In the spirit of Dave Letterman’s “Top 10″ lists, here are the Top 10 reasons sales reps do not use the CRM system or why CRM systems have such poor user adoption statistics (*for a possible remedy to these 10 reasons, see note at bottom):
10 They just don’t like administrative sorts of work, which takes them away from selling and making money. They consider reporting administrative work, so they don’t do it.
09 They just get busy doing their selling, making money, and caring for customers, so they forget to report; it isn’t part of their important work, not ‘top of mind’. “I just can’t get around to it.”
08 They report by talking about their meetings around the water cooler or in the break room or at the bar in the evening or in the car with a passenger when traveling, or anywhere they can talk about it (and not have to write it).
07 They just call the boss and tell him/her about it all (or, hopefully, get the boss’ email and leave the report as a message), so there is perceived to be no need to do a formal report.
06 They have learned and practiced procrastination from the time of early high school and are very good at it (especially at procrastinating reports), so they can delay reporting for days, weeks, and even months. “Oh, I’ll get to it next month when I have some time.”
05 They think that nobody in management reads their reports, so they think the reporting is a meaningless waste of time. “Hello, anybody out there reading this report? Hello? Respond to me, so I know someone is reading this.”
04 What they do and how they go about it is their personal “competitive edge,” their own “special style,” and they are highly competitive and not about to reveal it, share it, or comment on it through reports to management. “If I don’t sell, I don’t eat!”
03 They hate to write, they hated English classes, and they hate “writing” reports. “Give me enough alcohol and tobacco,” said one sales rep, “and I can write anything. Dope me up!”
02 They know that by not reporting they can “own” the information and by hoarding it ensure their long-time employment. “No one is going to be happy to see me “walk out the door knowing what I (and only I) know!”
01 They perceive that the only thing management cares about is making money, so if they are meeting their goals or exceeding them, they think reporting will never be enforced. “They will never fire me for not entering my sales information into the CRM system!”
*Note: Here is a possible remedy to these reasons sales reps won’t report into their CRM system. Attention Management literature suggests that sales reps pay attention to the things their managers pay attention to. The sales team must know that managers up and down the organization are (1) committed as a team to the value of the knowledge in the CRM system for analysis, decision making, and proper action, and (2) insistent on the fundamental requirement that aggregating in the CRM databases is a continuous flow of accurate, current, and complete explanatory knowledge from the field. This continuous flow of information is easiest attained with a voice-based CRM data entry system that is easy and quick for reporting and one that sales reps will use naturally.
Maybe sales reps – when shown a better way – can set aside these 10 reasons for not reporting and follow the example and attention of their managers in building CRM databases of good information that make a practical difference in the success of their organization and themselves.