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    Why Salesforce CRM sucks for salespeople and how to fix it

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    Let’s be honest. CRM is a basic necessity for every sales department, but it’s really not everything it was cracked up to be, is it? If you’ve invested in Salesforce or another major brand CRM expecting it to form the backbone of a sales effectiveness engine, you were probably sadly disappointed.

    If you’ve ever spent significant dollars on a CRM implementation plus more on methodology training and consultants to drive a sales process that your salespeople just won’t use, you’re not alone. And, believe it or not, it’s not the salespeople that are at fault.

    It’s the software.

    The main reasons Salesforce is insufficient

    Salesforce is the world’s leading cloud CRM. There are a lot of reasons for this, and most of them don’t have to do with its effectiveness for salespeople. Salesforce was the first mover in cloud CRM and won business from traditional software giants pushing software to be installed and maintained on expensive hardware by skilled IT engineers. Salesforce has spent millions dollars on fancy sales conferences and marketing to build a massive brand that “nobody ever gets fired for buying.” I salute Mark Benioff & Co for this achievement!

    Buying Salesforce and expecting it to drive b2b sales effectiveness is like buying a car without an engine or transmission.
    Dave Kurlan

    However, there are several false assumptions that play into the perception that Salesforce is the “safe” choice to drive sales effectiveness:

    • Salesforce must be great because so many are using it.
    • Logging sales activities in it will help you sell more effectively.
    • It can be customized to do anything.

    These are all wrong, but don’t get me wrong. You do need a CRM to serve as a data repository. But, as Dave Kurlan aptly puts it, buying Salesforce and expecting it to drive effectiveness is like buying a car with all the bells and whistles but no engine or transmission.

    Here are a few key things Salesforce, as it is usually set up, cannot do for you:

    • Make it easy to execute your sales strategy.
    • Help your team to learn the right methodology, skills and behaviors.
    • Equip sales managers to coach salespeople to higher levels of performance.
    • Optimize your sales strategy to gain competitive advantage.

    If you’re among the few organizations who have managed to customize Salesforce and your process to the point that it does do these things, rejoice! You are one of the few. Most others have thrown substantial resources at the problem without the results they want to see. Others, have simply thrown up their hands and given up.

    But don’t ditch your Salesforce application yet!

    If you’ve read this far, you may be thinking that I want you to throw away your Salesforce application and get Membrain instead. You could! But you don’t have to. Salesforce can actually be a powerful tool for your company and, with the right customization, it might even help you do most of those things I listed above. If you’ve already invested in the software, then your task is not necessarily to trash it and try something different, but rather, find the most effective way to make it work for you.

    Ideally, you want your application to do everything in the list above (starting with making it easy to execute on sales process).

    For that, it has to have the capability to:

    • Drive sales strategy adoption across the organization.
    • Build in a milestone-driven sales process based on best practices.
    • See and measure each salesperson’s progress (not just activities) through each deal.
    • Capture emerging best practices to optimize the process.
    • Provide coaching visibility for sales managers and enable self-coaching.
    • Embed contextual sales training and enablement material.
    • Respond dynamically to each sales opportunity to successfully guide salespeople.
    • Track critical data at a granular level, including stakeholder’s roles, attitude, and influence.
    • Sales-specific dashboards beyond snapshots to detect trends and key insights.
    • Reinforce new knowledge so that it moves from knowledge to skill to habit.
    • Deliver accurate forecasts.

    If you’ve been following our blog for long, you know that Membrain does all of these things. We’ve also long had an integration with Salesforce, that allows companies to hold on to their Salesforce investment while also using Membrain to increase sales effectiveness. However, many users struggle with adoption, because the integration requires them to move back and forth between applications.

    What if you could take all the functionality listed above, and plug it directly into Salesforce? Your Salesforce investment would suddenly become substantially more valuable, gaining the capability to simply and effectively support consistent world class sales performance.
    Get the sales effectiveness engine Salesforce CRM is missing

    This is the vision we’ve been working on behind the scenes here at Membrain. We are now launching our Salesforce opportunity management plugin, which will put the power of Membrain directly inside Salesforce as a plug-and-play option. The plugin is being made available on a limited basis now, with broader availability 2017.

    George Brontén
    Published December 14, 2016
    By George Brontén

    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