Why Salespeople Don’t Like CRM

Sales Relationships

Investing time to input prospect and customer data contributes to more efficient selling activities in the future.

First of all, not all salespeople dislike customer relationship management, or CRM. Many do see its value in building strong relationships with customers and in targeting prospects more efficiently.

However, obstinance about fully committing to a company CRM program is common among sales reps. Hang-ups include the time investment, uncertainty about the benefits and concerns about being monitored.

CRM and Selling Basics

CRM is sometimes viewed narrowly as a sales process. In fact, many organizations effectively treat it as a business marketing system, with selling as one element. As an enterprise system, CRM offers many opportunities to gather data on customers, which is useful in optimizing marketing, sales and customer service activities.

In selling, salespeople can input data on prospects and track their interactions all the way through the buying cycle. After a conversion, the next phase is to monitor customer relationships and purchasing activity to ensure positive experiences, retention and optimized revenue performance.

The Obstacles with CRM

Marketing departments are often champions of CRM in a business. Marketers usually recognize the value of gathering data that is helpful in making more precise marketing decisions. When budgets are used more effectively and efficiently to generate financial results, it makes the marketing team look really good.

Salespeople, especially veterans who weren’t exposed to software for many years, are often a bit more hesitant. First, it is sales reps that are charged with capturing prospect details, inputting notes from meetings and tracking the sales process. These activities alone are viewed by some as busy work. In some organizations, a rift develops when sales professionals feel pressured by marketing to take on these “extra tasks”. Additionally, salespeople may feel that management is only asking them to input data in CRM to monitor their activities and production.

Understanding the Importance of CRM

For a company to get the full benefit of a CRM system, it really needs sales staff on board. This reality puts managers and administrators in a position to emphasize the value and usefulness, and to promote a culture of collaboration between marketing and selling. Success with this dictates:

Clear Explanation of Value – Sellers need to understand the correlation between gathering contact data, inputting meeting notes and tracking the progress of contacts through the sales cycle.

Promote Collaboration – Marketing and selling professionals mutually benefit when collaborating on customer relationship management. As sales reps input data, marketers have more ammunition to develop targeted promotional messages, including collateral materials used by reps during presentations. More compelling materials contribute to higher conversion rates.

Encourage a Sense of Trust – If sellers understand the value of CRM, concerns about distrust should erode. However, managers may have to emphasize that the goal isn’t to track a rep’s every movement. Sure, CRM activities allow insight into selling production, but the goal is to improve effectiveness and efficiency, which should enhance conversions and commissions.

CRM Service

Customer service and support activities are also enhanced with proper CRM implementation.

Conclusions

Hiring the right people and helping them see the tangible financial benefits of making use of all CRM resources is vital to a successful program. As key, is a culture where marketing and sales work closely to drive revenue, minimize waste and enhance the customer experience.

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Neil Kokemuller

Neil Kokemuller has been a Professor of Marketing at Des Moines Area Community College since 2004. Prior to teaching, he worked as a marketing specialist and retail manager. He holds an MBA from Iowa State University

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