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What's Eroding Your Team's CRM Productivity?

DATE PUBLISHED: October 09, 2014

CRM ProductivityLast Sunday we went over to a friend's house to watch some football. Our friend was in the kitchen preparing his world-famous guacamole, and he said, "Go turn on the T.V. I'll be right out."


We went into the living room and soon encountered a problem. We didn't know how to turn on the T.V. There were at least three remote controls, each with about 75 buttons. Call us old fashioned, but we tend to appreciate simplicity. In this case, pressing a button to turn on the television.


We bring up this anecdote within the context of this interesting piece of research from Implisit that is a must-read for marketing managers everywhere. Much like our friend's advanced home entertainment system, many CRM systems — Salesforce most notably comes to mind — comes with a lot of bells and whistles. Sometimes these add-ons can be helpful. But most of the time, as the article's infographic illustrates, this extra functionality eats away at your CRM productivity.


The bottom line? Sales reps spend four hours per week on updating Salesforce. Yet they only update 40% of what they should.


This statistic is alarming for two reasons. One, most of these four hours should be spent engaging leads and prospects. Secondly, those four hours are being mismanaged, as reps are spending their valuable time on tasks that are unimportant to their job.


So why, exactly, are reps spending so much time in Salesforce? It's a matter of scale. Implisit found that the average rep updates over 200 records per week, and some reps have over 500 updates per week. That is the definition of CRM productivity-killer, not just because the sheer volume of work, but because it's low-impact work. Implisit found that "tasks" were most prominent updates made by sales reps, accounting for 48% of the total. Leads and contacts accounted for 18% and 17% respectively, while opportunities accounted for only 8%.


The takeaway here is that reps are spending too much time on mundane tasks like housekeeping and records-updating and not enough on opportunities, which is where the valuable prospect data truly lies. To that end, a striking 75% of opportunity-related data is never updated in Salesforce, according to the study. This is critical prospect-related information that simply falls through the cracks. The casual conversation between a rep and lead whose contents were never entered into the system. A phone call between a marketing rep and lead's assistant that vanished as if it never existed. These details are the things that can make or break a sale. No wonder many sales teams are struggling.


Now, having said all that, we'd like to make one brief caveat. All pieces of research need to be scrutinized, and the findings from Implisit are no exception. Implisit is a technology company specializing in — you guessed it — optimizing CRM productivity. So it should come as no surprise that their researchers found that companies are mishandling their CRM activities. Furthermore, many companies reading this article may not be burdened with over 500 updates a week.


Nonetheless, this article should serve as a wake-up call. Marketing managers must continually revisit their CRM productivity and ask themselves if their sales reps working on high-impact tasks, and if not, whether these "bells and whistles" be handed off to an assistant or abandoned entirely.


(Oh, and in case you were wondering, our friend gently told us that we were trying to turn on the T.V. with the garage door opener.)


Now we'd like your thoughts. Have you found that your sales team is spending too much time in Salesforce? How do you measure CRM productivity? What tasks have you handed off to marketing assistance to help free up your reps' time?