Is It Time to Move to a New CRM?

Barely big enough for a family of 2

My wife and I have moved 11 times. This included relocating from Pittsburgh to Florida & back twice, from Florida to Raleigh & back once, and 5 more times to different cities.

The first time we moved from Pittsburgh to Florida, we needed an entire 18 wheel tractor trailer to transport our belongings – and it was just 2 of us!

For our most recent move from Raleigh back to Florida, we needed less than 1/3 of a tractor trailer to haul our stuff.

Between our first move and our last move (I really hope it’s our last move!), we learned a few practical lessons:

  1. Give away the book collection. There are way too heavy to move cross country.
  2. If we can’t park a car in our 2 car garage, we have too much stuff.
  3. Boxes stored in a damp basement for years will get moldy.
  4. If we don’t open a box in storage for 2 years, we get rid of it.
  5. Scroll to the end of this post for my #1 moving tip.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson we learned is to get rid of everything we had that we don’t  use anymore.


The Problem with Most CRMs

I’ve been using CRMs since before Salesforce launched in 1999. During this time, I’ve seen that most companies have similar problems with their CRMs. The problems compound much like the accumulation of too much stuff does in your house. 

  • The CRM is used to capture metrics that do not help the sales team.  Fields may have been added by well-meaning, but misguided, administrators, marketing managers or enablement teams. Years later we find these are no longer used. Often nobody is even looking at data that the sales reps are required to enter. 
  • The CRM has so much extraneous data that nobody can use it effectively. More is not better. If you can’t find the info or makes sense of it, then why collect it?
  • The CRM forces “unnatural behavior”. When Reps are forced to enter bogus data to convert a lead, when data validation rules make it aggravating to update opportunities, and when CRM workflows don’t match your actual sales process, Sales Reps will avoid using your CRM as much as possible.

Compare this to what I consider is essential for an effective CRM for Sales:

  1. It is simple for reps, managers and executives to use.
  2. It improves sales with automations that help sales reps sell more.
  3. Dashboards & reports reflect sales activity with meaningful metrics.
  4. A “certified CRM administrator” isn’t needed to support it.

The Problem with Salesforce

Since Salesforce became the dominant player in the CRM business, I’ve seen many companies try mold their sales practices around how Salesforce works. That’s not an unreasonable approach. I’ve done this myself many times for good reasons:

  1. Nearly every sales rep has Salesforce experience.
  2. The processes used by Salesforce have become common, de facto standards.
  3. Salesforce has a huge base of partners, add-on applications and plugins to extend its functionality.

Unfortunately, I’ve often been frustrated with Salesforce. Sometimes it’s just not the best tool for the job.

This has been especially true when I am building out high velocity sales teams for startups and tech companies.

As a Manager, I need to know  “What activities and results are we we measuring to ensure we hit our revenue goals?”*

  1. Quota – What is Booked? What is the GAP to Quota?
  2. Pipeline – Is there sufficient pipeline this quarter to fill the GAP? Are opportunities progressing on schedule? Is there sufficient pipeline being built for next quarter?
  3. Activity– Are reps engaging in the right activities? Is the volume of activity and leads sufficient?

As a Sales Rep, I need a CRM that enables high-volume prospecting, requires minimal manual data entry, and offer time saving features like click to dial, automatic call/mail logging, email syncing, etc.

In order to get the functionality I need from Salesforce, I’ve had to create custom reports, purchase third party add-on software, and develop workarounds. Many times, my sales teams have used unauthorized “skunkworks” solutions (like shared Google Docs and even other CRMs) to work around limitations of Salesforce.

Here are some of the add-ons tools my teams have used:  InsideSales.com, Five9, Salesloft, Outreach, ToutApp, YesWare, Zoho, Cadence, Excel, Evernote, Slack, InsightSquared and Google Sheets.

(In fairness to Salesforce, I’d like to mention that I love Salesforce. I’ve built my entire career running sales teams that use CRMs — 90% of them use Salesforce. 

When implemented well, Salesforce can be a key component for transforming a sales team. That said, it can be difficult to implement, costly to maintain and is not always the ideal CRM. Sometimes it can be over kill – like using an entire tractor trailer to move 2 people.)


An Alternative to the Biggest Kid on the Block

Recently, I was hired to help two different customers improve their sales.

One has been using Salesforce for more than 6 years. The other had tested several different CRMs but had yet to find one that met its unique business requirements.

In both cases, I found that the workflows used in their existing CRMs did not match the sales processes that each customer used.

  • Neither company was able to improve high-velocity outbound prospecting using their CRM.
  • Sales reps complained that updating the CRM took too much time away from selling.
  • Management was unable to pull meaningful reports to help them direct the team’s activities.
  • Neither company’s CRM gave a clear view from Lead Generation to Opportunity to Sale.

Through research, I discovered a new CRM called Prosperworks. Prosperworks is fully integrated with G-Suite and offers Sales Reps the ability to work right from within Gmail. It also bills itself as the “CRM Teams Love to Use” and “Recommended by Google”.

To make a long story short, both of my customers moved to Prosperworks.

I am not going to provide an in depth review of Prosperworks vs. the other CRMs we considered (Pipedrive, Zoho, Sugar, Salesforce + add-ons like Outreach, Salesloft and InsideSales.com). You can find CRM product reviews all over the Internet.

Instead, I’ll explain why we chose Prosperworks:

  1. The administration of Prosperworks is unbelievably intuitive. Implementation was relatively painless, especially considering that we were importing data from other systems and modifying our sales processes on the fly.
  2. The cost was far less than Salesforce. Licensing is less expensive than Salesforce, as expected. But the real savings was in the implementation and ongoing administrative costs for both companies. Neither company will need to hire a CRM administrator or pay for a long, expensive, custom implementation. The sales managers are capable of administering Prosperworks.
  3. Flexible workflows. Prosperworks uses “Pipelines” for managing Opportunity Workflows, Stages and Progression. Pipelines can be customized to support different types of Opportunities, Projects, and Workflows. My customers use them for Opportunity Management, for Contract Negotiations, and even for Hiring Processes.

The Pipelines are sweet. You can drag and drop deals to the correct stage and have a visual  of your pipelines

I also was impressed with the unique way that Prosperworks handles Opps that are WON, LOST or ABANDONED. Instead of being sales Stages, these are distinct Status fields. This way, you move a deal directly from it’s current stage to the WON/LOST/ABANDONED status and you will have a record of the last stage it was in before being moved. This open up a lot of possibilities for working “dead Opps”, assessing your sales processes and identifying where your reps need to focus.

It’s quite genius.

Prosperworks Pipeline – Click this image to go to a full explanation on their website


Is It Time for You to Move to A New CRM?

A CRM is only as good as the people who use it and the processes behind it. Bad processes, the Wrong Sales Reps,or the Wrong Manager will drag your sales down even more than a poorly implemented CRM.

If you are not getting the results you want from Sales, I’d first recommend evaluating your people, processes, and systems (including your CRM) to determine your best course of action.

If you are fairly certain you are not getting everything you want from your CRM or if you are considering a new CRM, I’d recommend taking a look at Prosperworks. You may be pleasantly surprised with what it offers.

On the other hand, you may just want to “clean house” and purge your current CRM of data and processes that no longer make sense. That can work too.

If you want some help, shoot me an email or give me a call.


Here’s my #1 Tip for moving…If you are over the age of 25, hire professional movers. The money you spend is well worth it. You and your friends will thank me for this. Save your back, your beer and your pizza for a housewarming party instead.  


If you want some help improving sales, contact me here. I’d love to hear from you.


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