Why Can’t Salespeople and Technology Play Nice?
I’ve decided to approach this frequently asked question from two different perspectives. The first as a general sales rep and the second as a sales rep of a technology platform. Below are two key sales technologies designed to help salespeople and an explanation into why the same salespeople are hesitant to embrace these technologies.
1. CRM System
A CRM system’s (customer relationship management) purpose is to organize data and create a process easy for managers and sales reps to track contacts and sales. Instead of a sales rep fumbling through an Excel sheet to find their leads or trying to remember the last interaction they might have had, a CRM keeps it all straight and organized. Sounds great, right?
So, why do salespeople hate them? Many salespeople don’t particularly like CRM’s because they don’t see any direct personal benefit. They can consider it almost an annoyance to spend time recording notes and data. Salespeople would rather be “selling” than doing what they consider administrative work.
A sales rep’s mind is hyper-focused on finding new business and bringing in sales that will ultimately create commissions so they don’t see the benefit of wasting time with data input. As a sales rep myself, I think this logic is completely absurd.
There are two realities at play here. The first is that the majority of salespeople are not detail oriented enough. And, the second is that most salespeople aren’t as good at selling as they think they are.
Salespeople are naturally competitive (and aggressive). They are generally money motivated but not detail oriented. Details can seem like a nuisance when time could be better spent selling. A CRM reveals the flaws of a sales rep when points of contact aren’t logged properly and there are large chunks of missing notes and data.
If a manager is paying attention, they’re probably harping on the sales rep to fix this. So, if CRM’s cause frequent headaches for the sales rep, why would they be in favor of the CRM?
The truth is not all sales reps are created equal. And, the data in a CRM doesn’t lie. The numbers and stats are laid out clear as day. Managers know what your pipeline looks like, how many appointments were set, and how many sales were closed.
With a CRM, sales reps can’t say to their manager, “I have 5 accounts about to close” if there isn’t the data to back it up. CRM’s hold salespeople accountable and salespeople don’t always like that. At the end of the day, “salespeople need a system that puts them in the center of attention” and managers have to show salespeople how CRM’s benefit them in order to be successful.
2. Sales automation tools
Today there are so many tools designed to help your sales reps talk with more people and ultimately close more deals. So why is there such inconsistency with sales rep’s feedback on these sales tools?
I’ve come to two basic conclusions. The first is that these sales tools expose their weaknesses. And, the second is that they expect these tools to do the work for them.
Some see sales automation tools as a way to make life easier. And, this is absolutely correct! They can and do make selling easier. But, these tools can’t do the work for the sales rep. Sales tools are meant to enhance sales performance not completely replace the work a sales rep has to put in to close a deal.
What do I mean by that? Well, if someone is talented on the phone, a sales automation tool just allows them more opportunities to showcase that talent. If a sales rep is bad on the phone, sales automation tools reveal that weakness very quickly! People tend to blame the tools versus realizing either way appointments are not being booked. This realization just happened much faster.
Now let’s talk about expecting sales tools to do all the work. Most of the time sales reps can get a bad rep. They want shortcuts on the dirty work so they can do the fun stuff like close deals. After managers invest in these tools, it can lead sales reps to think these tools are designed to take care of the “less fun” aspects of selling.
But in reality, sales tools are designed to enhance and increase what sales reps are already doing. If the work isn’t put in, you can’t expect better results. And, if sales reps aren’t staying organized, these sales automation tools can make selling harder.
Stop blaming technology and stop letting your sales reps blame technology for their weaknesses. Instead, take the data you get from technology and invest more in your employees so that they can better use technology. Invest in improving their strengths and showing them how technology is designed to help them rather than hurt them.