For every CRM success story, there’s a complete and utter failure.
About half of all CRM initiatives are eventually abandoned or fail to generate a positive return on investment, and low user adoption is often cited as the main culprit. According to MHI Global, only a third of CRM projects are adopted by 90% or more of their sales teams. The rest face an uphill battle, with sales reps drifting back to using spreadsheets and emails to manage their customer communications.
So what’s causing these CRM platforms to be rejected by the people they’re supposed to be helping? Here are the six most common reasons why sales reps quit their CRMs.
1. The CRM’s value to the sales rep is unclear.
If a sales manager forces a CRM onto their sales team without any notice or discussion, sales reps will treat it with suspicion: They didn’t ask for this thing, they don’t know how it works, and its benefit to their daily lives is never properly explained.In fact, CRM can appear harmful to sales reps who see it purely as a management tool to monitor them and steal their book of business—which is why many salespeople choose to maintain their contacts outside of the company’s CRM. As a result, a whopping 79% of opportunity-related data gathered by sales reps is never entered in their CRMs, according to ESNA. [tweet this!]
That’s not a failure of CRM; it’s a failure to take the sales reps’ needs into consideration during the buying process. Before implementing a CRM solution, sales managers should do the following:
- Have an open conversation with their reps to learn about the time-wasting inefficiencies that the team faces on a daily basis.
- Look for CRM platforms that solve those specific problems.
- Explain how CRM will help sales reps save time and close more deals when used correctly.
- Make the final decision with their team.
If sales reps feel like they have no say in the matter, they’ll rebel against the system from the get-go. [tweet this!]
2. Sales reps are overwhelmed by the software.
“I’m not a computer guy. What is this propellerhead garbage?”
When you’ve been working off of cocktail napkins your entire career, the idea of learning a complicated software platform is daunting. And if you have to learn it by yourself, forget it. You might as well ask your reps to build a rocket ship and fly it to Mars.
Sales reps aren’t software experts, and requiring them to use a complex CRM system sets them up for failure. The widespread confusion caused by complex CRM platforms—especially for first-time users of CRM—explains why just 13% of reps use the full capabilities of their sales tools, according to an Accenture report from earlier this year. Companies pour money down the drain every month paying for feature-loaded CRMs, when their sales reps barely understand how to perform basic tasks.
Inevitably, the CRMs that are the most successful are the ones that are intuitive and make sense out of the box. InsideCRM found that 55% of sales professionals feel that ease-of-use is the most important feature of a CRM. [tweet this!] If a CRM platform comes with a long learning curve, sales reps won’t buy in. Speaking of which...
3. No training and no support.
Proper training is the secret sauce to CRM implementation. [tweet this!] Sales reps shouldn’t be expected to use any customer relationship management system without a structured onboarding period where every rep is guided through the CRM’s most important features.
Unfortunately, this rarely happens. Instead, sales managers hand off the CRM to their teams with little formalized instruction. Sales reps might be taught the basics during the initial rollout, but new hires often don’t get the same onboarding attention, and if they run into roadblocks along the way, it’s up to them to find a solution.
For a CRM to have a fighting chance at being fully adopted by a sales team, it has to provide free customer support, with a team of in-house experts who can offer guidance and answer technical questions by phone, email, or live chat. But with some sales platforms, ongoing support is a paid add-on that isn’t available to the users who need it most—which leads to a mass exodus of frustrated sales reps fleeing their CRM.