Why Sales Reps Hate CRM Systems
I am coaching a number of sales reps who are being forced to partake in their company's CRM software. In case you don't know what that is, CRM stands for "Customer Relationship Management." This would be where you would store all of your contact information for each account and prospect. It's a simple enough concept but salespeople bristle at most every form of record-keeping. You'd think they were being tortured in some Iranian prison by the way they talk about how much they cannot stand recording every detail. In a former life I, too, was committed to similar indentured servitude and hated it every bit as much. I saw no purpose to it; no value whatsoever. How could such activities bolster my sales? I kept that opinion alive for years.
Until this happened....
Several years ago, one of my clients was a company in the Midwest named Wetzel Brothers. To me, they were just another customer. I trained two or three of their reps and they were pleased with the results, so pleased in fact that the president of the company, Mike Draver, called me to suggest that I call on their parent company, Consolidated Graphics, out of Houston.
Never heard of them.
So, given the contact name of Rachel Keonig, I began the pursuit of this bigger fish. It took a few calls to get through, but dropping the name of "Mike Draver" helped since he, apparently, had been singing my praises to Rachel as well. Eventually, we spoke.
I related the benefits of the coaching program—The Sales Challenge—that Mike had been raving to her about. Along the way she asked where I was from. Since no one knows where Duxbury, Massachusetts is, I told her I was in the Boston area. "Oh," she said, "I went to high school in Needham." Coincidentally, so did I. Apparently, we were two years apart and blah, blah, blah we talked about school and Red Sox and Rachel told me she'd keep me in mind.
When I got off of the phone, I took the time to fill in all of the information related to the call in my CRM system (which at the time was simply the software that came with my Palm Pilot), including the Needham High School connection. End of story. I moved on to the next item on my to do list.
Fast-forward a year.
My phone rings and it's a woman from Houston, Texas whose name rang a bell somewhere off in the foggy distance. She had heard some good things about my training programs and wanted to know more. As she talked, I searched. Up popped the name, "Rachel Koenig" and I quickly read the notes I had made, smiling as it all came back to me.
"Rachel," I interrupted. "You don't remember me? We went to high school together in Needham!" "We did?" she replied, completely stunned. I went on to relate every detail that I had written down as if it was just yesterday that we passed in the hallway. The tone of the call changed immediately and before I know it we were talking like old friends. At the end of the call, I was invited to speak at their three presidents' meetings, the first time they had ever invited in an outside speaker. I went on to do hundreds of thousands of dollars of business with CGX and continue to work with many of their 80-something locations.
I eventually 'fessed up to Rachel that my memory was not all that I led her to believe it was. Thanks to that stupid, can't stand it, OMG what a waste of time CRM system that "I swear is only so that management can keep track of me," I landed a big fish.
Still hate your CRM? Get over it.
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Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault are available at BillFarquharson.com.