Overrating CRM. What risks?

Following the series on CRM problems and solutions: reasons why organisations Stuck with their CRM.


In the previous article, we mentioned the risk of considering the CRM just a simple-undervalued tool, a “software” to use just to keep in touch with contacts. Today we will see the opposite, overrating CRM, considering it a CRM as the healing for every organisational issue:

  • The CRM should boost productivity and outputs.
  • People should love it, they have just to learn how to work better with it.

Choosing a CRM: An overestimated tool

When an organisation makes the mistake of overestimating the effects of implementing a CRM, the symptoms can be:

  • few data are added to the CRM
  • little reporting issues or inaccurate reports
  • great differences between people’s utilization
  • differences in data input performed by each salesperson
  • a reduced performance of sales

Stories about overrating CRM:

A top manager who had to choice a provider once confessed: “If I get someone with limited reputation and something goes wrong, I’m will be responsible for the failure.”

A sales manager once has been caught in using Excel to collect and analyse sales data, then every quarter import those data into the corporate CRM to produce the expected reports.

The possible scenario: organisational culture can affect decision-making, so big brands become a safer choice, maybe not the best one. And people do not always eat what corporation management decides for them.

Overrating CRM. What risks?

Why a CRM should be so complex?

Simple solutions to complex environments are not always easy to achieve, but we have to try for it! When Dropbox’s founder, Drew Huston, proposed his solution for a Cloud repository, he really simplified that complexity. Something that Google hasn’t done yet.

Too simple solutions aimed at extremely complex problems couldn’t work either, but let’s try to clarify the complexity of a sales process. How complicated is an organisation’s sales process depends on mainly its own business model: markets are complex, but if we want to empower people to manage that complexity, we have to reduce it into small chunks to bite.

Marketing and lead generation are complex activities, maybe the more complex stage of sales, but they are not sales yet. Sales actually start when leads are generated, when the sales team receives those “fresh, unknown, contacts” to work with.


Sales Management Can Be Simple

We believe that a sales management software solution can be simple, at least simple enough to allow the salesperson to focus on what really matters: the client.

When a salesperson finds complicated fill-in data, takes notes, moves leads into deals, defines a deal’s sales stage into the pipeline, or organizes data, then the system fails.

Aaron Ross was one of the first to clarify why marketing and sales have to be two different teams: leads generation is a specific activity in itself, sales another one. The two skills result non-compatible in the same person. The type of actions required cannot be more different so that sales people are terrible at lead generation and marketers who nurture lead generation are normally unable to close sales.

When an organisation approaches a strategic decision such as CRM implementation, or even its substitution, it can be quite tempting to rely on that piece of software to solve all those issues that keep the business on the ground. Here, CRM salespeople are very good at making entrepreneurs dream: “You will have everything under control!” or “We will make your business soar…”.

But these are just sales techniques: who doesn’t show the best possible scenario in order to engage prospects?


Should a CRM just be extremely simple?

Don’t get me wrong, some of those valuable CRMs are perfect, and when an organisation has the capability to bring on board the value created by those pieces of software it is absolutely great to pursue that. Would you imagine Tiger Woods playing driving range class balls? But if he would do that, do you really think his rank would drop to zero?

What about Cody Blick, a golf professional who, after having been stolen from his golf bag, borrowed some clubs, bought some wedges in the local shop at the course, and won the game? Tools are important, but they only fill the last mile of the value creation chain, not all of it.

When a CRM reduces the complexity of the sales process, it facilitates the job of the people involved in it. That is a good starting point: a user interface friendly and easy to understand is essential to pursuing a sales manager’s engagement. But what really makes the difference is the logic behind the system. Some organisations rely on a large amount of data to profile clients, but how much data is really key to closing the deal is something they don’t really know.

The expert salesperson knows what data matters to close the deal, if we force salespersons to fill in a big chunk of data and stay into the system’s parameters to proceed, there is a great possibility that some salespersons will skip it. Some very diligent will do right and organized, but the most creative and free spirit ones won’t. And when it comes to sales, ambition and free spirit are essential.


Complex as it is.

The complexity of a good CRM cannot be completely explained here. An enhanced User Interface that reduces complexity, engages people, and achieves productivity boost, is something more articulate than just showing too simple solutions. The message we can bring here is that some really complex, and sometimes expensive, pieces of software are not the solution.

The purpose of a CRM should be to simplify the sales process management. Business managers have to attempt to create the right balance between the simplicity of the sales process management and the complexity of the whole outcome. Design a CRM that works starts with a clear vision of the business model, the processes involved, and the key activities to attempt in order to make sales soar.

We, at easyCRM, are business experts more than coder people, we use IT to help organisations achieve their own goals, starting from their basic needs. Pipedrive CRM with its Activity Based Selling logic really helps us to design an effective CRM around each business.


Never Spend Too Much.

In the previous article, we saw how “spending too little”, facing the business value and the expected outcomes, can drastically diminish the business value itself. Now we focus on the capability to use “limited resources” to generate great value as an entrepreneurial skill without that no business can survive.

Invest the proper amount of resources, not just money, to put in place the best value creation of your own business as part of a CRM project. Start with why, then clarify how.

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