Sellers are working harder than ever but their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are not working for them, according to a new study conducted by CRM analyst firm Beagle Research Group in partnership with Oracle. The study, “Getting Past the Breaking Point of Yesterday’s CRM,” includes insights from more than 500 sellers in the U.S. and found that sellers are frustrated with the time-consuming, manual, and unintegrated elements of their job. In addition, the findings highlight the various ways that sellers are doing their best to accomplish sales objectives while not having the tools they need to excel.
Sellers Would Rather Clean the Bathroom Than Update Their CRM System
While sellers’ responsibilities have expanded, conventional CRM systems are stuck in the past and are holding them back – and this is especially true for inside selling:
- 90% of sellers complain that parts of their job take longer than they should. The top areas listed were entering notes in the CRM system (35%), updating or working in multiple systems (34%), and sales training activities (31%).
- 86% are frustrated by certain elements of their jobs. The largest frustrations cited were handling repetitive administrative tasks that could be automated (43%), updating multiple systems that ought to be connected (38%), following up with a prospect that they know isn’t interested (38%), and re-entering email or calendar data into their CRM system (35%).
- 85% of sellers have made potentially embarrassing mistakes due to faulty CRM data. The top mistakes identified by sellers include calling the prospect by the wrong name (33%) and having the opposite idea of what a prospect wanted (29%).
- 66% of sellers would rather stand in line at the DMV, get stuck in traffic, do jury duty, clean the bathroom, make a trip to the dentist, or even be nagged by their significant other than update their CRM system.
The Majority of Sellers Don’t Use Their CRM System Regularly
Sellers prefer to spend their time selling, yet they get bogged down by tasks that take longer than they should. CRM systems promised to solve this challenge, but have failed:
- Sellers rely on an average of eight tools to do their daily jobs. The top five most commonly used tools are email, the internet, smartphones, video conferencing, and Word documents.
- 55% of sellers rely on a combination of applications – and several that aren’t well integrated – plus manual tools such as Post-it Notes.
- 46% of sellers have found a roundabout way or created a non-standard shortcut in their CRM system.
- Only 47% of sellers use their CRM system regularly and only 40% use it as intended.
Sellers’ Work-Life Balance is Suffering and Making Them Wish They Had Superpowers
Outdated CRM systems are hurting productivity and are causing sellers to conduct business outside of normal office hours to meet their quotas, making them wish they had superpowers to do their jobs.
- The inefficiencies of CRM systems are often preventing sellers from meeting their quotas within normal work hours, and as a result, sellers have taken sales calls in a variety of unusual places:
- 50% of sellers have taken calls on vacation. Sellers are also taking calls at the dinner table (40%), at a party or social event (33%), in the bathroom (30%), at the gym (24%), or on a date (16%).
- 98% of sellers wish they had superpowers to help them accomplish their day-to-day duties:
- The most common wish was the ability to predict the future (30%), followed by having a perfect memory (19%), having super-focus (16%), knowing a prospect’s mood (13%), being extremely organized (12%), and reading their sales managers’ minds (8%).
“The CRM systems that are widely used today are simply not adequate. They do not cover the spectrum of a seller’s everyday work activities, and sellers are having to spend considerable time and effort to make up for those shortcomings,” said Denis Pombriant, managing principal, Beagle Research, Inc. “Our research has shown that outdated CRM systems are not only impacting sellers productivity, but are also impacting the overall financial performance of organizations. But there is a silver lining: improvements in technology over the last several years are resulting in new data-driven and AI powered solutions – the next era of the CRM – that can reduce sellers’ workload and empower them to focus on what they do best: selling.”
“Selling has always been a hard job, and the global pandemic has not made it any easier as customer behaviors have dramatically changed in a very short amount of time,” said Katrina Gosek, vice president, Oracle Cloud CX. “Our research has proven that traditional CRM systems are simply not working. Sellers are tired of having to piece together information across the sales process and tired of conventional CRMs that are an endless burden of data entry. They are asking for sales technology that acts as a source of recommendation. At Oracle, we are reinventing the selling experience by leveraging front and back office data, providing a modern AI-driven user interface and offering clear guidance through real-time customer insights that put sales teams on the path to success – and closer than ever to the superpowers they need.”
Learn more about this report here.
Beagle Research identified over 500 line of business employees with primary responsibilities of selling to new accounts via digital tools, in the business to business space. During June and July of 2020, we fielded a survey, inquiring about their jobs, the wins and frustrations they encounter, and the technologies they use. Because we were able to pinpoint these individuals, we believe our results are highly accurate (z-test = 95/90).
About Beagle Research
Founded by Denis Pombriant in 2004, Beagle Research is a Boston based firm specializing in research and analysis of front office business technology trends in CX/CRM. In addition to this report, Pombriant is the author of many other studies and several books on CRM.
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