How to Identify the Biggest CRM Pain Points for Your Sales Reps

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Over the last decade, companies of all sizes have made large investments in sales technology. Those investments are projected to grow rapidly over the coming years. A study by Spiceworks found that organizations of all sizes expect their budgets to increase by an average of at least 20%. But as companies are growing their sales technology stacks, many sales teams still struggle to maximize this investment. Research shows that a whopping 79% of opportunity-related data gathered by sales reps is never entered into a CRM. 

To some degree, this isn’t a huge surprise. Jennifer Lonoff Schiff of CIO Magazine argued that companies need to find ways to minimize administrative tasks for sales reps. But because quality CRM data is such a critical asset to growing sales organizations, it’s clear that the challenge for sales leaders is twofold. First, how can you reduce the amount of time that reps spend on data entry? More importantly, how can you make it easier for them to integrate our CRM into their workflow?

In this post, we’ll explore a few ways that you can identify and remedy the biggest CRM pain points across your sales organization. 

Shadow Their Workflow 

Shadowing is one of the most common training tactics for new reps. It’s an easy way for a new salesperson to learn from the most successful people in your organization. But in recent years, product managers have also begun shadowing salespeople to understand how they can build better products. Clement Kao of Product Manager HQ writes that by joining sales reps on their calls, you’ll glean valuable insights about gaps in your product

The same can be said about gaps in your CRM process for sales reps. Not only does shadowing allow you to observe a salesperson in real-time, but it also allows you to ask questions after the call about their specific CRM pain points. Although the benefits of shadowing are obvious for sales managers, be strategic about who you select to conduct the exercise. To avoid creating an environment in which reps feel micromanaged by their leaders, ask your CRM administrator to shadow a few volunteers across the sales organization. 

Dive Into Your Data

The term “dirty data” is used to describe inaccurate, outdated, or duplicated data in your CRM. From an administrative standpoint, auditing and cleaning up dirty data is a tall order—but even the early stages of this painful process can shine a bright light on the biggest CRM pain points for your sales reps.

Reuben Yonatan wrote a thorough guide on auditing CRM data for One of his key suggestions is to account for all of your company’s sales data and each of the tools that it could be stored in. As part of this initial step, Yonatan urges operations managers to do two things: identify who’s accessing the CRM and track how they’re using the data in the system. Not only does this help sales leaders understand who’s actually using the CRM, but it shines a bright light on any issues that the sales organization is having with the data. 

If your sales team is inconsistent about using your CRM, you probably won’t be thrilled with the beginning stages of your data and usage audit. But as painful as your findings might be, they’ll quickly highlight specific ways in which you can make the tool easier for reps to use.

Re-train Your Sales Organization 

Many sales organizations include CRM training as part of the onboarding process for new team members, but sales representatives rarely walk away from these initial training sessions as experts on the tool. If you find that reps across the company are struggling with your CRM, consider launching a new round of training sessions to re-educate the entire organization and provide updated information on best practices. 

Of course, this is easier said than done. Leslie Ye, an editor of HubSpot’s sales blogs, says that reps often bristle at anything that takes them away from selling. To allay their fears of being “stuck” in a CRM training, Ye recommends being sensitive to the demands of the sales cycle. “Start the trials at the beginning of a month or quarter, when pressure to meet a quota is lighter than at the end of a selling period, and test them for the entire period,” Ye adds. 

Additionally, avoid the temptation of structuring these sessions in a lecture-hall format. Instead, start and end each CRM training with a Q&A period. Not only does this allow you to course-correct when a salesperson objects to using a CRM, but it also gives you unique insights into what frustrates them about the tool. While some of their complaints might seem silly at first, you’ll also discover gaps in the workflow that need to be remedied.