Your CRM Sucks! (And how to choose the one for your business)

One of the most common things I hear sales managers moan about is that “no one uses our CRM.”

To be honest, I don’t blame your people for not using it. CRMs suck. They are over engineered, over complicated and exist for lazy sales managers to “manage” from afar so they can blame their people for poor sales results.

I also can’t stand the drivel CRM companies force feed the market. They are there to sell their software – not to give you advice on how to make more sales.

Simply put, a CRM system is not going to help you make sales. They are not a quick fix and they will not create an automated lead flow funnel for you. They are not going to rescue you if your results are down. There is no money back guarantee and if you call to ask what’s going wrong you will likely be met with 45 minutes of Massive Attack while you’re left on hold.

I would even go so far as to say that CRMs create more administrative overhead and actually detract from your sales people spending time sitting in front of customers. Most of the time the management team aren’t even looking at the reports that get produced from the CRM and any average sales person will use the excuse of needing to sit comfortably at their desk to update the CRM over making prospecting calls any chance they can.

CRMS are good for one reason only; so Steve knows what to do when Dave gets hit by a bus.

That’s it.

But, with a sigh and a resigned hunching of my shoulders I accept that most businesses think they need one. So I will instead share my thoughts on how to make a CRM work for you – instead of against you.

There are 3 keys to the effective use of a CRM

  1. Client/prospect contact details are in there (Answering the key question: how do I reach them?)
  2. Sales stages/process are built in (So you can easily see where are they in the process)
  3. Being clear on ‘What’s the next step?’ (So that everyone knows, at all times, what the next action is to move the sale along)


All the other stuff is fluff – additional features and so-called benefits that the developers liked. The fluff isn’t key to growing your sales. If you want to grow your sales you need to know where every prospect is in their sales process, how to contact them and what you need to do next to move them to the next stage of the process, so you can deliberately nudge them closer to closing the sale.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is either selling a CRM solution or is someone who doesn’t actually do sales as their core role (i.e. a sales manager or some other manager in the business).

Anyone who has done coal face, front-line selling knows that what matters is that you spend your time sitting in front of potential customers and managing their progress through your sales process. Hence why it is vital that you know what you (or they) need to do next. This is how you make more sales and how you manage your sales activity.

So, having said all this… it does not matter which system you choose; they all promise most of the same stuff and perform the same functionality. I have personally found those with a multi-stage Kanban board system useful for tracking my lead progress visually, so if they have that feature it’s a nice bonus.

I also find the simpler the better.

So before you go and spend a fortune putting in some hefty and expensive piece of machinery, go through a software selection process. Start with the three points above and grade the software’s ability to meet those three functions first. Then add in the other things you would like, or features that are ‘must haves’ or ‘nice to haves’ and grade those too.

Then it’s simply a case of selecting the one that scores the highest and making sure you have spoken to their customer service person (hopefully a human being) to ensure you aren’t going to be stung with hidden set up fees and other customisation or migration charges.

Remember, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and they are just that; a tool for managing your relationship with customers. In other words, a CRM system is just a piece of software. It’s not any good for anything else. Nor does it exist to grow your business or your sales – it’s there to help you manage your relationships – so don’t fall for any of the additional bullshit.

A CRM system is essentially a complicated piece of software that replicates a giant phone book with some extra detail. Don’t let it overcomplicate your business.

If what you need is more sales, focus on your sales generating activity (the things that enable you to sit in front of more potential customers) and in managing these customers through your sales process.

For more on how to do this click here:

No Comments

Post A Comment