5 Reasons Sellers Want to Ditch Their Traditional CRM
It’s no secret that conventional customer relationship management (CRM) systems aren’t cutting it anymore. The tool that is supposed to help sellers do their day-to-day job has become a day-to-day burden—so much so that 66 percent of sellers would rather clean their bathroom, get stuck in traffic, be nagged by their significant other, or stand in line at the DMV than update their CRM.
We all have experienced extensive changes in our professional lives, and the profession of selling has been particularly impacted. The rapid rise of inside sales is to be expected given the world we live in today, but it also means that sellers are under a new kind of pressure. They are taking on more responsibility and a larger workload, but they don’t have enough time or the right tools to help them succeed.
Denis Pombriant, prominent CRM analyst and owner of Beagle Research, unearthed the perspectives of more than 500 inside sellers in the U.S. to understand how we can help them. What we learned from the findings reaffirmed a lot of what we knew, but it also confirmed that sellers are at their breaking point given the limited functionality of the traditional CRM. In fact, 39 percent of inside sellers are considering a change of profession. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Ninety percent complain that parts of their jobs take longer than they should. The two main tasks taking up time include entering notes in their CRM (35 percent) and updating or working in multiple systems (34 percent).
- Eighty-six percent are frustrated by certain elements of their day-to-day job. These frustrations include handling repetitive administrative tasks that could be automated (43 percent), updating multiple systems that ought to be connected (38 percent), following up with a prospect that they know isn’t interested (38 percent), and re-entering email or calendar data into their CRM system (35 percent).
- Eighty-five percent have made potentially embarrassing mistakes due to faulty CRM data. Errors include calling a prospect by the wrong name (33 percent) and having the opposite idea of what a prospect wanted (29 percent).
- Forty-seven percent use their CRM regularly. Only 40 percent of sellers use their CRM as intended, and it wasn’t in their top five most commonly used tools to do their daily jobs. In fact, 55 percent of sellers rely on a combination of applications—and several that aren’t well integrated—plus manual tools such as Post-it Notes.
- Half say their work-life balance is suffering because their 9-to-5 productivity is hurting. Sellers have reported taking sales calls on vacation (50 percent), at the dinner table (40 percent), at a social event (33 percent), at the gym (24 percent) and on a date (16 percent).
These statistics are, unfortunately, not surprising but they do show just how much the CRM is negatively impacting both the professional and personal lives of sellers in a time when their responsibilities are greater than ever before. Sellers don’t just sell anymore—their skills include marketing, negotiating, financial reporting, relationship building, and more. And the core problem is that CRMs weren’t designed with the seller experience in mind; they were designed to help sales managers forecast better. You can’t expect sellers to sell more when the tools they are given aren’t designed with that goal in mind. So how do we help sellers overcome this hurdle and empower them with the right tools to ease their pressures?
It’s time to rethink the entire seller experience. Instead of overlaying fancy new user interfaces on top of the same old widget, let’s challenge sales automation vendors to put the seller—their challenges, daily tasks, goals, and expectations—at the core of everything we do.
Tedious and unnecessary data entry required by traditional CRMs are hurting seller productivity, so sales automation needs to be prescriptive and intelligent with features such as adaptive search, voice capabilities, streamlined quoting, and data-driven recommendations to help sellers save time and focus on the strongest opportunities. Sellers have made embarrassing errors due to limited customer data, so we need to connect information across the front office (marketing, sales, and service) with the back office (finance and supply chain) to provide guidance to sellers with comprehensive, real-time customer analytics.
Most sellers don’t even use their CRM regularly, so we need to make a tool that is not only useful, but helps improve their professional experience so that they can get back to enjoying family dinners and exercising without thinking about, and potentially regretting, their chosen profession.
Sellers want to do what they do best—sell, and sell a lot. And organizations—both those that are hurting and excelling—want sellers to sell more. So let’s call on sales automation providers to help their customers do the same—help sellers to be more efficient and, ultimately, sell more by providing a CRM system that is designed with that goal at its core.
Katrina Gosek is vice president of product strategy for Oracle Customer Experience. Gosek leads go-to-market strategy for Oracle CRM, CX Sales, Commerce, CPQ, Content and Subscription Management. She has nearly 20 years experience in technology product strategy. Gosek has a B.A. from Vanderbilt in European Studies, a master’s from Harvard in Renaissance French Literature, and an M.B.A. from Babson College in Technology Intensive Enterprises.