For many sales organizations, Salesforce is the technology sun around which the entire sales system orbits. If this is working out great for you, your sales effectiveness is world-class, and the cost of technology per employee shows a solid ROI, then you can skip this article.
In many cases, Salesforce may have started out as a great investment, but it eventually became a heavyweight that everyone feels forced to use, but nobody loves. Yet the perception is that nobody can quit it, either, because it has become like a sun around which everything revolves.
Here’s why, for many organizations, Salesforce has become an addiction - and why you need to end it.
Addiction is a psychological and/or physical inability to stop consuming something that is causing you harm.
You can be addicted to drugs, alcohol, unhealthy activities, or even a person or ideology. People who are addicted to something will do almost anything to obtain more of the thing they’re addicted to. It often starts slowly and builds toward dysfunction. A person who is addicted may eventually lose everything that is important to them in their lives.
I think of addiction as placing something unhealthy at the center of your personal solar system. Something that eventually implodes into a black hole and sucks everything that you love into it.
It may start quite innocently and simply with a drink to ease your nerves or a game or two to take your mind off something. But it develops into an addiction when your need for it becomes more important than taking care of yourself and those around you.
The first step in addiction recovery is to recognize that you have an addiction.
The drink or the game or whatever you’re addicted to becomes the central factor in your life, the sun around which you center everything else you do. Everything comes to be in service to it. And, eventually, everything becomes sacrificed to it.
It is my belief that for many sales organizations, Salesforce has become an addiction. And it is time to cut the cord and establish healthier habits.
When Salesforce first hit the market, it was a major innovation, as it allowed customer access to CRM in the cloud. They were pioneers and provided an easier and more cost-effective solution to the clunky and cumbersome on-site CRM solutions that were the norm in the 90s (here’s a post on the history of CRM)
Over the years, it grew into a behemoth, and became a many-headed Hydra, consuming technology budgets and growing new heads of complexity for every head you chop off.
Today, many organizations purchase Salesforce as their sales technology, with high hopes for all it will do for their teams. They often find that for it to function the way they need it to, they need technical customizations, plug-ins, and add-ons.
This causes the core technology to grow, and the sales team to grow more dependent on it.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, but Salesforce as a company is working very hard to make it the sun around which its customers revolve. Third-party technologies feel obligated to build their technology to work around Salesforce’s ecosystem. Every integration that is added, makes the company more and more dependent on Salesforce.
This would be fine if Salesforce were working FOR the people in the sales organization. But very often, what happens instead is that the sales team starts finding that it has to adapt to Salesforce. Or they feel like data-entry clerks on a mission to create that “Single Source of Truth,” which was carefully sold “inception-style” by skilled marketing teams and salespeople.
It becomes the sun not only of the technology stack but of the entire organization.
And, from there, it can quickly become a black hole. It swallows up development hours as your tech team struggles to maintain all the updates and customizations and workarounds. It swallows up sales team time as they switch among the apps and functions in Salesforce and contort their process to fit the limitations of Salesforce. It swallows up budgets as you spend more and more to make it all work the way you need it to.
These budgets swallow up investments you could be making in strategy, training, reinforcement, and coaching.
If your sales organization is showing any of these signs of addiction, it’s time to end the addiction and choose a new sun.
The first step in addiction recovery is to recognize that you have an addiction. Take the time to catalog and evaluate the actual cost of Salesforce. All of the plug-ins, add-ons, and customizations. The cost of development hours. Lost productivity. The hassle of workarounds. And a love-hate relationship to the word “seamless...”
If you see that you have placed the wrong thing at the center of your solar system, then the next step is to choose something new. Something wholesome
In addiction recovery programs, the new “sun” in the solar system is one’s own healing. In a sales organization, I propose that the correct “sun” in your solar system is HOW YOU WORK and HOW YOU SELL.
In turn, these should orbit around what your customers need.
In order to break up with Salesforce, then, you to take an inventory of exactly what it’s costing you, and then focus your attention on your customers and how they want to buy from you. From there, you can place how you sell at the center of your solar system and choose technologies to support that, instead of forcing the way you work to orbit around your technology. (Here's a post on when to break up.)
At Membrain, we’ve worked to create a technology that supports HOW YOU SELL rather than forcing you to work around our technology. We’ve made it customizable, so you can make it work the way you need it to, without highly technical development input. We’ve organized it around workflows, so you can use it to reinforce and guide salespeople through the correct processes for each aspect of the sales cycle.
And we’ve kept our pricing transparent and inclusive so that you can afford to invest in the strategy, training, enablement, reinforcement, and coaching that your team needs in order to perform at its best.
Every individual is different, and every organization is too. Some companies do best going “cold turkey” on their Salesforce ecosystem. Others need to take a more layered and cautious approach. Either way, it’s probably a lot less stressful to quit Salesforce than you think it is.
If you’re only using your CRM to store opportunities and emails, it’s pretty simple to opt-out now, cold turkey, and head straight into something more wholesome.
On the other hand, if you’ve already invested in extensive customizations, plug-ins, customizations, and more, then you might think leaving is impossible or prohibitively difficult. It’s not. You can start with a single workflow in technology like Membrain, without making a huge investment or undergoing a major integration.
When you see how much it helps your sales team and how simple it is to implement and maintain, you may want to add new workflows. When you’re confident that the platform is right for you and you already have the infrastructure you need in place, then you can make a complete change without causing significant disruption to your team.
I would love to show you how you can break free from Salesforce and experience the beauty, simplicity, and power of our platform. Actually, with our new free trials, you can just take Membrain for a spin.
George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.
Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn