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CRM: Sales Reps Vs The Man(agement)

I’ve seen several battles going on via social media regarding CRM and the sales people who are (forced) to use them.
As with most arguments, there is usually three sides to the story… yours (sales), theirs (management) and somewhere in between is the truth (reality).
Let me start by saying that CRM is one of the best tools invented for sales reps. It’s the wrench to a mechanic or a surgical knife to a surgeon. But I’m sure even those tools needed to be sold to certain people before they were willing to embrace them, so here we go…

Benefits to the Sales Reps

Being able to keep accurate notes in order to remember what the last conversation was about and what needs to happen next in and of itself is worth the price of admission for a CRM.
Add the fact that most CRM’s have the ability to create customized email templates (this way you don’t have to write the same email a 1000 times over), send out your own newsletters (this is the age of BrandYOU and now you can, without spending millions of “branding” dollars to do so) and how solid (or weak) your future pipeline looks and you would think every sales person in the world would want one.

Lame Excuses for Not Wanting to Use a CRM

Alas, there are still those who resist change and come up with excuses to avoid CRM’s…
Let’s look at the common gripes…

“All of this time I spend typing could be spent selling”

I got news for you, Sparky… if you are using this excuse, I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts you spend very little time selling and don’t want “big brother” seeing just how little your “selling activities” really are.
Besides, real sales people know they need to keep track of what was said, to whom, when and what the next steps are… and if you can remember all of that info now for your current prospects, well, you don’t have enough prospects.

“My company now has access to all of the customer relationships I built, which I feel I own; my company could fire me tomorrow and keep all of the contacts/relationships I’ve built”

If this is your excuse, here’s what you got wrong: “My company…” This isn’t “your company” and therefore they do own the data / customer / prospect database that you are calling on in their behalf. And if you don’t like it, go start your own business and then see if you change your tune when it’s time for you to hire sales reps. Cry baby.

“Little to no added benefit to me, with lots of value to “big brother”

Really? Being able to keep track of the different sales stages each one of your prospects is at, or the ability to have custom email templates ready to go with a click of a button, or seeing your sales forecast and check the health of your current pipeline in an instant is of no benefit to you? How about getting new leads via the “web-to-lead” auto import from your website? Or is that of no benefit to you either? Give it a rest!

“I’m on the road all day selling, and then I’m expected to update the CRM when I get home / back to the office after a long day”

Ummm… most of the CRM’s are accessible through this thing called the INTERNET. There’s also this wonderful device called a notebook and they make something called wireless Internet cards. Throw your pager away, get a smart phone and join the 21st century.

Management’s Down Fall

Now before “The Man” reads this and starts high fiving the “straight talk” above, it’s time to “wake” them up to their role in the discord sales reps have with CRM’s.
Here’s a hard reality… I use about 10% to 20% of the capabilities of our CRM and I’m making (and often surpassing, if I do say so myself) quota.
It’s understandable that an organization would want to receive an ROI on their investment… But what I’m hoping they realize is that they don’t need to force their sales reps to use every single aspect of a CRM in order to get it.
Just because your CRM can do a 101 functions doesn’t mean you need to switch gears and cram a new formula down everyone throats. Stephen Covey’s reminder of the story about the Goose and the Golden Egg comes to mind here.

Use the CRM to help you accomplish your goals…

The CRM is a tool to help close more business, not give marketing, accounting or any other non-selling person a vehicle to make the sales people (who are responsible for paying everyone else’s salaries, BTW) miserable. Use what fits. Ignore what doesn’t.

The Key to a Win / Win Scenario:

Baby Steps – And Realistic Expectations (On both sides)
If you are going to implement a new CRM, start with the basics and allow your team to get familiar with the new look and feel before implementing all these “new rules” and processes.
Have a role out plan that allows for a comfortable transition and one that will prove to be a useful tool to help your reps reach quota and they just may stop thinking you’re the tool.
Well, one can hope anyway.

– Michael Pedone
Michael Pedone teaches outbound sales teams exactly what to say to get sales conversations started with hard to reach decision makers. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.

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