The CRM paradox

Todd SchnickMost sales people are familiar with a CRM system.

Many sales people are judged, ranked, bonused, graded, and their life-value determined based on simple stats generated from the CRM.

This is good. And this is very bad.

I think CRMs are very useful sales management tools.

Let me clarify this point: CRMs are very useful sales management tools for the sales reps themselves. In the context of determining how YOU are doing. Individually. As in, are you improving? Or not?

But unfortunately, they are not often used for that purpose.

Too often, they are used as clubs with which to beat someone over the head. As in:

“You aren’t meeting your numbers. Hit them or be sacked.”
“You are way behind others on the team.”
“You better haul ass to catch up with the rest of your team.”

Now, understanding your performance in the context of the rest of your sales team does matter, in terms of learning where you can improve.

But the punitive side of things I think is very damaging. And sadly, far too common.

I am guilty of this myself. I did it just this morning. My intention was to motivate my colleague, but instead, I injected poison into the process. I made it about our internal team rankings verses making progress helping humanity (aka our customers).

I made it more about competition. Not about serving and helping people. This is why I’ve always personally had problems with CRM systems and the stats and numbers and rankings they spit out.

Most sales people (and sales managers), me included sometimes, make it about rank and status, verses legitimate progress towards helping more people.

Most sales organizations pay you based on your numbers. They don’t pay you based on serving and helping people.

I think the problem is this:

Some sales organizations don’t see a difference between the two.

I think this is the problem.

The organization that sees these two as completely different are the ones who are thriving, building a long-term focused enterprise, and employing sales people who relish their work, and don’t dread hitting the pavement each morning….


To learn more about my take on sales, check out my book: The Zen of Sales!

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

  • Ed

    Those companies who use CRM systems as a club are run by Finance peole who don’t understand and value sales. In turn, they hire sales managers who are paid overseers uising CRM to intimidate the sales force. Companies whose culturs value sales people use CRM systems as a tool, and generally outperform those who use it as a false metric of success.

  • Todd Schnick

    Ed…couldn’t have said it better…

  • Gareth Young

    I have recently been exploring using a CRM system myself – for my performance, not competition, since I’m the only person on the account. I was blown away by the service and support. My product is only $300 per year, but before they could have any level of confidence I would buy I had already had a long call with the sales guy, received maybe half a dozen follow up calls from him (they use their own stuff and use it well!) and maybe a thirty minute call with their help desk. I was simply blown away., That experience was all about serving someone, and trusting that the right thing will happen as a result. The result: not only are we all able to enjoy our relationships and our work, but of course I’m going to be a loyal customer and sing their praises.

  • Todd Schnick

    thanks for sharing the story gareth. when a CRM is used right, and in my humble opinion, a majority of people use it wrong, it can be very powerful.

  • Matthew Ranger

    Unfortunately I think you’re right Todd.
    Many sales managers still don’t understand the value of fully understanding CRM
    strategy before they implement CRM software. This means their decision is
    driven by a misinformed and out-dated goal of management through basic sales

    Sales metrics definitely have their place – but if you empower a sales team with a CRM they can use to enhance their own
    performance and earn more commissions – you will revolutionise results.

    Check out our ebook on sales conversion with CRM – it shows you what you can do with the right strategy and software.

    Matt Ranger
    Maximizer CRM

  • Todd Schnick

    thanks for sharing the ebook matt!