Debunking the Biggest Myths About CRMs

May 31, 2024

Debunking the Biggest Myths About CRMs

How to Identify and Navigate the Biggest hurdles Stopping Sales Teams from Optimal Use of Their CRMs  

In sales offices across B2B organizations, AEs and sales leaders grapple with their CRMs, questioning their promised benefits amidst the daily grind. Sales leadership faces resistance from their teams, battling misconceptions about the CRM's relevance. Meanwhile, sales folks on the ground wonder if CRMs can truly help them close business. 

At the core of this issue are several myths surrounding CRMs.  By debunking these myths, sales organizations can effectively address the underlying challenges.  This may involve implementing specific strategies to help better navigate these hurdles or exploring alternative tools and technologies that enhance CRM functionality or provide superior options altogether.

Myth 1: CRMs Make Salespeople's Lives Easier

One prevailing misconception about CRMs is that they are designed to streamline sales processes and simplify the lives of sales professionals. In reality, many sales teams find themselves investing more time inputting data into the CRM than reaping the benefits it promises. 

In a survey conducted by Futurum Research, findings revealed that 52% of salespeople have a love/hate dynamic with their CRM, indicating a complex relationship with these platforms. While CRMs are undoubtedly valuable for activity reporting and management oversight, their primary focus often caters to the needs of management rather than frontline sellers.

The efficacy of a CRM relies on its configuration and integration into the larger sales workflow. Sales leaders should explore specialized sales operation platforms or customer engagement tools that complement CRMs.  These platforms offer advanced features such as automated data entry, email tracking, and lead scoring to reduce manual effort and prioritize tasks effectively. By integrating these platforms into CRMs, it allows sales teams to leverage these capabilities to optimize the sales process. 

Beyond automating various tasks, these platforms can recommend optimal strategies and streamline workflows.  Incorporating them provides a holistic solution for sales and marketing operations, leading to greater internal adoption and overall business growth.

Myth 2: One Size Fits All

Another prevalent misconception is the belief that a single CRM solution can adequately cater to the diverse needs of different industries and businesses. The reality is that each industry has its own unique challenges and requirements

A CRM solution that is effective in one industry may not necessarily be suitable for another. For example, retail businesses may prioritize a CRM for managing customer loyalty programs, while healthcare providers might use it to schedule patient appointments efficiently.

To accommodate the diverse needs of various industries, sales teams should target CRM providers that offer customizable solutions tailored to specific verticals. This customization enables businesses to adapt the CRM to their unique processes and workflows, thereby ensuring maximum efficiency and effectiveness. By providing industry-specific features and functionalities, these CRMs can better address the distinct challenges faced by different sectors.

Some CRM providers work closely with industry experts and stakeholders to understand the distinct pain points and demands of each vertical. This collaboration drives the creation of industry-specific solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of businesses within that sector.

Again, alternative sales operation platforms often offer a superior level of customization and can still seamlessly integrate with existing general CRMs. This also allows CRMs to integrate market data from inside and outside sources, such as data insights platforms.  This is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of general CRM systems. Using these data streams allows sales teams to optimize sales pitches, workflows, and funnels – in real time – and ensures that the system is always providing up-to-date recommendations and insights specific to different verticals. 

For example, integrated CRMs can utilize real sales data gathered from sales operation platforms to establish campaign budget targets based on industry and objectives, providing a more informed approach to sales strategies. Sales teams can access insights and key metrics across advertiser categories and gain valuable recommendations to use this kind of data effectively.

Myth 3: CRM Adoption Is a Hurdle

Many organizations struggle with getting their sales teams to embrace and utilize CRM systems fully. Sales professionals often perceive using a CRM as adding unnecessary complexity to their workflow, detracting from their primary focus on selling.

Successful CRM adoption requires a strategic approach that emphasizes user training, change management, and incentivization. CRMs that are designed to align seamlessly with the natural workflow of sales teams, facilitating easy data input and value derivation, should be targeted.

Some CRMs also incorporate gamification elements such as leaderboards and clear feedback mechanisms that incentivize salespeople to engage more actively, enhancing their effectiveness.

Moreover, organizations should invest in comprehensive onboarding and training programs to ensure that sales teams are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to leverage the CRM effectively. This training should cover not only the technical aspects of using the CRM but also its strategic importance and potential benefits for sales performance and revenue generation.

Additionally, organizations can incentivize CRM adoption by tying it to performance metrics and rewards. For example, sales teams that consistently use the CRM to track their activities and manage customer relationships could be eligible for bonuses or other incentives. By aligning CRM usage with tangible rewards, organizations can motivate sales teams to embrace the system and realize its full potential in driving sales success.

Myth 4: CRMs Are Communication Panaceas 

While CRMs serve as powerful tools for managing customer relationships, they are not the ultimate solution for all communication and collaboration needs. Sales professionals often find themselves juggling multiple tools and platforms, leading to inefficiencies and frustrations.

Sales operation platforms also enable seamless integrations with communication and collaboration tools like email, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. By using these platforms to help centralize data and communication channels within the CRM, sales teams can streamline workflows and boost productivity. 

Furthermore, some CRM platforms offer advanced communication features such as real-time messaging, video conferencing, and collaborative document editing. These features enable sales teams to communicate and collaborate effectively within the CRM environment, eliminating the need to switch between multiple tools and platforms. These CRM platforms also tend to regularly update their platforms to incorporate the latest communication technologies and best practices, ensuring that sales teams have access to the tools they need to succeed in today's digital business environment.

While CRMs are indispensable for sales team management and customer relationship building, they are not without their faults.  Alternative sales operation platforms, customer engagement tools and data insight platforms often provide a pathway for sales leaders to more effectively navigate these hurdles.  

CRMs and sales operation platforms can (and should) collaborate throughout the sales process.  It's important to distinguish between the two and Integrate sales operations platforms with CRMs to address any sticking points so as to enhance deal velocity, boost customer retention, and drive revenue.

Through comprehensive training, customization, and strategic adoption of complementary platforms and technologies, B2B organizations can streamline workflows, increase productivity, and ultimately, achieve remarkable sales outcomes.  They may even get salespeople to use (and love) their CRM.


Ed Kozek is the Chief Product Officer at Advisr.   He has been a product and technology leader in ad tech for over a decade. Prior to Advisr, Ed was at NBCUniversal, where he worked on its pitch-to-pay sales systems and its data and reporting platform. Before that, Ed led product at The Weather Company, co-founded Ghostery as CTO, and managed the engineering and product teams at Right Media (later acquired by Yahoo). Ed lives in Long Beach, NY, with his wife and two children.

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