Salesforce and salespeople are in a love-hate relationship. Salesforce loves salespeople, but (many) salespeople hate Salesforce. Well, perhaps hate is too strong a word. Strongly dislike.
The most common issue we hear about from clients is that a lack of adoption of the Salesforce CRM by their sales users. Sales people are simply reluctant to log in everyday, update records, track activities, and monitor opportunities. This undermines the integrity of the entire system.
So why do so many salespeople take such a disliking to Salesforce?
Sean McPheat of MTD Sales Training, believes that the challenge that organizations face is that sales people, by nature, are social animals, not administration oriented – in other words, sales people love to interact with people, but not with Salesforce.
“Many sales people would rather make an additional ten calls per day or go out on another two prospect visits than update their records, especially as a lot of their commission is riding on the results that they achieve,” he explains. “Having said that, what the same sales people do not realize is that many of them miss out on following up with prospects, they forget crucial information and then using the data ongoing for marketing and farming purposes is a lot harder with incomplete or worse, no records.
“’I’m getting bogged down with paperwork and admin when I should be out selling’ is a common complaint I hear all the time from sales people. Whether it’s the forms they need to complete or the entries onto a computer to fulfil a new piece of business or whether it’s entering updates into Salesforce, the salesperson does not seem to see past their commission check and the activity required to bump their salary up to the levels that they need.”
Helen Rutherford, at 2e2, agrees that some of it comes down to mindset.
“Sales people don’t like using it because they don’t see how using the system benefits them personally,” she says. “A lot of sales people work in isolation, and get commission for their own actions. If they make a sale it does impact the wider business of course, but sales is a competitive environment and people will generally see a sale as a personal success.
“With this in mind, it’s hard to justify the usefulness of entering information into a system that may enable someone else to capitalize on their hard work, and potentially lose them some commission. The best sales people are those who take pride in their work and have the competitive edge. The knock-on effect of hiring such people is that they’re unlikely to get the best out of Salesforce.”
There are other attitudes amongst salespeople that can cause Salesforce to come unglued. John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks, for instance, believes that too often Salesforce, or any CRM system, for that matter, are viewed by salespeople as “a tool for managers to keep a close eye on their work” rather than a tool that enables them to be more successful. And Matt Garman, group commercial director at dhc, reports having often heard “I’ll get the sales and somebody else can sort that out”. “It is a laziness and unfortunately salespeople are often given more slack than other people in the firm,” he adds.
The damage of a failure
It’s easy to lay the blame squarely at salespeople however. But other factors also contribute to low user adoption in many cases. These include:
- A lack of technical background, especially with older sales people – “There are a lot of non-technical sales people out there, with many of them afraid to admit they don’t get it!” says Garman.
- Projects have been rolled out without consulting the users first – “Salesforce Implementation and Training projects fail because the company has decided to invest in a new piece of technology (decision at Board meeting – ‘wouldn’t it be great to have Salesforce’) without engaging with the rest of the business.”