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Should There Be A Trade-off Between Good Data and Productivity?

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There is an old Zig Ziglar quote that says: “The top salesperson in the organization probably missed more sales than 90% of the sales people on the team, but they also made more calls than the others made.”As motivational as this can be, it sounds more like something a sales rep would say to get out from administrative work, such as adding data to your CRM system.

This is something that sales managers have dealt with time and again. Data input, crunching numbers, reporting and the like are deemed as secondary tasks that only keep sales reps from doing their actual jobs, which is to sell.

Arguably a sentiment shared by a lot of sales professionals, it is best articulated in a comment to CBS News Geoffrey James’ question regarding the sales process. BNET member “dawngio” wrote:

“I agree that customer information needs to be accessible and kept up to date for the benefit of both sides. On the downside however, sometimes a company will institute what is euphemistically being called a ‘Sales Process’ comprised mostly of some expensive CRM software… to ‘make the sales process more efficient’ which, in my experience, only leads to two things….

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Boost your CX with tips from our industry leading whitepaper, How Fortune 500 Companies Manage Their Contact Centers“1. It sets up an environment of Big Brother micromanagement. Reps (especially good ones) HATE to be micromanaged. Will it weed out the ones who are not making the minimum or quality calls? Yes, but it will also tick off the best reps and decrease their productivity managing minutiae instead of doing what they do best, which is SELL.

“2. It is not likely to provide Management with the data for analysis that they were hopeful of when purchasing the magic CRM system – Garbage in, Garbage Out – the reps will input what management wants to hear whether it is reality or not. (Sorry, CRM Sales Reps, but I’ve been doing this for a ‘lotta years).”The article and comment came out in 2008. And, while a lot has happened in CRM technology’s decade, attitudes and sentiments don’t always follow.

The State of Sales Productivity

In 2015, Docurated conducted a survey among 127 marketing and sales executives regarding sales productivity.It found that many believe their reps to spend only up to a third of their time doing actual sales. The rest is spent looking up or creating usable content (31 percent) and administrative work, such as updating the CRM system and reporting (20 percent).

Despite these findings, many of these executives still hold sales productivity as the top driver for reaching new revenue targets (79 percent). And, they are actually investing in tools that are supposed to improve this. Companies typically spend around $24,000 per person, in bids for better productivity. A gap lies in investing in tools that actually measure their progress, with 49 percent of respondents having zero to limited productivity measuring capabilities.

Where Does This Leave CRM?

All this puts CRM in limbo.

On one hand, your CRM system is central to your sales operations. It is a technology that has matured through the past decade, and is no longer a glorified rolodex. This is true across CRM products, from enterprise-scale to even lower end options.

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