From the early 2000s onwards, customer relationship management (CRM) systems started to become a must-have for CMOs and other senior and board-level leaders.
Directors and managers of field sales teams aren’t usually positive about CRMs. Despite a wide range of companies providing these products, including legacy tech giants and ones that have become household names, such as Salesforce, field sales teams are often forced to use them when they aren’t fit-for-purpose.
For marketing, customer service and inside sales teams, when staff are working in an office and at a desk all day, CRMs do the job. Customer data is recorded securely.
And yet, even in an office environment, CRMs aren’t always an overwhelming success. Studies from Gartner, Forrester Research, the Economist Intelligence Unit and many others indicate an average CRM failure rate of 50% over the past two decades. Field sales teams are amongst those most likely to stop using a CRM to record the outcome of meetings and calls.
Why CRMs aren’t the solution for field sales teams?
Although many CRMs have apps as part of the service offering, recording the details of a sales meeting or call can take time. It’s often easier to do this on a laptop, using a web-based rather than a mobile version of an application.
Consequently, Friday afternoons have become convenient “admin time” for many field sales teams. In practice, this means sales managers are relying on out-dated information about meetings and calls that happened several days ago.
Managers often aren’t seeing this data until the next week, or even the week after, depending on whether or not a company has another layer of CRM data analysis in place. It could be several weeks until a manager talks to various team members about performance and what’s being recorded, or not recorded.
Sales managers have to ask themselves whether out-dated information is of much use?
Field sales team members often equally wonder whether its worth the time and effort recording anything in much detail, since any feedback or support from management is going to be about the present, not focusing much on meetings and calls several weeks ago.
It shouldn’t need pointing out, but sales are time sensitive.
Information on meetings from several weeks ago aren’t going to help improve performance this week. And if outputs are the main thing a sales leader is measuring, then they’re watching the wrong indicators.
What would be better than a CRM?
To ensure managers can manage teams in the most proactive way possible, then a real-time overview of activity, not simply outputs, is essential.
Managers should have a clear idea how many calls and meetings are being made every day. Is your team active enough to get enough leads in the pipeline to hit target? If the activity you are looking at was several weeks ago, then that is a massive opportunity missed.
Only real-time data can improve activity levels right now.
An easier-to-use system, giving field sales agents the ability to record meetings/calls in 60 seconds, such as i-snapshot is more effective at giving managers the real-time data they need to improve activity levels. When sales reps are more active, doing more calls and meetings — if some of them aren’t active enough or performing well enough — outputs are naturally going to improve.
Only real-time data can give sales managers the insights they need to support their teams the right way to drive forward proactive improvements.
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