Salespeople shun sales administration in favour of actively selling. However, although some salespeople seem to do just fine with good memory and a spreadsheet or two, most do not fare well with this approach long term. Today we explore the successes and failures of CRM programs and how they affect the overall sales process. But also why is sales administration necessary?
Successful salespeople have one thing in common: they have relationships with customers. However, when it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs, too many salespeople feel that admin programs serve management rather than support the sales process. And traditionally, yes, CRM programs were written to capture data. They were not written with salespeople or the sales process in mind.
Common issues with CRM programs
Salespeople are sociable people. It is, therefore, no wonder that administration falls down if not off their list of rewarding activities. Let’s have a look at the problems with CRM programs and why salespeople have come to despise administration.
It takes up too much time
Most salespeople complete an enormous list of tasks during the course of a day. They are then expected to do the same on their company’s CRM portal. Fields for travel, projections, quotations, meetings, tiering, ticket logging, and feedback, for example, find their way to every customer’s profile. For this reason, salespeople loathe updating activities as the information they must enter is often irrelevant to the sales process and, in their opinion, a waste of time. What is more, data is used by managers to monitor instead of support the sales process. Salespeople are, therefore, neither motivated nor incentivised to update customer records or activities. What they are, however, incentivised for is actual sales.
It is too complicated
CRM programs can be overwhelming to learn and master. Most salespeople do not entirely understand what they must fill in where, or why. This is especially evident in companies that do not have a proper employee entry process where training forms part of the welcome package. Newbies, therefore, have no choice but to learn what they can from their colleagues who are not invested in their success at the company.
Data in CRM programs is outdated
Outdated data is the key reason salespeople hate CRM programs. Data merges, inaccurate entries and missing information contribute to sheets and lists that mean nothing. Salespeople also often prefer not to mention their struggle with outdated data as this may lead to a data clean-up exercise that will fall on them to perform too.
In an earlier section, we mentioned that salespeople are outgoing. So, to a salesperson, time used for sales is the only time that matters. Another reason salespeople avoid admin is their tendency to be goal-oriented. That is, they are driven by the outcome, not by process.
The consequence of a goal-oriented personality is, however, independence. In other words, salespeople feel that they are in the best position to determine their success. Practically this means that salespeople do not humbly take direction from persons or departments they think are not knowledgeable about their customer base. Salespeople are known to ‘do things differently in their area’ because they know something about their customers that HQ does not. Although these are all valid reasons for avoiding administration tasks, lack of administration remains a crucial factor for poor sales performance.