When CRM was invented, it was a revolution in the way salespeople managed their data. Instead of bulky paper-based Rolodexes, we now had digital databases we could search and categorize with a few keystrokes.
When Salesforce came along, it revolutionized the marketplace further by making CRM accessible in the cloud, without maintaining physical servers and software updates.
But all successful revolutions eventually become the status quo. And, eventually, the status quo becomes obsolete. In my opinion - it’s time to ditch Salesforce and, in fact, the traditional approach to CRM systems. Here’s why.
Platforms like Salesforce like to boast that they are a “single source of truth” for sales teams, but are they really? In my experience, salespeople spend a lot more time just about everywhere but Salesforce.
The CRM, represented by Salesforce and its ilk, is just a database. Salespeople live in other tools.
With the right set of apps, add-ons, and customizations, some teams have succeeded in retaining this activity within the Salesforce ecosystem. But at what cost?
Recent data shows that for every $1 teams spend on CRM, they spend about $6 on plugins. And that’s not accounting for the cost of custom coding to make all the plugins play nicely together or to get features that the sales team deems mission critical but that aren’t available in pre-set plugin form. Or that it takes days to get the report you need.
Meanwhile, Salesforce increases their base cost by 10% per year in many contracts, simply by default. And the more plugins you bolt onto the base product, the more you are committed to that ever-increasing price tag.
Recent research by Nucleus found that 51 percent of Salesforce customers would switch to another CRM solution if given the opportunity.
Are building a Frankenstack? Stop. Think again.
And as if that weren’t bad enough, every time you bolt more plugins and customizations onto the base product, the more complex your technology becomes. And the more complex it becomes, the more prone it is to breaking. And the more it breaks, the more you spend fixing it. I call this the Frankenstack - when you’ve built so many parts onto your sales stack, that it barely resembles what you started with and hardly functions.
The latest craze in CRM is the use of AI to automate tasks. But what, exactly, are we expecting AI to do for us on top of this teetering stack of technology?
Sales is, at its core, a human endeavor. Humans buy from humans. While AI, in a well-designed system, can simplify certain tasks and make suggestions to salespeople, it is not, in itself, a solution to rampant complexity and lacking sales skills.
An artificial intelligence is only as intelligent as the data that goes into it and the algorithms to extract insights from it. And in most cases, the data in CRMs is a mess. Salespeople are inconsistent in how they enter information, and the Frankenstack problem creates additional complexity. Until we untangle the data and the ways that we are using that data, an AI can only amplify the problems in our system. Add to this the fact that buying behaviors are mostly disconnected from what the sellers are doing.
Plus, AI adds to the increasingly precarious state of our overly complex tech stack.
Before we move on to how to ditch the CRM, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The CRM interface is awful and focused on data. One reason that salespeople don’t like to use them is that they’re complicated, ugly, and unintuitive.
When I first started building Membrain, people made fun of me. Why couldn’t I just build a plugin to bolt onto the leading CRM? Why? Because the leading CRM - Salesforce - has a terrible interface. I wanted to make life easier for salespeople and their leaders. I wanted them to be able to flow easily through their day, becoming more effective with every interaction.
The Salesforce interface wouldn’t let me do that. So, while we do offer a Salesforce enhancement, the goal was always to make something better, something that would allow sales teams to sail away from the mess and onto clearer waters.
When people made fun of me for starting Membrain, one thing they said was:
Why build another CRM? Aren’t there already too many in the marketplace?
And they were right. There are too many CRMs. Because CRM is no longer the way. It’s time to ditch the CRM altogether and sail away to something better.
CRM was a brilliant idea in its time. It digitized what had been a complex and siloed set of data.
But now sales teams need more than data. They need workflows, enablement, data insights, and coaching. And that is what we built Membrain to provide.
Membrain uses a built-in CRM database to securely and efficiently manage your data. But the CRM is just data. The heart of Membrain is the workflows that give salespeople and their managers everything they need to flow effortlessly through their days. To access all of the content and resources they need at any moment from directly inside the interface.
Our interface is beautiful, intuitive, and easy to use.
It includes three separate workflows to account for the differences in how salespeople work during prospecting, opportunity management, and account growth. Within each workflow, leaders can build processes with milestones, stages, steps, and checklists. Training and enablement content can be associated with each part of the workflow, and our powerful analytics tools enable managers to easily see where salespeople need help with individual opportunities or with processes, skills, and abilities.
With Membrain, there is no need to bolt as many additional tools on top of the CRM, because we’ve included most everything you need. And if you dream of something we haven’t already included? We’re probably working on it.
We built Membrain from the ground up, in-house, so that we could ensure that it is stable, elegant, fast, and made for how sales teams actually use it.
We’ve also made it flexible and easy to customize without custom coding, so you can make it work with how your team works.
And, now that we have launched all three of our workflows and a powerful complement of features to produce a fully mature platform to serve all of your complex b2b needs, we are are making it even easier for you to sail away to clearer waters:
We’ve made it free to use. [Start today]
Any one of our core workflows are now available at no cost. We are so confident that you will fall in love and want to make Membrain your home, that we know we will make up our profit as you grow into more workflows and features.
Even with our most advanced, premium version with all of the features available, our cost is far less than the cost of the average Frankenstack.
So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Membrain.com to get started, and see how much better life is on the other side of CRM.
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