Properly applied CRM solutions have the potential to transform businesses, enable new customer relationships, and perfect existing relationships. Especially in sales, processes can be made leaner, more effective and less expensive. Most companies are aware of this. However, successful CRM often fails because the wrong software is chosen or because of resistance to implementation from management, sales or marketing.
In management, people don’t understand the functions of CRM tools, see CRM as an overpriced toy, or don’t know which vendor to order from. The sales staff is worried about being monitored and doesn’t see why they should maintain databases now, even though they were hired to sell. In the marketing department, there is disagreement whether marketing automation is the infallible solution to all the problems of workshy marketers or just the robotized sending of spam mails.
These and other myths often distort the opinions of sales decision makers when implementing CRM tools. In this article, we try to provide clarity on some of the most important misconceptions in sales departments. Also read here in more detail what myths are haunting some marketing and management departments.
Sales employees are often critical of the implementation of CRM systems. However, some recent studies on the success of CRM systems in sales conclude that the criticism is unjustified in many cases. For example, Aberdeen Research confirmed that sales teams using customer relationship management software achieve their sales goals more often than sales teams without CRM systems.
It seems that many sales people have not yet recognized the benefits of CRM systems for their daily work. There are several reasons why you might not want to use CRM. Not all of them make sense either. We have compiled 5 of the most widespread myths about CRM in sales:
Quite a few sales employees still prefer traditional, printed tables on which you can simply enter and check off things by hand. Also out of a certain comfort, many refuse to rethink and modernize their working methods. By sticking to paper and pen, you don’t have to learn unfamiliar software or show a willingness to change.
However, what would have sufficed in the past often takes too long and is too time-consuming for the modern salesperson. It is no longer enough to simply have the customer’s e-mail address and telephone number ready. As every sales manager already knows, nowadays you sell via multiple channels such as SMS, social media or e-mails including attachments. It is difficult, time-consuming and no longer up-to-date to write down all the necessary information by hand or even to remember it in one’s head. Sales employees do themselves a favor here if they let CRM systems help them, even if at first glance this may seem more complicated than briefly jotting down information received on a piece of paper.
The individual salesperson may also find it inconvenient to share his or her own potential leads in a common database with others from the sales team. After all, other members of the sales team could grab the valuable customer info and then snatch the customer and thus the commission. In fact, many salespeople see customer information as an informational advantage over their boss and colleagues, and as a way to protect their own work.
In general, however, it can be stated that CRM does not take away leads from sales employees, but rather gives them the opportunity to work more efficiently and thus, in the end, to realize more leads overall. It does not take away any leads from each other. Thanks to CRM, communication with the customer causes less effort and costs and runs faster and more smoothly, so that customers in particular have a better experience.
Many CRM systems contain extensive functions for which management has paid accordingly. Management then often wants all ordered functions to be used as often as possible by all employees, including those in sales.
The driving force in sales is usually commission. It therefore stands to reason that sales managers prefer to spend the majority of their working time on sales communication itself. Many don’t see data management as part of the job you were hired for. In the end, when it comes to billing in sales, the measure of success is sales closures and realized leads. No one checks how many data points a sales manager has entered into databases. Often, it also doesn’t seem obvious how costly data maintenance later translates into higher sales figures.
What is needed here is a brief investment of time on the part of Sales in training or a briefing on the advantages of CRM. It will then quickly become apparent to everyone why and through which channels CRM systems increase efficiency in sales. The benefit of consistently collecting the right data is ultimately a time savings.
Think of data maintenance as a continuous process in customer relationship management in preparation for closing a sale. The individual steps run more efficiently and faster, so that more processes can be initiated overall, for example in the form of more intensive customer care or new acquisition. The best way to do this is to keep training sales staff on the options and opportunities in CRM. Because in the end, you do earn money with the right data entry.
Here, too, overenthusiasm and high expectations of the new CRM system in management can tend to scare off sales employees. Sales employees fear that they will not be able to operate the CRM system in the way their supervisor had imagined without extensive IT knowledge.
The supposed complexity of CRM systems seems to scare off many sales employees. From practical experience, we can confirm that systems and software were complex due to almost infinitely added features until the mid-2010s. Since then, almost all vendors have been moving towards ease of use and user-friendliness. It is true that you have to invest some time to get familiar with the respective CRM system. However, most modern systems are designed to be so user-friendly and easy to understand that this endeavor is less complicated than many assume.
Anyone who has dared to use a CRM system will quickly discover that after only a short period of familiarization, the system helps instead of complicates. Even if you are not a CRM professional, the programs can be used and successfully applied with just a little basic knowledge. Learning by doing and regular further training provide enormous support here.
The fear of a “Big Brother” situation, in which a boss has information about every phone call made, every e-mail and every customer contact, quickly arises when sales employees think about CRM. As described in the first myth, sales work becomes more transparent when data is no longer recorded on paper but in software (whether on-premise or in the cloud). The fear is that colleagues and also superiors will see when, how much and also how well work is being done.
In fact, CRM systems make sales work a bit more transparent, but the best systems only record the information that is truly relevant. It is a complete misconception that CRM leads to constellations with micromanagement and detailed tracking of every single action.
Just enough is recorded to make it clear who is successfully achieving goals and how. CSO Insights has found that, in the long run, CRM actually leads to an improvement in the quality of communication between supervisors and employees in sales.
Many, especially the most successful sales reps, are convinced that the many closings are mainly due to their personality. They believe that they can simply drive up to the customer without a lot of data and sell him the washing machine at any time. However, salespeople who are actually so highly talented should be aware that they too can increase their output once again with a CRM system. The salesperson does not succeed through either his personality or software, but is most likely to reach his full potential in the combination of both of these strengths.
In sales, you also don’t have time to enter long data into spreadsheets. That only digs into the time budget you have left for actual sales. That’s not true either. Sales employees who work with CRM systems spend only about one-tenth of their working time maintaining them.
It can be assumed that sales managers who do without CRM systems spend even longer on data maintenance. In summary, it can be said that nowadays no salesperson can do without a certain amount of data maintenance. Sales is becoming more demanding in some industries, e.g. for products or services that require explanation. Marketing takes place via various channels and needs to be skillfully orchestrated.
Both a sales rep and the other departments benefit from learning how to use CRM tools. All research and surveys on the subject cast a positive light on CRM and assure that sales reps are not monitored or overworked. Used correctly, the right CRM solution will help a sales rep close more deals and make the relationship between the sales rep and their manager more transparent and better.
Important to mention: However, the whole thing does not run on its own. Customer relationship process must be defined, documented and the appropriate supporting software for it must be implemented correctly, then continuously adjusted and the results constantly monitored. The CRM solution chosen in the end should fit the respective company and be implemented across departments.
Your customer relationships will benefit from CRM if no one falls for many half-truths on the subject. If there is more interest in CRM in your company, please contact us and find out how we can help you.
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