3 Reasons Salespeople Won’t Use CRM and How to Change Their Minds

October 7, 2020 | 5 minute read
Christiane Soto
Senior Marketing Manager - CX
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Why do sales reps refuse to use their CRM systems? How can you ensure that they use customer relationship management (CRM) effectively?  Two very valid questions with answers that aren’t all that clear. Sales is very people-oriented, and all people have very different approaches, viewpoints, likes, and dislikes. However, with a little digging, three reasons your sales team won’t use CRM will bubble to the surface. So let’s take a look.

1) Manual data entry, dirty data, and CRM

A salesperson’s job is to sell. Sell more, improve margins, make more money. They’re not paid—at least they and their bosses don’t see it that way—to sit at a desk and manually enter data. They get paid to reach out to accounts, email and call prospective customers, and schedule appointments. If selling is their business, is it any wonder they delay logging into their CRM system to input data? Procrastination leads to missed and forgotten data points. For example, if you sat down after work and tried to document every conversation you had that day, could you remember what you said to every co-worker?

Today, almost every aspect of business is data-centric. The more you know, the better you perform. But if customer data is manually, sporadically inputted, no one really knows the whole customer—that all-important 360-degree view. In addition, once it becomes evident that incomplete or bogus data resides in the CRM, the sales team and other stakeholders will begin to lose trust. That forces them out of the CRM system and into some very inefficient and non-productive work habits.

2) CRM system is too difficult to use

Call it complicated, not intuitive, or just plain hard. The bottom line is that if a piece of software isn’t easy to use from the get-go, it won’t be used. Our personal expectations of simplicity have seeped into our work lives. If I download an app to my mobile phone and begin using it immediately to track my activity, scan a document, or buy groceries, then my customer relationship management (CRM) system better provide me the same level of instant gratification or immediate value as well.

If CRM is hard to use, sales teams won’t use it. They’ll procrastinate running reports or providing sales forecasts because they can’t remember which icons to click. They may also revert back to downloading data from the CRM and then manually entering that data into spreadsheets.

We all know copying and pasting data into spreadsheets can lead to errors. Mistakes grow exponentially so that sales forecasts are inaccurate, pipelines are impossible to track, and customers receive the wrong quotes or bids.

3) Customer relationship management (CRM) provides no value

Many sales reps see no value in entering and managing the data in a CRM, because it doesn’t help them connect to customers and prospects. It isn’t a communication device like phone or email.

Anything that’s seen as providing value will be used. But that brings up the question – ‘what is value?’  Does the definition differ between management and sales? One of the main reasons given for adopting a CRM system is growth. Everyone likes growth, but does it help sales team members do their jobs?

The fact is there’s a gap between what sales and other stakeholders see as value. Growth doesn’t equal value for every CRM stakeholder, but nearly everyone sees the value in simplifying processes. Chances are that if a CRM solution can simplify processes, especially the very human-oriented, non-structured sales process, then sales teams will rally around it.

CRM can simplify the sales process with functionality that gives sales teams the power to know more, act quicker, and focus in a way that accelerates and closes more deals. There’s value in being able to:

  • Expand the total addressable market and create ideal customer profiles
  • Pinpoint who within an account is the best person to talk to
  • Make better assessments about opportunities and reduce risk
  • Identify and prioritize the best sales opportunities
  • Take the next-best actions learned from past efforts and outcomes
  • Always be in-the-know with updated smart talking points
  • Identify gaps within an account and make product recommendations

More insights on making your CRM smarter.

How to get sales reps to use CRM

For sales reps to see the value, they need their CRM system to do the following three things.

  1. Support mobile CRM. Sales reps want their CRM to be where they are. They need a CRM system that’s accessible and usable across mobile devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Whatever the mobile tool of choice is, the CRM must be usable—either through a simple user interface, a chatbot or email client, or integrated into another tool—and available to the salesperson.
  2. Provide situational context and make appropriate recommendations. “Situational context” is an unpleasant sounding phrase for an honestly simple concept. As humans, we apply context every day. Don’t know what a word/phrase means? Pay attention to non-verbal cues and listen to the words around the unknown word. Context provides the 360-degree view that helps you figure things out and see the bigger picture. But what if you didn’t have those other words or couldn’t grasp non-verbal cues? You would have no context, and the situation would be pretty hard to figure out. And that’s why a CRM that provides context for that 360-degree view is important. It allows you to truly understand your customers, and with this insight—and a little AI and machine learning thrown in for good measure—your CRM can provide “next best step” recommendations, create ideal profiles for better opportunity targeting, and generate relevant talking points to keep conversations going. That is value.
  3. Highlight what’s important and shorten sales cycles. With AI-enhanced lead scoring and opportunity assessment, sales reps can focus on those accounts that have the potential to close the quickest and be the most profitable. By identifying product gaps, your CRM system can provide upsell and cross-sell recommendations as well as relevant talking points, all to help keep conversations progressing and push opportunities down the funnel. On top of this, if the CRM system can unearth opportunities (based on an ideal customer profile, for example), then the value is very apparent, and your sales team’s job has become a lot easier and much more scalable.

Learn more about how to choose the best CRM your sales team’s needs.

Learn more about CRM systems, the benefits of customer relationship management, and key functionality that will provide value and make your sales teams want to use your CRM. And Oracle can help. We have the tools (to make CRM easy to use), the data (to create ideal customer profiles and to fill in data gaps for current customer profiles), and the integrated CX solution to help provide a complete customer history for a personalized sales experience.

To learn more, check out the Nucleus Research CRM Technology Value Matrix.

Christiane Soto

Senior Marketing Manager - CX

Christiane Soto is a Senior Content Manager for all things Oracle CX. With over 20 years of content marketing experience, writing on (pretty much) any subject you can think of, Chris (as her friends call her) loves to break down complex concepts around technology and make them understandable. Her rule of thumb is write so your grandmother can understand it. When not interviewing, researching, or sitting at her keyboard, clacking away, Chris can be found somewhere on a trail walking her dogs, at the Pilates studio, or mulling where her teenagers have run off to.

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