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CRM 1.0 May Not Support Sales 2.0

In late 2011, SAP commissioned CSO Insights to independently explore the issues surrounding changing buyer behaviors and the use of CRM technologies to support more effective selling in this new environment.

I went back and reviewed the report again and found a number of nuggets that were extremely interesting and worth noting (and commenting on here):

  • “The number one business objective for sales for the past several years has been increasing revenues; yet, this is reported as a CRM benefit by less than 15% of the companies we surveyed.”
    This finding seems to imply that CRM efforts may be too focused on driving internal efficiencies and not focused enough on supporting positive outcomes for customers (and sellers).
  • “Usage remains a challenge, with just 26% of firms reporting >90% of sales reps having the CRM application built into their daily workflow. Of equal concern, when rating their CRM system‘s ability/usefulness in supporting today‘s selling requirements, the evaluations are even more damning.”
    With the report finding that over 85% of large firms use CRM, this result is very disappointing, but not unexpected when coupled with some of the other facts.  Clearly, we need to make the sales aspects of CRM more about enabling more effective selling and less about internal efficiencies and tracking to drive adoption.  If those items were your focus, you aren’t getting those benefits anyway if people aren’t using the system.
  • “87% of the firms participating in this study stated that reps needed the help of three or more additional people to help sell to an account.”   This was followed by a graphic assessing the value of CRM technologies for collaboration:
    Chart shoing that many don't feel CRM helps with knowledge sharing or collaboration
    With over 65% respondents finding these systems to be somewhat useful or less,   it seems obvious that traditional CRM systems are not designed to support deal oriented collaboration.  The opportunity to leverage social technologies in the context of CRM systems holds a lot of promise in this are.
  • You may find that your CRM system has run out of gas or is not compatible with some of these newer demands. If so, you may be one of the growing number of companies (27%) that is considering replacing their current CRM system within a year.”
    If this report, or better yet your own results, leaves you questioning the value of your current systems, recognize that you are not alone.  Revisiting your CRM strategies and technologies in light of the changing customer environment provides an opportunity to refocus your efforts on sales effectiveness and other customer centric initiatives.

These are just a sampling of some of the data and insights found in the paper.   It may cause you to change some of your thinking around CRM and sales improvements.

Read the CSO Insights Paper

To get the whole story behind the CSO Insights research, check out the whole paper, “Improving Sales Effectiveness in a Buyer’s Market”

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