This question has vexed me for longer than I care to think, and that's pretty much as long as we've been offering Front Office Box. Its an undeniable fact. You can take a horse to water, but not make it drink. We can get people to register, but not persuade them to adopt. This isn't a software issue. Ours is really rather good, and certainly no worse than any other. Better than most. I'm sure everybody else has the same problem.
Over the last couple of days a realisation has dawned on me. Now I've figured it out. (Having said that, the same is true of my golf swing, but those ideas never lasted.) Lets see if you agree with my latest revelation?
The problem with CRM is it's Rain on my Parade.
Being a hardworking aspirational sort of guy I'm always focused on the upside. We really can't be in sales if we're not, can we?
CRM, anybody's, makes me cast in stone the deals I'm going to do. It makes me plan what's supposed to happen and when. It records conversations, and notes, and plans which confront me every time I login. CRM tells me when my customer isn't going along. That's when I decide to walk away, shutting the deal down and looking for the next one.
The upsides are plenty. The process saves me time wasted on deals which aren't going to happen. It helps me plan and deliver more deals I can win. It records history which all adds to my social capital. My address book becomes a gold mine of business information about who, where, what and when.
But mostly CRM tells me I've been wrong, and I have to start again. And that isn't fun, for anybody.
As sales guys, and business owners, we have a natural aversion to facing facts. We're always hoping for the upside. That's what keeps us going.
Here's the paradox. The very tool we need to help us focus efforts on what's going to work also tells us what isn't, and that's counter cultural. So we don't use it. We pretend until something more interesting comes along.
That's a pragmatic answer to the undeniable conclusion.
Any role is sales or revenue generation is a triumph of hope over expectation. That's why people who'll accept the responsibility are worth their weight in gold.
And CRM forces expectation over hope. As a sales manager I totally approve of that. As a sales guy I think I prefer hope, and quiet, unseen retreat from my position when that hope turns into disappointment. The last thing I want is reminding of all the times I was wrong, because emotionally I need to think I'm right.
How about you? Does this explanation make sense? What stops you from making the most of CRM?