January 10, 2019

The Elephant in the room with Sales

Erika Cruz

This post is about one of the biggest sources of friction for sales: CRM.

Sunday night versus Monday morning

The software we use to run our enterprises is still still far behind consumer technologies on the user experience. If consumer technologies such as Lyft, Amazon Alexa, or OpenTable feel like a casual Sunday night, enterprise software like CRM still feels like a Monday morning on a gray winter day.


Since its roots in the late mainframe era of the 1970s, enterprise software has remained forms on a browser. No wonder most salespeople hate CRM.

The biggest elephant there is

CRM is an outsized category in enterprise software. It is bigger than ERP, Databases, and Operating Systems and it continues to grow in size. CRM is now the largest market in enterprise software and some analysts expect it to nearly touch $70M in revenues by 2025.

CRM Growth
CRM is now the fastest growing enterprise software segment

The IT and end user paradox

Certainly, from rolodex software like Act in the 1980s to Siebel in the 1990s and Salesforce in the 2000s, CRM technologies have evolved in feature breadth and depth, and moved from early adopters to the mainstream.

IT loves CRM as it is now possible to subscribe to it on tap, in the cloud.

Yet, CRM remain some of the lowest adopted pieces of enterprise software with barely 15-20% adoption.  While CRM consumption has evolved from on-premise to pay-as-you-go for IT, the seller experience hasn’t really evolved.

Evolution of work

"Fundamentally CRM is still forms on a database"

CRM remains focused on data entry and management reporting versus on augmenting sellers to drive revenue with customers.

CRM kills evenings and weekends through the tyranny of filling forms and placing the terrible burden of remembering everything manually on sellers.

What’s in it for me aka Ms. Seller?

If you’re not from the world of Sales, you might be confused.

With all this spend, why doesn't it induce love and usage by sellers? Why is 66% of all seller time still spent on non-selling activities. That's 2 of 3 minutes NOT focused on customers. Just....astounding.

Because CRM wasn't designed around the daily workflow of sellers. Sellers spend their time calling and chasing customers, managing relationships, and living in email and chat, whereas CRM assumes that sellers "live in CRM".

Selling Time and CRM Time
Selling Time and CRM Time

The writing is on the wall

The good news is that everyone in the industry feels the squeeze from this giant elephant which is sucking oxygen out of the room.

Gartner famously predicted in one of their prescient blog posts:

“Reps won’t live in CRM anymore”

There is a growing consensus within the sales technology community that the next generation of CRM won't be anything like previous one, especially for millennials who are now the largest generation in the US labor force.

So where do reps want to live

At Tact.ai, we believe reps should work from the devices and channels and technologies they are already accustomed to in their personal lives.

Sellers already use Lyft for ride sharing, OpenTable for restaurant booking, and Amazon Alexa for navigating in their car, taking away enormous friction.

Why can’t they do the same with CRM? Yes they can!

As our friends at CRM.org say:

Tact.ai plays to every salesperson’s 9-5 dream, “what if every seller in the world had a personal assistant to do their admin work and tap them on the shoulder with just-in-time intelligence?”

Erika Cruz
Erika Cruz
Former Marketing and Sales Experience at Tact.ai

Read more like this