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Have CRMs Failed Us In Sales?

CRMs have pretty much become the ubiquitous business tool for sales organizations. Formally referred to as Customer Relationship Management systems, a CRM is designed to allow businesses to become more efficient by organizing customer contact information and tracking sales opportunities through a sales process. They are built to aggregate leading and lagging sales KPIs for the purpose of making better informed decisions. And they have the capabilities to automate a variety of sales functions for improved efficiency, as well as scaling marketing efforts for more effective customer acquisition.

So why do CRMs often become nothing more than a time consuming, and expensive, Rolodex? Why are so few of their purported benefits realized? Have CRMs failed us, or have we failed to select and use CRMs properly? My experience has shown me the latter to be true and below are the 3 most common mistakes I see companies make:

1) Investing in a CRM because they hear it is “the best” on the market vs. what is the best for their business. Understanding what you need and do not need for today’s purposes, as well as anticipated needs in the future is critical in CRM selection. Too often I have seen CRMs chosen that are just too complex for a company’s needs, leading to low or inconsistent usage. Conversely, I have seen companies choose a CRM that is far too basic, limiting their abilities to scale and grow.

2) Leadership is not fully on board with using a CRM. The company may have invested in a CRM but that does not always mean the sales manager sees the value in it. And when they do not value CRM usage then neither will their employees. For a CRM to be effective it needs to be central to all thing sales: deal tracking, forecasting, KPI measurement, customer communication, & sales reporting. Everything becomes much easier when the whole team is working from the same database.

3) Failing to update CRM customization after initial setup. Business procedures change and your CRM must change accordingly. It is common to see companies use their CRM the same way they did years ago, even though they have added products and/or teams with different sales processes. To realize the benefits a CRM has to offer it has to be updated to the way you are currently doing business. It is worth the investment!

If you're having trouble getting your sales team to perform at a higher level, in need of building a sales team & structure for growth, or having trouble recruiting high-performing sales professionals, please direct message me here to schedule a free consultation, or email me at

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