re Blog from Revegy Inc. (a sales planning and execution software house that my firm have partnered with. Mercuri International are Value Added Resellers)
CRM systems are great at what they were designed to do for sales teams – managing data and activities, reporting and metrics, just to name a few. But there seems to be a misconception about how far core CRM systems go in their abilities. We see it all the time in the statement, “My CRM does that.” But does it really? In some cases, yes…it sort of can, just not in the way you’re expecting it to. In other cases, no…it doesn’t. Just no. Let’s look at some examples of both cases:
My CRM improves the efficiency of my reps.
Sort of. The idea that CRM systems save reps a boatload of time just seems like wishful thinking. The ability to access account information quickly and easily is very convenient. But unless all of your contact information, leads, etc. are automatically importing to your CRM through form submissions or some other automated system (Again, wishful thinking. Sorry, Marketing!), there is still the need for reps to manually input field after field of information on a daily basis. This can take a boatload of time! I’m not sure how they did it pre-CRM, a.k.a. “the stone ages,” but sometimes a Rolodex doesn’t sound so bad!
My CRM provides forecast accuracy.
It doesn’t. At best, core CRM systems will provide you with a comprehensive view of your pipeline based on the data that your reps enter – often a sales stage and a close probability percentage. But what are your reps using to determine which value to select? This is where CRMs’ fall short – don’t mistake visibility for accuracy. For true forecast accuracy, you need to remove the “gut feel” from your staging criteria and look at hard data like political, economic and cultural events happening in the deal.
My CRM manages the sales process.
It doesn’t. The common misconception is that core CRM systems will translate into an actual sales process all by themselves. Yes, they can keep track of your sales process stages, but they can’t reinforce the behavioral components that make a formal sales process beneficial for success. CRM systems can work in tandem with your sales process to achieve great results, especially when aligned with your customers’ buying processes. There are additional platforms out there designed to work with your CRM that can bring your sales process to life. By itself, your CRM solution should only be considered a tool to reinforce your sales process – one of MANY.
My CRM takes care of account planning.
Sort of. CRM systems can provide a lot of visibility into accounts, but there is so much more to be desired. Core CRM systems lack the visualization needed to snap things into focus, doing little to help reps figure out how to more strategically engage with key customers to achieve deeper penetration at the level of detail needed for true strategic account planning. Yes, they keep historical data, but you want revenue in the future – not the past. In order for this to happen, it will take collaboration with your customers, which is definitely not something a CRM can do.
CRM systems are a great tools. There is no question about the benefits they can provide your sales team, as well as many other areas of your organization. Do your best to understand their limitations before automatically assuming, “My CRM can do that.” Know that if there is something it lacks on its own, there is probably a platform out there that will pick up where it left off. You simply can’t expect too much from your CRM – you need to let it do what it does best and look for other tools to augment the areas where it was never designed to perform.