Why Dave, the Salesman Hates the CRM

It is quite common in organizations. A new director joins the sales team, looks for marketing and sales details of performance and cannot find those. The only data that he has is the sales per team member, the targets set and the performance achieved by the sales team. Sales team members work in isolation and fear to share data even with their own team leaders. The organization seems to be “performing”, and in an “auto-driven mode”. Good enough…isn’t it?

Not so for the director, who thinks how he can comprehend the overall performance without “reliable and sufficient data”.  How can he control the process? What is the solution to this?

The Nirvana does not seem to be far off. The director’s ray of hope hinges around a tool based on Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  Customer Relationship Management has a wide connotation and means a set of technologies, practices, and strategies for companies to analyze or manage interactions and data during the entire life cycle of customer. By this process of customer relationship, customer retention is improved ultimately helping sales growth. A CRM package can provide automation in various flavors such as Sales Force Automation, Marketing Automation and Services Automation.  A collaborative CRM ideally can establish integration with external suppliers, distributors and vendors. Besides, it may be highly Analytical, offering data mining, pattern recognition and correlation features.

The director is convinced, and soon a CRM is implemented across the organization. Dave, the Salesman is not convinced with this approach. The sales team is used to manual systems and adopting a CRM results in a set of challenges:

  • The Sales team members usually like interactions with people, rather than with a CRM. Their time is well spent talking to potential customers, rather than entering data.
  • Usage of CRM apparently does not benefit  the Sales team members in achieving their targets. The CRM disrupts their existing modes of working, which, they believe have helped them to be “successful” in achieving targets.
  • Lack of systems / IT knowledge among the sales team members  cause hindrance to adoption.
  • The decision for CRM implementation was taken by Senior Management without involving the rest of business or the users of the system. Stakeholders like Dave are bound to be unhappy as their needs are not completely addressed.
  • Over complicated systems require adequate user training and hand holding, followed by self-practice.

The challenges seem to override the obvious benefits that a CRM brings forth, such as creating more visibility in operations and monitoring, storing, archiving and extracting data securely based on access rights of the users.

How do we ensure that organizations adopt CRM effectively and that the implementation does not result in a misadventure? Here are a few tips from the experts:

  • Convey objectives of using CRM clearly to Sales Team. Business benefits for the organization as a whole, and ease of operations for sales team need to be conveyed clearly.
  • Involve the sales team in designing of the system. This would ensure buy-in of the sales team members for using CRM.
  • Demonstrate Return on Investment (ROI) of such a venture, not only for the organization, but also for the sales team. Communicate the wins due to CRM implementation to the team.
  • Finally, a major reason for the frustration of sales folks is the complexity of CRM. Often, the CRM uses data intensive entry screens, making entry of data mandatory. Lot of this data is not required to be entered. Complexity of data needs to be minimized, making it easy to use.

Therefore, any implementation of CRM would require sufficient planning to ensure that the stakeholders are involved, and their requirements are met. Finally, Dave should like the CRM instead of hating it.

Sudipta Choudhury
Sudipta Choudhury is a Technical / Business Writer with considerable industry experience in various domains. He can be reached at sudipta_choudhury@writeforvalue.com

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Sudipta Choudhury

Sudipta Choudhury is a Technical / Business Writer with considerable industry experience in various domains. He can be reached at sudipta_choudhury@writeforvalue.com

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