What Are You Losing In The Shadows?

I was trying to work out ways of helping a customer with their crm headaches yesterday.  Depending on which scare story you believe, a quickfire trawl around any one of the several sites trying to be crm info portals will throw up all sorts of alarming figures.  They often claim that anywhere between 50 & 70% of reps fail to use their requisite software (regardless of whether it’s desktop or web-based).

I remember selling sales software in the 90s and, exasperated by a key piece of functionality that clients had requested inexplicably missing from the latest release, crying about it into my beer one night with the MD.  He was a sales animal, and his response was simply “Microsoft showed the way and since every other software vendor has followed suit in ripping off their customers – no software works anywhere, it’s all a scam”.  Incredible.

Sales teams are losing out on two scores.  Firstly, reps are disengaged from the central system.  Of even more concern, is the fact that they often do want to keep some kind of record of their activity.  So what they do is create their own ‘system’ of documenting what they’ve done and what they need to do.  I’ll call it a shadow system, as definitions for this kind of thing already exist, eg:

“A shadow system is a set of records maintained at a local level independent of the official records”

This doesn’t just include call reports and actions, but can often spread to areas like keeping a separate account of their sales figures for commission purposes.  No lesser outfit than Accenture even suggest ‘estimates of productive selling time lost to shadow activities can range from one-half day to two days per month per salesperson’.

I’m looking into ways for them that any time and data lost to shadow activity can be reclaimed.

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