Enterprise sales tools until recently were all about how efficiently they store and retrieve data and generate reports. Data was the backbone of the entire value chain. But this data was used to generate meaningful reports used in sales reviews & such. How was most of the data funneled? Of course, via CRMs. One could assume that the traditional ones were built to please the people who signed their cheques and the developers figured out how much was enough to please them. On the flipside, reports generated via such an approach only provided a top-down view of data. The high implementation costs, delayed ROIs, limited coverage, etc. are a few reasons because of which I use the word ‘flipside’.
Times are changing and things we can achieve via technology today are drastically different. For one, we are in a mobile-first world and mobile devices have sensors which enable contextualized notifications to capture our sentiment after, say, eating at a restaurant. We do not sit and search for the restaurant to rate it; gratification and retribution are instantaneous.
In this context, let me expand on a few other issues with classic CRM tools. To start with, for all the effort put in by employees, they themselves see little personal gain. For instance, there is no data on what transpired between the sales rep and the customer in the interaction. There is so much to be gleamed from this interaction that it can affect rest of the sales pipeline including sales forecasts, forecast accuracy, etc.
1. Adoption – We discussed this in an earlier blog post too. Adoption is the biggest reason for failing to achieve ROI from CRM investments. Managers try to either motivate or incentivize their reps to update the CRM regularly but most of these efforts fall short.
2. Mobility – In an ideal world, CRM updates by sales/service reps would be prompt and instantaneous. However, reps often need to use a PC/tablet to update the system because most traditional CRMs don’t support a mobile app which has the capacity to capture contextual data.
3. Marginal Value Add – For field sales reps, there is no value add in having to record every detail of their client interaction, especially when a mobile device can detect and report, say, the meeting location. CRM tools insist that users make the extra effort to fill all this data.
New age SaaS startups have been quick to realize the opportunity and have developed solutions which capture workflows, ensuring higher visibility, quick ROI, and automatic data detection among other things. These SaaS solutions are now capable of capturing the entire journey of an opportunity. One need not wait for a field rep to come back to a branch or to a laptop to fill in all the required information. Data is captured by utilizing technologies like geo intelligence, conversational AI, predictive intelligence, etc.- what I call Interaction-driven SaaS.