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 to consider the CRM just a simple tool, a “software” to use just keep in touch with contacts. Today we will see the opposite: considering 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 over estimated tool

When an organisation made the mistake to over estimate the effects of implementing a CRM, the symptoms can be:

  • few data are added into the CRM
  • little reporting issues or inaccurate reports
  • great differences between people utilisation
  • differences in data input performed by each sales person
  • a reduced performance of sales



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 not always eat what corporation management decide for them.

Why a CRM should be so complex?

Simple solution 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 didn’t do yet.

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

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

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

When sales person find complicated fill in data, take notes, move leads into deals, define a deal’s sales stage into the pipeline or organise data, then the system fails.

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

When an organisation approaches a strategic decision as the 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 in make 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 really good, and when an organisation has the capability to bring on board the value created by those piece 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 being stolen of his golf bag, has borrowed come clubs, bought some wedge 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 sales process it facilitate the job of people involved in it. That is a good starting point: a user interface friendly and easy to understand is essential to pursue sales managers engagement. But what really makes the difference is the logic behind the system. Some organisations rely on a big amount of data to profile clients, but how much data are really key to close the deal is something they don’t really know. Expert salesperson knows what data matter to close the deal, if we force sales persons to fill in 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 organised, but the most creative and free spirit ones won’t. And when we come to sales, ambitious 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 show too simple solutions. The message we can bring here is that some really complex, and sometime expensive, piece 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 start by clear vision of the business model, the processes involved in, the key activities to attempt in order to make sales soar.

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

Never Spend Too Much.

In the previous article we saw how “spend 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 is part of a CRM project. Start with why, then clarify how.

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