According to studies by Gartner Group, the worldwide Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market grew 13.7% from $18B in 2012 to $20.4B in 2013 and is projected to be worth $26.5B by 2017 (Source). However, research has also shown that CRM adoption is less than 50%. That means ~$10 Billion worth of CRM investments in 2013 alone faces a questionable outcome.
What’s more startling is the fact that sales people often spend less than 35 percent of their time in selling. Companies using CRM software had 17% more revenue. Traditional CRM is a repository of sales data and it can organize the sales process but it doesn’t necessarily accelerate the sales process.
Sales reps are really busy. One of their main goals (heck, it is their only goal!) is to sell and close more deals. Their compensation depends on how much they sell. One of the biggest issues sales reps are having with CRM is that it takes too much time. Why is it like that? Isn’t most CRM systems designed specifically to help sales reps make more sales.
Here is the sad truth. Most of the CRM systems are built for sales executives and managements who make purchasing decision. They are not built for sales reps. These CRM systems have fancy dashboards, charts and KPIs. However, if sales reps are not entering data into these CRM systems (because it’s a major pain), all these dashboards and charts will be empty.
How do you ensure that sales reps enter data (correct data, not junk) into the CRM system? One option is to give the reps some incentive to go through this painful process of data entry. This is not a sustainable option. Other option is to build the next generation CRM system that is built for sales reps. Of course it needs to have all those so called fancy charts and dashboards for sales executives and managements.
When sales reps spend time X to enter data into a CRM system, they should get 5-10X worth of benefit from the CRM system or the system as a whole. What does that mean? The next generation CRM system should be more than a CRM system, it should be a Customer360 system. It should be a system that integrates information from CRM system, emails, calendars, tasks, notes, product issue system, bug tracking system, document management system, marketing system and more. This uber system should be able to send contextual and intelligent alerts/notifications to the users (sales reps, sales executives, etc.) when they need it. Sales reps should be able to find all relevant information about a customer, an account or a deal from this one system. They shouldn’t have to log in to many different systems to search and gather information which is a significant wastage of time. Above all, they should be able to do all of these things while they are on the road using their smartphone or wearable like smart watch.
This next generation CRM system should automate as many things as possible for sales reps so that they can spend more time selling. Despite the low rate of adoption, about 70-80 percent of businesses will keep using their existing CRM. This is because there are no 10X better alternatives out there. It is also because they already spent a lot of money in their existing CRM.
While CRM has done a fairly good job in offering a location for customer data, the data needs some context, which many CRM systems don’t offer. Also, CRM system is just one of the sources of information. Equally valuable information is scattered across many other systems. In order to improve CRM adoption among sales reps, it is absolutely critical to do information aggregation, synthesis, enrichment, and contextualization. Equally important is the simple yet elegant presentation and ability of manipulation of the information via mobile and wearable devices.
What do you think?