Packaged SFA and CRM systems have been around for nearly 30 years. Though they have changed in some ways (SaaS offerings, added functionality), they haven’t changed in FUNDAMENTAL ways. They are essentially still an interface to a database.
They rely on people entering, managing, viewing, cleaning, and massaging data. To get value from CRM systems, you must provide consistent feeding and nurturing. For salespeople, manual input and management of data is not an efficient use of time – not to mention that it doesn’t reflect the way humans work naturally.
Salesforce.com was perhaps innocently born of a desire to support sales organizations and to do it in a more affordable way, that is, as a service. But they have doubled down on CRM as a platform, piling on new functionality as a way to expand their reach across entire organizations.
Is it now simply using CRM as a way to package and sell database technology? And if so, has that gotten in the way of true innovation in sales productivity solutions?
Not to pick on Salesforce alone, there are well over a hundred CRM solutions that essentially follow the same database approach. For large organizations, the database approach is acceptable from an operational and IT perspective. Their back-end and front-end systems are all dependent on databases and they have the resources to integrate.
Smaller organizations on the other hand, are not as dependent on databases. They’re in the position to demand solutions that are; easiest to use, require the least amount of administrative time, and give back the most value (i.e. they actually help reps sell more).
Helping reps sell more should be the main focus of any CRM system. If that goal was fulfilled, we would not continue to see poor adoption, or begrudging usage, of CRM.
Is it time to look at the problem of managing revenue pipeline activities in a fundamentally new way?
Is CRM – as a platform for sales productivity – outdated?
As head of your sales or marketing organization, are you beginning to ask, “Do we need CRM or do we need something else?”
Join our new LinkedIn discussion: Does CRM really improve sales productivity?