CRM - just the acronym itself can conjure up shivers, uncertainty and a headache.  According to HubSpot it's official - lots of sales people hate their CRM system ๐Ÿ˜ซ.  

Here's the summary:

76% of sales leaders report that their team doesnโ€™t use the majority of the tools in their CRM.

47% of sales leaders donโ€™t believe their sales software is capable of helping them meet their business goals over the next three years.

When asked to rate the user-friendliness of the consumer products they use every day, where '1' is "very easy to use" and 10 is "very difficult to use," 40% of sales leaders gave a rating of 1 or 2. However, when asked to rate the user-friendliness of the business products they use on the same scale, only 15% gave a rating of 1 or 2.

But that's a problem because their research also discovered that at the same time companies are struggling to get a clear picture of their customer using their CRM, the buyers expectations have increased.  

expectations of customers and prospects

The gap between buyer expectations and sales ability to deliver against them is widening at a time when the digital buyer is more savvy than ever.

Over the last few months, as more people work remotely and online, platforms like LinkedIn have witnessed a huge surge in activity.  

Identifying digital triggers and the ability to measure the impact of those triggers has become critical to successful sellers. Pulling all aspects of data around a single customer is how businesses will likely survive this pandemic and thrive on the other side.

To quote HubSpot's founder, Brian Halligan this week from Inbound 2020:

"There are going to be two types of companies that come out of this:  Companies that are leaning into the changes that are happening right now - online marketing, inside selling.  And then there are companies that are just trying to get back to 2019.   I think the future looks a lot more like today than 2019."

So what does that alignment look like?

Well the research goes on to give a very honest (and slightly hard to swallow) truth.  Only 30% of sales leaders say they are very closely aligned with their marketing teams.

sales leader alignment with marketing team

There's no doubt that both sales and marketing appreciate the need to align but the reality, according to this research, is that we're still too far from where we need to be.

What I'm personally noticing, based on our work with ours customers, is an interesting shift.  Where marketing is leading the conversation with sales to help enable them around social media transformation.  

That's not in a "we know best" kind of way but more a "let's collaborate on this together" kind of way.

I'm seeing real partnerships forming, often centered around an account based approach to selling and marketing.  Identifying target accounts and key accounts, then aligning data points, insights and knowledge around them.

When both teams align around the customer (rather than to each other) and look to technology for the insights to make that happen, everyone is winning.  The customer, sales and marketing.

Whilst the CRM shouldn't be seen as this platform where data is old, outdated and pointless.  It should be seen as the heart that automatically pulls insights from LinkedIn, from email, from calendar activity from the website.  

When used properly, these digital triggers can be automatically fed to the right people and at the right time.  The customer gets information that's relevant to their needs.  Sales gets alerts that are relevant to their customer and marketing can create content that speaks to buyer trends.

Every trigger, every insight can make a business run smarter.  Learn more by downloading our latest paper on the topic:   B2B Sales And Marketing Alignment eBook:  The Ultimate Game Of Digital Ping Pong