Why Sales People Hate Their CRM (And What We’re Doing To Fix It)

Anyone who has spent time in a sales department has heard groaning over a company’s CRM. In fact, between 25 and 60% of CRM projects fail to meet expectations according to a variety of studies conducted over the past decade. Even with these large numbers of dissatisfied customers though, rarely does a CRM roll-out go so poorly it makes international news. Unfortunately for Avon Canada they earned headlines a’plenty after their bungled CRM initiative. The company is eating a $125 million dollar loss after herds of their salespeople left the company because they released an overly complicated CRM.

While Avon Canada stands alone in CRM infamy, it points to an important problem and a lesson we all need to learn: shoddy CRMs hurt sales and a bad CRM will cause you to lose good people too. Salespeople, like the ones who bailed on Avon Canada, hate their CRM for common and predictable reasons and in this post we’ll take a closer looks at those pain points and look at options for alleviating them.

“I’m Not a Data Entry Clerk”

Salespeople are the primary users and (and a major beneficiary) of CRMs. Salespeople’s salaries depend upon their commission and they usually earn their keep thanks to their solid people skills and persistent follow-up. Extroverts by nature, salespeople blow their top pretty quickly when stuck behind a screen taking notes. A common CRM complaint is “too much data entry!” and this quip has not fallen on deaf ears.

We founded Base because of our fundamental belief that CRM software is broken and it doesn’t make sense for reps to spend time with data entry. We lay out our future plans in this post, following our most recent funding round.

“It’s Chock-Full of Totally Useless Information”

On a related note, salespeople don’t want to be bogged down in unnecessary nuance. We’ve had many conversations with our customers and the consensus is they want insights on their leads – they don’t want to feel like they are drowning in meaningless info. That’s why we’re focusing on the insight piece. Users get relevant, actionable data using information from the activities logged in Base. Visual, dynamic reports let you keep tabs on all the sales KPIs you need.

“It Doesn’t Work When Data Fields are Incomplete”

Often companies only roll out their CRM to the sales staff. But sales conversations don’t happen in a vacuum, there is correspondence, fulfillment and customer service conversations that are extremely relevant for repeat sales and salespeople need that background when calling on a client.

Companies hesitate to have all hands in the CRM for a number of reasons. Their interest in protecting privacy and deal value prompt them to prevent everyone in the company from accessing the CRM, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With visual permission setting, Base makes it easy for managers to control who in the company sees what. By giving everyone appropriate levels of access the CRM, sales reps get the complete picture.

“Absolutely Awful Apps”

User experience is everything when it comes to apps and CRMs have consistently failed to keep up with the times. An app should not be a phone-sized version of the desktop one. Salespeople use all varieties of smartphones and tablets and they need CRMs flexible enough to load on to any one of them. An Android phone user might have a iPad and they’ll need their CRM to have an app that works and syncs on both. We built Base for mobile; a CRM that answers for the common sales rep complaints of cluttered interfaces, battery drain and security. App usability is critical for sales rep success, especially those who work on the road, and Base  built the app salespeople will want to use.

Let Avon Canada learn the lesson for you. Try Base, the CRM your salespeople (and staff) will love.

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