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So your Sales Operations team rolled out another Salesforce field that you’re now expected to update. Oh and there’s a validation rule on it too…great. If you’re like most salespeople, data entry is not the part of your job that gets you out bed in the morning, but it might be the thing that’s keeping you up at night.

You’re not alone. Check out these eye-popping stats:

  • 71% of sales reps say they spend too much time on data entry.
  • 79% of salespeople regularly spend time during their work day inputting the same data into multiple systems.
  • Sales reps cite manual data entry as the #1 biggest challenge to using their CRM.

If data entry is so unanimously hated, why are salespeople still wasting upwards of half a business day per week updating their CRM?  Well, it turns out that accurate sales data is the lifeblood of your sales organization. Without accurate and timely sales data, you and your team are flying blind.  

If It’s Not In Your CRM, It Didn’t Happen

Knowledge is power, and your sales organization wants it, in your CRM, now. Everything from your email history, meeting notes, next steps, account firmographic data, lead qualification criteria, pricing…the list goes on and on. Your manager and your Sales Ops team want it all, because that data is needed to understand the health of the business — but also because they might need it at some point.

But let’s be honest, is all of the data you’re painstakingly updating in your CRM, equal? No.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)…on Data

The fact of the matter is that you’re being asked to update too much information. When everything is important, nothing is important — and that’s why your management team is missing the mark when it comes to data entry.

Effective sales organizations understand the importance of accurate and actionable sales data, but also have a high degree of empathy for the challenges of their sales reps. Effective organizations also understand that there is an inverse correlation between the number of data points required and the likelihood that their reps will update them accurately and consistently.  

So how can sales organizations focus their team on revenue driving activities, while getting the data they need to forecast and optimize sales process?

Take notes and update Salesforce in one place
Streamline your process with built in templates and update any Salesforce field directly from your notes.

Managers, Know What You Want

  1. If your CRM is a mess, it’s probably due in part to the “flavor of the month” metrics you’ve implemented. Define your KPIs (key performance indicators) and work with your Sales Ops team on how best to reliably track and report on them.
  2. Clearly define what data a salesperson is required to collect during sales calls, before pipeline meetings, etc. Do your best to keep this list reasonable. If a salesperson doesn’t know they’re responsible, it’s optional.
  3. Demonstrate that you actually review the data your sales reps are collecting. Regularly report on your KPIs, share insights made possible by their data entry efforts, and hold your team accountable when key information is missing or inaccurate.

Sales Ops, Simplify & Deliver Value

  1. Create positive feedback loops. Use the data sales reps are collecting to deliver value back to them. Bring your Ops skills to bear by developing formulaic scores, reports, and dashboards to help your reps prioritize their prospects and deals.
  2. Do some CRM pruning. Get rid of the dead wood (e.g. fields not being used anymore) in your CRM by running a field usage report with a tool like Field Trip. You’ll quickly find out which fields aren’t being used anymore. 
  3. Drive better CRM adoption by cleaning up your page layouts. Make the most important fields front and center and remove or de-prioritize the fields that aren’t.
  4. Let technology shoulder the burden. Instead of requiring sales reps to fill in basic account and contact data, use Salesforce integrated tools like Clearbit to take care of it for you. FYI, 68% of salespeople questioned thought more could be done in their organization to automate manual and repetitive processes.

Salespeople, Your Process Is Broken

  1. Stop double-entering data! You may not notice it or know that there’s a better way, but if you’re doing any of these things, cut it out:
    • Manually logging emails in Salesforce (check out Salesloft, Outreach).
    • Manually drafting contracts from scratch (generate contracts from Salesforce).
    • Taking notes in Evernote or by hand, then logging them in Salesforce (this is exactly what Pattern does).
  2. If you can’t reduce your data entry workload with technology, make the best of your situation by scheduling your CRM updates when you’re least productive, like after your last customer meeting.
  3. Encourage your Sales Ops team to shadow you during your daily routine. They’ll be surprised by how many clicks it takes to complete simple tasks, and will help them empathize and work with you to reduce your data entry burden.

So What Now?

Until technology automates your incessant clicks, keystrokes, and open browser tabs, data entry will remain a necessary evil in the world of sales. It’s not all a zero sum game though. A little communication and empathy goes a long way to transform your CRM into an asset to your sales success, while also giving your manager the information needed to steer the ship in the right direction.

Read More About Sales Ops Empathy
Want to learn more about being an empathetic Sales Ops virtuoso? Check out our recent blog article.