The future of CRM systems: What’s Next?
Sales teams used to heavily depend on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to sell more effectively. But now, it looks like things have changed. According to recent research studies, sales representatives only spend about one-third of their time actually selling and another 18% of their time in the CRM. All the rest of their time is spent working on spreadsheets and managing tasks for CRM.
When CRM came out in the 1980s, it changed everything for sales representatives. You can read more about the latest CRM transformation here. The software basically automated the management process of their customer contact lists. Since then, CRM has advanced and accomplished a whole lot. Millions of organizations have used CRM to manage their sales because of its effectiveness at increasing productivity.
Gartner released a statistic which showed that the CRM industry was worth about $31 billion. By the year 2017, the value increased to $40 billion. The CRM software industry has increased in value by 2 digits annually.
All companies involved in sales are using CRM, or at least wish to use it, because of how strong it is. But this power might be what brings it down. The classic sales model involves a potential customer calling and inquiring about the price and features of a product. Based on the circumstances, the deal may close or not. However, this linear structure of CRM may be becoming obsolete.
Inside Sales Changes Everything
In modern times, customers don’t even want to bother talking to a vendor. They would rather search the internet to find the right products and services to suit their needs. Instead of asking salespeople for advice on products, customers have the ability to research products themselves and come to their own conclusions. They can read the recommendations of other customers to find out the truth about a product’s cost and features.
Aside from reading reviews, customers can learn about product specifications and download data sheets and eBooks. If you are familiar with B2B marketing, then you already know that customers won’t make a purchasing choice until they are presented with, on average, around 5 different sources of content.
Customer engagement and sales
– The customer is already 70% closer toward making a purchase by the time they talk to the sales representative.
– More than 50% of B2B clients will decide to make a purchase by looking at content.
– Approximately 88% of consumers have the same trust for internet reviews as they do for personal recommendations.
Organizations now have more inside sales representatives than ever. Over the past 4 years, these roles have increased in organizations by as much as 89%. When a consumer contacts a company to inquire about their products and services, the first person they will talk to is an inside sales representative.
Sales representatives can no longer depend on the classic sales funnel or CRM.
CRM Receives Poor Rating for its Lack of Usefulness
According to a study from InsideSales.com Labs, sales representatives perform an average of 13 tasks per week. Out of all the time they spend on these tasks, not much of it requires selling. Furthermore, CRM is very frustrating for them and they don’t find it to be useful at all.
Instead of spending their time selling, 64% of sales representatives are spending their time on activities that don’t involve generating revenue. The other 35.2% of representatives are performing activities for generating revenue.
Sales representatives are spending so much of their time handling administrative duties. About 14.8% of their time is spent working on internal approvals and policies while another 14% is devoted to customer meetings. Sales representatives don’t even find these tasks to be an effective part of their job. In fact, they think the effectiveness of social media use is 7% better than handling administrative meetings and tasks.
What is missing from an ideal CRM?
Studies show that sales representatives will spend their time in the following ways: 18% is devoted to CRM; 61.7% is devoted to sales technology; 33.2% for email sales; and 0.4% for collecting sales intelligence by utilizing tools.
Since CRM is quite inefficient, 9.7% of the average sales representative’s time is devoted to managing tasks connected to CRM. This usually means they are dealing with spreadsheets for most of that time.
Analytical data suggests that CRM is great as a system for recordkeeping. However, if salespeople are unable to get tough questions answered, they will not succeed. Here are some of those tough questions:
– Which leads are the most critical ones to pay attention to?
– Which contact method do customers prefer? When is the best time to contact them?
– At what time will customers accept my phone call? What kind of sales pitch should I use?
Technologies which help you prospect for customers have an effectiveness rate of 80%. Unfortunately, these technologies are not used much. About 1.9% of a sales representative’s time is spent using them.
If you know anyone who is a salesperson and you ask them about their feelings toward CRM, they will likely say it is a love-hate relationship.
CRM is not totally useless for them. The problem is that it lacks the functionality necessary for them to be productive.
Hubspot is a good sales tool to try out. A lot of sales representatives like to use it because it does a good job of tracking every lead. Playbooks is a good source of information regarding this tool.
Artificial Intelligence Can Change CRM Forever
For over 5 years, we’ve all wondered if CRM is still relevant anymore. The short answer is… yes.
Sales representatives continue to actively utilize CRM. All they wish is that CRM had more functions so that it could be quicker and more intelligent. Most importantly, they want CRM to provide more than simply a phone number and name of a lead.
Today, the world of technology provides a number of automation tools, which are to rationalize sales processes. They allow to manage CRM workflow faster and easier: a user is able to update necessary information, focus on the most critical deals, etc. You literally can leave CRM interaction to such an assistant as, for example, Closer bot.
Sales representatives are hoping that CRM can better assist them in closing their future sales and making better deals.
Artificial intelligence is being built into a lot of new sales acceleration technologies. This will give sales representatives more power in the way they negotiate deals and manage closings. Furthermore, sales representatives will get to cut back on the spreadsheets and become more productive while using CRM.
These “smart sales systems” provide users with more information and insight than what is found in their database. This will make a world of difference when it comes to increasing revenue and sales productivity. CRM’s functionality will get better because you will be able to predict customer behavior, receive accurate forecasts of revenue earned, predict deals, and analyze funnels. Sales are going to change forever, thanks to artificial intelligence. This is a good thing that all sales representatives should accept.