Are we getting it all wrong when choosing a CRM?

If the National Tennis Federation would oblige all their athletes to play with the same type of racket, do you think the pros would agree and play better?

There’s a saying in the construction industry: “Nobody has never been fired for buying a Caterpillar.”

The same idea seems to apply in the CRM world. If you have no idea what to buy – because they all seem to do the same job – buy the big brand name. But while this logic may work in the wheel loader space, it does not make sense in sales, now or in the future.

So why do companies subscribe to legacy systems when there are so many great smaller players in the market? We took this question at heart when we developed The Rudolf, our real-time, mobile sales solution designed specifically for sales professionals to take your sales operations to the next level.

 

The CRM choice

In the US, the decision to buy a legacy system is still being made by the IT department. Chief Marketing Officers, whose role today is becoming as big as the CIO’s, do not always fully understand what’s happening in the sales field. They want to measure marketing results. But those objectives are difficult to achieve when someone who does not specialize in sales is choosing the tools they work with. The sales teams’ operational requirements are too often viewed as secondary.

In Scandinavia, the approach seems to be more holistic. Companies are looking through a wider lens the implications of using a CRM. CRM has become a part of the digitalization process, unlike in the US, where the operational logic is still very much focused around lead generation and funnel activity. In the rest of Europe we also found that, especially in smaller companies, the sales directors have a bigger say in CRM decisions. But, the bottomline is that, IT and Management still believe that “one-size fits all”. But, it does not in the future. Every department will have their specific tool to work with.

Think about it. If the National Tennis Federation forced every ATP-ranked player to play with the same specific racket model, do you think the pros would accept it? No way. They want to choose the racket with the individualized features that will help them win. So, who is the pro in the sales department of a company? It’s the salesman.

 

A new sales era

So, why might we be getting it all wrong when choosing a CRM for our company?

Let’s assume that CRM’s main function is to be a “contact directory” and help users to forecast based on numbers. Makes sense, but if the future of sales is also about customer insights and analytics, how do we obtain this information and what information do we want to gather to do our job better?

CRM still tend to measure too much numbers and leads. The leading CRM and “legacy” producers have neither adhered fully to this “future of CRM” trend, nor they have improved related dramatically processes over the past 10 years, despite all of the new apps and platforms that have been developed since then.

The fact is that, the logic of lead generation and funnel feed is becoming somewhat “old school.”

In the new era of sales, there are other parameters to measure and focus on. For example, what is the value of real time market insights and customer understanding. Or simply measurement of how “our sales people” interact with the client and efficiency of extracting information or advising client?

Millennials, for example, are “social engagers” and do not want to be measured as numbers in the workforce. And personally, I do not know anybody who likes their performance measured in histograms.

But if you do, what are you really measuring? How many leads you have generated and their success rate? Or the substance and accuracy of the market insight you have provided? You can’t measure that on histograms or pie charts. And didn’t somebody say, that the future is all about data and how well we use it?

The world of CRM and the way we think about sales and efficiency in companies is changing. Many things within the process of sales calls and visits will change dramatically in the coming decade. One of these changes will be in reporting: It will become partly obsolete.

Just think about it, I’m a product of the MTV generation. I could barely watch music videos for three minutes. But the new workforce is happy with five-second tweets and snapchats. And in many cases, in order to reach your millennial colleague down the hall, you’re better off sending a text than an email.

 

Accessible innovation

So, why do we still subscribe to decades-old technologies and process thinking that does not converge with future working methods, ideas and behaviors? There is a plethora of innovative new tools and apps in the market that do.

These apps are easy to learn and use, and cater to the operational and information-gathering needs of the modern worker and company. They are also fast to deploy and integrate as add-ons to your CRMs and ERPs. Moreover, they are customizable to individual working methods – unlike existing legacy systems. The Rudolf was built on this new user logic, and was designed by sales people for sales people to optimize your process and maximize productivity.

So before you decide on your CRM, think about what you really need, who needs it within your organization, and how they are going to use it. Claiming that your CRM increases productivity might not be wrong. But as long as your competitors are using the same CRM, it is the processes, add-ons and the people – not the tool– that make the difference in productivity.

 

The Writer: JUHA SEPPÄNEN (CEO of THE RUDOLF)
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