The Biggest CRM Pain Points for Sales Reps, and How to Solve Them

Statistics show that 30 percent to 60 percent of CRM projects fail—mainly because of poor user adoption. Sales reps cling to legacy tools, carelessly complete CRM data, or ignore new functionality because of its complexity. To find a solution to this problem, we asked salespeople about their top CRM dislikes and came up with our checklist to steer your CRM ship away from the poor-adoption iceberg.

Little to No Assistance With Daily Tasks

Today, winning a customer is about building trust through a multichannel and time-consuming communication. As sales reps can’t focus on one lead for too long, they need a CRM to stay on top of all contact updates. It’s reasonable for sales reps to expect something in return for the time they spend mastering new CRM software or logging data into the system.

So, our checklist starts with involving sales reps at the CRM planning stage so as to include features for their daily work, such as these:

  • Reminders about deadlines, follow-up emails, calls, meetings, and other scheduled activities.
  • Tools to speed up work routines, like a plug-in for one-click quote generation or a meeting planner.
  • CRM data analytics to better understand a relationship’s potential or effective ways to approach leads. For example, voice analytics of call recordings can hint at why some sales reps close more deals than others do, and what best practices they can share with the team.
  • AI capabilities for CRMs to suggest next best actions and relevant content, indicate the state of relationships, and spot priorities, as 45 percent of sales reps need help with prioritizing accounts and tasks, according to CSO Insights.

Time-Consuming Data Logging

Of course, CRM records are vital for getting customer insights. But updating CRM data is just another responsibility that steals time from sales reps’ higher-priority tasks (like interactions with customers). For this reason, sales reps will often skip manual data logging or provide uninformative entries, undermining the entire idea of a CRM project—leveraging customer data.

Among the data-related sins of CRMs, sales reps often mention the following:

  • Manual logging of activities (calls’ details, meeting minutes) that can take up to 8 minutes after every interaction, according to InsideSales.
  • Too many obligatory fields that make sales reps type in something just to save a CRM record.
  • Duplication or late automatic sync of data that stuffs the activities’ history, causing a lengthy loading.

Through our consulting experience, we know that these CRM issues can be solved with integration and a sensible data logging policy. Integration with other corporate software (ERP, call center, accounting system, marketing automation, etc.) helps to cut down on manual data logging. This way, it saves sales reps’ time and makes CRM data more accurate. And a well-thought-out data logging policy is needed not to overwhelm the system (and your team) with unnecessary information. Don’t try to get all customer data at once. Instead, define and track only the information that is critical for your business.

Lack of Mobility

No support of mobile devices creates inconvenience for sales reps and impedes a company’s sales success. Nucleus Research found that 65 percent of companies using a mobile CRM meet or exceed their sales quotas; of those without mobile CRMs, only 22 percent do so. CRM mobility allows sales reps to stay with their customers wherever they go by giving real-time access to customer profiles and activities. So, the next point on the checklist is to enable a CRM’s support of mobile devices.

Too Much Functionality, Too Little Training

When a CRM system gets overcomplicated, too few users will be able to fully exploit its functionality. SalesLoft states that 72 percent of CRM users would drop many features just to make their software easier to use.

Certainly, no company will intentionally choose a complex system that its staff will abandon. So as not to end up with one by accident, make sure to follow these tips:

  • Follow a staged CRM implementation plan. Start with critical features and leave additional ones for later releases.
  • Get the vendor to pay extra attention to user-friendly navigation to lessen the learning curve.
  • Pick up a CRM vendor that can provide necessary user training.
  • Assign in-house CRM leaders to answer sales reps’ questions about the CRM’s functionality.
  • Provide quick guides to the most common and complex features, like search filters, dashboards, mass mailing, etc. 

Failed Performance at a Large Scale

If the CRM is not scalable enough to manage a growing number of customers, employees, and features, it starts to slow down. To prevent users from having to troubleshoot regular performance errors, choose a vendor experienced in delivering scalable CRM solutions and plan your system with growth in mind.

So to summarize, here’s our checklist for avoiding the hazards of poor CRM adoption:

  1. Involve end-users at the CRM planning stage.
  2. Integrate the CRM with corporate tools to automate data transfer.
  3. Collect only the data you really need.
  4. Make the CRM mobile-friendly.
  5. Double-check that the CRM is intuitive to navigate.
  6. Provide training and ongoing user guidance on complex features.
  7. Find a vendor that can deliver a scalable solution.

Have more ideas? Feel free to comment.

Darya Yermashkevich is a CRM technology observer at ScienceSoft, an IT consulting company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. Yermashkevich started off as a business blogger researching web portal solutions, HRM, ITSM, and CRM technologies. Now she shares her hands-on experience, based on real-life CRM analysis, as well as insights into the CRM industry in her business writing with a particular focus on customer experience and advanced use of CRM software.


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