New marketing demystified for Indian SMEs

Why CRM is not for hunters

Or, why Sales Hates CRM

Just saw this question on the LinkedIn forum CRM Experts, “Why Sales hates CRM”.

I resisted the temptation to jump in and post a comment; when last seen, the comments had gone to 80 in number and climbing.

Most comments were centered around the two pet peeves of salesmen:

“We do all the hard work; log our activities and customer profiles just so that marketing/ management can look good”.

“CRM does not get me sales; it just records that I either got a sale or lost it”.

And, the insecurity point: “I, and only I, need to know all the customer data. Let’s face it, if the company knew all that I knew about my customer, would they still need to keep me in my job?”.

I am not spending time here to defend a CRM system, least of all Salesgenie CRM++ from the fears or insecurities voiced above except to say that good salesmen are precious, hard to find resources. And, they are prized for their knowledge and contacts but even more so for their skills and experience. No software, howsoever good, will ever come close to replacing a good salesman.

That said, I want to make a more fundamental point here about why salesmen do not see value in CRM.

There are two broad classes of selling behaviors: hunting and farming. A CRM system tends to encourage the farming behavior. So, for sales cycles which are long, accounts that are large and industries where the decision making is complex or time consuming, a salesman appreciates a CRM system. Why? Because, he appreciates the nurturing of his prospects that a CRM system can automate; allows multiple touch points but does not require him to relinquish control.

Shorten the sales cycle and the CRM system can still pass muster with the Sales Team if, and only if, the CRM system regularly keeps the “sales lead funnel” well filled.

Don’t get me wrong. Marketing normally does a great job of putting together names that the sales team should chase; but, if those are “sales leads”, then the sales people are not happy. They need far more background information for the leads to be of any value. They need to know interaction history, profile data including the relevance to any product interest voiced recently.

Sales can always do with more leads: Well, no! If by leads, you mean a list of contact names which requires the sales guys to do all the hard work, then, no. They are not interested.

But, give them more relevant leads, with contextual information like product interest, some idea of where the decision making about the product purchase would lie in the contact organization and even better, the actions the contacts related to the lead have taken in the last few weeks. Watch them drool!


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