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Is Your CRM Secretly Sabotaging Sales Performance?

The idea of having a single source of truth is certainly appealing. In an ideal world, having one central source for all relevant information that supports a sales performance business process means maximum efficiency and agility in leveraging data that drives decision-making.  

Many organizations default to their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution as this source of truth. However, this approach has serious side effects that can cause unintended headaches, growing pains, and sleepless nights for your Rev Ops and Sales Comp teams.  

Join us as we discuss why CRMs should not be the hub for Sales Performance Management (SPM) data and explore the benefits of purpose-built performance platforms that can connect all the pieces and help you make better, data-driven decisions. 

Why Your CRM Will Never Tell You the Whole Truth 

First, it is important to understand why CRMs have become the default source of truth for many sales organizations. At the surface level, CRMs appear to be a one-stop shop for the most important stakeholders: the sellers.  

When done correctly, creating this hub for the sales and sales operations teams to manage opportunities collaboratively creates immense value and drives growth. CRMs will continue to be a significant part of any sales performance process for the foreseeable future, as well they should.  

Nearly half of large enterprises worldwide feel they cannot rely on their CRM data to provide a single source of truth regarding customer data.

State of Enterprise CRM Data Management (2021)

However, CRMs have serious limitations that hamstring their ability to thrive as a single source of truth for all the complexities inherent in enterprise business processes.  

Nearly half of large enterprises worldwide (47%) feel they cannot rely on their CRM data to provide a single source of truth regarding customer data, according to the State of Enterprise CRM Data Management 2021 study.  

There are many reasons for this, but there are three that we see time and time again:  

1. Poor source data  

CRMs are only as good as the data provided — and that data can be dicey at best. Sales teams often do not like to (and should not have to) spend significant chunks of their day inputting data when they could (and should) be selling.  

CRMs are only as good as the data you put in them — and that data is usually dicey at best. Click To Tweet

On top of that, the typical business has between 5 to 15 external applications integrated with its CRM. Each of these systems functions in a silo, and changes made in those systems often do not show up in the CRM data, show up at the wrong place or time, or in the worst case, break it completely.  

2. Poor data security 

When it comes to data security, CRMs are challenging to manage, mainly due to their self-service nature. This is an increasingly important part of data management and architecture. The sheer amount of regulated, confidential, and proprietary data stored in enterprise CRMs makes them a target for bad actors and a significant vulnerability. 

A company’s CRM can be accessed by many insiders, such as employees, contractors, or business partners. In large organizations, that could amount to hundreds or even thousands of people. On top of inevitable human errors around data transfer, a report from Verizon revealed that 30% of data breaches involved internal actors, with 8% of those coming from intentional misuse.  

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3. Not enough complexity 

CRMs are not well-positioned to handle increasingly complex and modern go-to-market strategies. CRMs are most useful for traditional, top-down sales organizations where accounts or leads work through a standardized sales funnel. The faster-moving or self-service-based sales cycles favored by product-led organizations buck that conventional sales funnel, significantly reducing the value of the CRM. They are just not built to handle the level of complexity and customization that many modern businesses require. 

CRMs Are Not Built for Modern Sales Performance Management 

According to BetterCloud, a typical tech company will use about 80 different SaaS (Software as a Service) tools. With so many applications, it is unrealistic to expect rigid CRMs to manage all that additional data appropriately. They are not built for that purpose. Their primary purpose is to dynamically manage the current state of rep-to-account relationships and the related opportunities and sales activities. The dynamic nature of this primary function directly opposes the historical tracking of sales credit earned by sellers at any given time. This is a distinctly different data problem than the one CRM is optimized to solve. 

Controversial opinion: Sales teams often do not like to (and should not have to) spend significant chunks of their day inputting data when they could (and should) be selling.   Click To Tweet

In the face of many additional data sources and more nuanced, complex sales cycles, most CRMs do not retain their “source of truth” status for long. Even when it can be achieved, turning a dynamic relationship management tool into a reliable data repository is a painful process wrought with workarounds and proprietary hacks — creating fragile and unscalable systems. Using CRMs in this way is costly, cumbersome, and will reduce your sales team’s effectiveness.  

The Truth is: You Need a Purpose-Built Performance Platform 

In the early days of the internet, most enterprises looked to contain all company functions within a single software platform — usually either proprietary or a highly-customized suite from one of the major players like Oracle or Microsoft. Thankfully, those days are over.  

Increasingly, companies are moving to a best-in-class approach for their tech stack. There are so many software solutions created every day the chances of finding one tailored not only for the function you need but also for the niche you serve are high.  

As a sales organization, you may have transactions, subscriptions, billings, event data, product data, and many others to process. As the amount of data companies collect and analyze grows, so does the need to have purpose-built tools and an intelligent way to connect all the pieces.  

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Our most successful customers leverage bi-directional data sharing to distribute relevant information to respective tools, each playing a critical role in the sales process.  

To put so much burden on a CRM is unfair. CRMs are not designed to handle every byte of data your increasingly complex sales organization creates. Forcing the CRM to be the sole source of truth for the sales team will limit the effectiveness of your sales team and make your CRM expensive and increasingly burdensome to manage. 

Instead, your CRM should be one of many niche, fit-for-purpose cogs in a well-functioning sales machine where each cog receives the inputs it needs to provide value to its intended stakeholders.   

CRMs Are Not a Trustworthy Source of Truth

While a single source of truth for sales performance data is appealing, relying solely on a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is not the best approach for a modern sales org.  

While CRMs can be useful for sales teams and sales operations, their natural limitations reduce their utility as a single source of truth for complex sales performance processes. Poor source data, poor data security, and limited complexity are just a few of those challenges. 

How Customer Potentialization Can Supercharge Your Sales

As the amount of data companies collect, analyze, and make decisions from grows, so does the need for intelligent ways to connect all the pieces. With a best-in-class approach to their tech stack, companies can find software solutions tailored to their specific needs and niches, making data management and reporting reliable and routine. 

Forma.ai was designed to be a reliable, single source of truth for sales compensation data. While most of the ICM (Incentive Compensation Management) solutions in our space focused on automating the sales commission crediting and payout process, we focus on the whole cycle.  

Talk to one of our experts to learn more about how Forma.ai drives better, data-driven decision-making around your sales compensation plan.  

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