM?” or “Was the CRM helpful?”

3/ It is Not About Managing Contacts

CRM tools focus on contacts – clients or prospects. Thus, they are a database for contacts, people, companies, prospects and clients with whom you interact or have interacted with in the past. This concept may sound natural, but it comes with a cost: Before being able to start working on a prospect, a salesperson has to create a company record, display a contact, add an opportunity, and then set a to-do. It is a lot of work and time for an opportunity that may never lead anywhere.

The Lead is the Key, Not the Contact

When you prospect, the opportunity is the most important element. In fact, it means there is a specific need to which you can answer with a sale. The main element of a sales application should be the opportunity. The contacts are in fact just a means to get to the future client’s need that you wish to answer. If the contact leaves the company or switches, it won’t change the fact that the company still has a need that you want to answer! The opportunity will remain until you win, lose, or abandon it.

A salesperson needs to be able to answer this question every morning with efficiency: Which opportunities do I need to manage today? And if a new opportunity comes up, they must be able to create it in seconds from their prospect file, mobile device, business card or e-mail. If a request is coming from the company’s website, the opportunity should arrive directly in the application. The fact that CRM tools are based on contact databases makes everything much more complicated for salespeople.

4/ Managing To-Dos

The Next Step is Key

This point is almost a consequence of the previous one. The to-dos are in most of the CRM tools available on the market are objects that you attach to opportunities. But the truth is: Their relationship should be much stronger, and the to-do is consubstantial to the opportunity. Indeed, as long as you haven’t won an opportunity, there should only be two possible statuses: ‘I have something to do’ or ‘I will have something to do’. By emphasizing on the contact, CRM tools enable something pretty awful: entering useless data. It’s certainly the best way of forgetting, which leads to losing an opportunity!

5/ (Last But Not Least): Team Collaboration

CRM tools are extracting / prospecting / reporting tools. But where does collaborating stand in all this? Should the manager limit their activity to verifying that salespeople have reached their goals? A good prospecting tool must enable a positive interaction between salespeople, and between salespeople and their manager. A salesperson should be able to ask for advice on an opportunity, on a quote, on a proposal they are writing. And these interactions should be centralized around such an opportunity! They shouldn’t be spread out on different emails or post-its!

Do You Want a CRM or a Great Sales Team?

SaaS and Twitter have existed for years now, and the way in which we collaborate has changed. The service you choose must integrate these news means of working together, which afford more efficiency!

To summarize” CRM tools are powerful but they can be too powerful or too complex to help salespeople in their daily prospecting tasks and business opportunities follow-up. CRM tools fail when it comes to reaching a full adoption by sales teams, simply because salespeople aren’t thought of as primary users of the tool.

When you reach the limits of Excel sheets, and before deploying a complex CRM tool, ask yourself what those who will use it really need.

If you think you know the answer after all… You don’t need a CRM!

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