The Hidden Cost of CRM (or What Happens When You Manage Your Sales Process on Word Docs and Spreadsheets)
Here’s how we discovered that the CRM we were using at a large software company was costing us over $400,000 a year in lost time.
Back in 2010, I had one of the worst experiences of my entire sales career:
It was 4 o’clock in the morning, and we were still working on the top floor of our company’s office building.
It was the end of Q3, and we should have been out celebrating. Instead we were stuck in the office, working ourselves to death as we pored over spreadsheet after spreadsheet.
I looked around the room:
15 Regional VPs of Sales (including myself), the VP of Finance, and the Sales Operations Manager from our company at all had the same worn-out look on their faces.
We were completely beat. And we still hadn’t finished consolidating the data we needed for the next day’s forecast session.
It was a nightmare. And it was far from over.
Flash back a few hours earlier:
I was celebrating with my fellow regional VPs over a few drinks. It was the night before the quarterly sales review, but we didn’t care.
We had just closed the best quarter in company history – with close to a half billion dollars worth of deals. We were flying HIGH.
That’s when the sales operations guy stormed in:
The data in our reports didn’t match up with his Salesforce report.
“Who cares!” we yelled, as we opened another round.
The forecast session the next day had to be based on his report. If the data in that report didn’t line up with ours, the executives would be furious.
You could feel the tension rise in the room as every manager’s blood pressure spiked 20 points in 2 seconds.
It wasn’t our fault. But we would be the ones on stage the next morning presenting false numbers to executives known for tearing into their subordinates over much less.
We wanted to kill the operations guy. Instead, we raced up to the office on the 55th floor and called in our VP of Finance.
We spent the rest of the night going through each report – line by line, area by area, territory by territory – until we found every single mistake. It was torture.
None of us went to bed that night, and everyone showed up for the forecast session looking worse than if we had been out all night partying.
The meeting went smoothly.
The executives had no idea what we had just gone through, and there was a round of congratulations from them for all our hard work.
It should have been the highlight of the year, but it ended up being one of the lowest points instead (until we all got our commission checks later on. That lifted our moods pretty good).
And even though we tried our best to prevent it from happening again, come next quarter all the VPs were right back up on the 55th floor, furiously trying to get our manual reports to match the one in Salesforce.
No matter how hard we tried, there were always mistakes.
At one point, I even tallied up the amount of time we were spending on these quarterly reviews:
We had 112 sales reps in our company who each had to spend at least four hours consolidating their data at the end of the quarter.
Every region had 1 admin and every regional manager had to spend and additional six hours making sure everything lined up.
On top of that, the CFO and operations manager had to spend 10 days each making sure everything matched.
Sales 112 x 4 hours = 448 hours
Regional VPs: 15 x 6 hours = 90 hours
Admins: 15 x 16 hours = 240 hours
Operations & CFO: 20 days x 8 hours: 160 hours
We were spending a total of 938 man-hours on every quarterly review! That was almost 6 man-months of work! And that was after we started to learn from our mistakes.
Taking average earnings at our company into account, that meant it was costing over $100,000 every quarter just to make for one review. That’s over $400k every year!
And keep in mind, this was only the quarterly sales review. We’re not even talking about the work each rep had to do to enter his data into his sales process activity sheets, their deal data into account reports, and so on.
How could this be so complicated?
It was then that I realized that there had to be a different way of doing things.
I understood that our reps hated having to report all their activities into Salesforce. And because we were using spreadsheets and Word docs to manage our entire sales process, it was a painfully time-consuming task to get all that information into our CRM when it came time for the reports.
But for that to cost over $100,000 every time we needed to do it… seriously?
That’s when the seed for iSEEit was born:
When I realized that there had to be a way to incorporate the sales process into our CRM, and to do so in a way that our sales reps would actually find value. So that not only would the right data go straight into the CRM, but the reps would have the insights they needed to close more deals.
Luckily, that vision I had then is now a reality, and we are very proud to have iSEEit now available as a stand-alone app as well as a native Salesforce app.
Because sales teams deserve a tool that brings out the best in them.
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