The CRM Fables – The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”
The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature…”

I believe that a properly implemented CRM can be invaluable to a salesperson and their whole organisation. However, often the nature of even the best salesperson is that if they think something they are doing is pointless and irrelevant then they won’t bother doing it. It’s human nature.

At a recent conference, one of the delegates I spoke to was a top sales achiever for a major FTSE100 company. Naturally, the subject moved on to what CRM they had implemented at his business. They had implemented one of the big, enterprise CRM solutions, at the cost of several million pounds.

I asked how it helped him. His reply was surprising. He said that he and his colleagues could see the benefit of how it helped them manage a pipeline and record their activities. However, no one used it and he couldn’t remember when he last logged in. When asked why he said that it was because of an email that they had been copied in on from the Sales Director some months earlier. It was to the Head of IT and said that they wanted to cancel the subscriptions for the Management team to the CRM as they logged in barely once a quarter and the saving from cancelling these subscriptions was significant. However, the sales team would retain their subscription and should keep using it. Given it was clear that the information being put in the CRM was never being viewed by Management; the team, even those who could see the value, had fallen out of the habit of using the application.

People do what you inspect, not what you expect and if your whole management team doesn’t buy into the CRM software, you might as well not bother. Every level of the organisation needs people who champion the use of CRM. Above all, it needs buy in, and active use from the very top.