CRM - What's in it for me?

Management information is the lifeblood of any organisation.  How much are we going to sell?  When are we going to sell it?  How confident are you that we’ll get the deal?  What are the obstacles?  Are we speaking to the right people?  What’s your next action?  (And so on).  If managers knew the answers to these and other fundamental questions and the answers were accurate, running the business would be so much easier – and profitable.

To get the answers they need, companies invest often large sums of money in “CRM” (Customer Relationship Management) systems. Salespeople enter the required data in… and out pops the required management information.  Easy, really, isn’t it?

 And to back up the importance of CRM, here are some statistics from a variety of sources for example:

  •  Without CRM, 79% of leads fail to convert (Pardot).

  • The CAGR on CRM is 15.1% (Forbes).

  • A 41% revenue increase is realised with CRM (Trackvia)

  • Leads that are nurtured in the CRM system convert 47% of the time (Annuitas Group)

So surely the “What’s in it for me?” is obvious?  Unfortunately however, adoption rates suggest otherwise. Forrester Research has found that 49% of CRM systems fail. CSO Insights reveal that less than 40% have full scale end-user adoption. Salespeople are often reluctant to enter the data, seeing it as an unnecessary distraction from their primary role (i.e. selling) and furthermore, not particularly useful to them. “The output may be important for management, but it does nothing for me” is the gist of what many a salesperson thinks.  

But why is this, if the benefits are so obvious and powerful? 

There are a number of reasons, that start (and occasionally end) with ease of use.  Entering the data takes time. The logic rarely fits in neatly with the method that the salesperson uses (always assuming that they use a method). They see the software as cumbersome to use, frequently asking questions that they see as irrelevant and is often considered awkward to navigate.  And after all that, they see themselves as no better off and no closer to winning the deals they’re working on.

So how do we fix this? 

As so often with life, the answers to simple questions can be quite complex.  For CRM, the clue to the answer lies in the “What’s in it for me?” question.  As long as salespeople cannot see an answer (other than “nothing” or “do it or else”), adoption rates will be low.  

All the CRM system needs to do – and it shouldn’t be all that difficult – is to start giving the salespeople valuable information as well - chief among which is surely what they still need to do to win the deal. This might include: accurate identification of exactly where a deal is the customer’s buying process, who they still need to get onside, any potential roadblocks and specific actions to progress the opportunity to a successful conclusion.

So, the answer to the question “What’s in it for me?” is “Information that helps me win the deal”. Get this right and user adoption will skyrocket.