CRM’s Achilles Heel

Nancy Nardin

Nancy Nardin
Founder, Smart Selling Tools

CRM’s Achilles Heel

CRM has been the mighty, immortal warrior for 3 decades. As a newborn in the ‘80s it was metaphorically dipped into the waters of invulnerability, a shield that would protect its position of power well into the foreseeable future.

However, CRM has always had one tender spot of vulnerability just like Achilles of Greek mythology. CRM’s weakness is that it weighs salespeople down as if by a heavy coat of armor no longer needed in the modern world.

I’m not suggesting that CRM will die, just that it must evolve significantly in order to live on. Or rather, the way salespeople interact with CRM must evolve, which is really saying the same thing. Salespeople are currently slaves to CRM, manually entering and fetching the information that keeps the beast humming. It should be the other way around. CRM’s Achilles Heel is that it consumes a great deal of a salesperson’s valuable selling time.

Furthermore, the financial burden of deploying and maintaining CRM is crippling organizations and that needs to change. CRM is far more expensive than most realize and a big reason is that it requires a disproportionate amount of a salesperson’s time.

  • When reps are entering data into the CRM system, they are not talking with prospects.
  • When they are updating their forecasts, they are not talking with prospects.
  • When they are logging call report notes into the CRM system, they are not talking with prospects. 
  • When they are prepping for sales calls, they are not talking with prospects.

That’s a lot of time NOT spent talking with prospects. Make these tasks simpler (simpler to update, simpler to find, simpler to enter, simpler to receive needed insight) and salespeople would be more agile and productive. It’s that simple.

Financial Impact

Salespeople today spend around 35% of their time actually selling. Let’s do a little math. 35% of an 8 hour day is 2.8 hours. Adding 30 minutes a day of selling time amounts to a total of 3.3 hours. That’s a jump of nearly 18%. And that is the amount of additional revenue each salesperson would be able to generate. CRM must be held accountable for what it is, a net consumer of time and therefore a constraint on revenue.

CRM has never been without the fatal flaw of consuming more time than it frees up. That means it has never been a productivity tool. With the advent of new capabilities built into mobile devices—like location reporting, always-available high-speed connectivity, and cloud computing—it’s possible to eliminate a great deal of the time lost to CRM usage. The form-factor of a smartphone or a tablet makes mobile computing ubiquitous. No more waiting for laptop systems to boot-up. No more finding a flat surface to perch the laptop.

Capturing and retrieving (relevant) data is made simpler by today’s new breed of solutions. Clari, for instance serves up information just in time for the rep to prepare and arrive at each appointment. And it prompts reps with quick call-disposition forms after each appointment, automatically. This is a clear example of CRM making itself invisible by serving the rep rather than the other way around.

Starting now and forever after, the most productive sales organizations will be those that don’t abandon, but rather transcend the use of CRM. They will equip their army of salespeople with modern tools that provide clear competitive advantages. They will no longer abide the cumbersome management and use of CRM and instead demand that CRM give salespeople back their valuable selling time.

See also: The $12Billion CRM Debacle

About the Author

Nancy Nardin is the foremost expert on increasing sales productivity through the use of tools. As President of Smart Selling Tools, she consults with many of the top sales productivity software vendors as well as end-user organizations looking to select the right tools. Follow Nancy on Twitter @sellingtools

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