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CRM - Why Salesmen Don't Use It

You clicked through to read this because you know it is true that salesmen (and women) are generally reluctant to enter data into the company CRM. These salespeople are employees and get a regular paycheck from the company but they just won’t follow the CRM direction.

And you probably know why. The answer, of course, is that the salespeople are worried that the entered information will eventually be used by another sales person – it is the old “end run”. Good salespeople are of a certain “breed”. They are aggressive, social, willing to break down barriers, “don’t take no for an answer”, “love the close of the sale”, and are generally passionate about their profession. And they have been taught to be very territorial.

On the other hand, a Customer Relationship Management tool is very powerful. It can help to better communicate with the customer, provide reminders and history, manage problems, and it can provide important metrics.

The breakdown occurs because of a communication and trust gap. The CRM has been used by some companies to relieve/replace the salesperson. This fact is known by any salesperson worth their “salt”. So if a company does not address the “Elephant in the Room” it is likely that the sales team will use the CRM as little as possible.

The back and forth is that the company will continue to push methods for “force” the sales team to use the CRM. This “forcing” only exacerbates the fears of the sales team.

At the same time the sales team is talking amongst themselves about the potential “threat” of the CRM. They will finally go to the top sales person and team lead to ask for relief or give the top 10 reason why the CRM does not work. 1) It takes too long to enter (I should be selling more, 2) Other people are changing this data, 3) Someone called my customer without my knowledge, 4) “This customer only wants to deal with me”, and it goes on.

Fundamentally, the use of a CRM will enhance the relationship with the customer and thus make more money for the company, the sales rep, and the customer. The question is how to address the communication and trust gap between the company and the salesperson? The answers are:

  • Talk about the “Elephant in the Room”, list the value for CRM to all.

  • Address the trust issue. The truth is that any information that is in the CRM is available elsewhere.

  • Identify that the relationship between the salesperson and the company is a bilateral trust relationship.

If you are a company out to take down your sales reps you will probably pay a price. If you are a sales rep with a company that you think will repurpose your CRM input you should find another job. If you are a company looking to take the next step with you customers and have spent capital and training to implement a CRM and it hasn’t gone the way expected – It is time to develop an honest relationship with your sales reps. Any relationship is based on honesty. If you address this problem the payoff can be substantial.

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