James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

Full Profile »

How to Solve the $14 Billion CRM Debacle

James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

Full Profile »

Your CRM software has the power to transform your business, but only if you tap into its full potential.

This seems like common sense. Not using all of your CRM’s capabilities is like buying a sandwich and only eat half of it when your stomach is still growling.

Yet, according to Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools, that’s exactly what 74% of companies do with their subpar CRM adoption. They bought a $28 billion CRM sandwich, and they’re sitting there still hungry after only eating half of it – leaving the $14 billion debacle.

We recently spoke with Brandon Bruce, Co-Founder and COO of Cirrus Insight, about how to step up your CRM adoption, get the maximum return on investment, and stop going hungry.

Syncing Data

Perhaps the biggest misconception that leads to subpar CRM adoption is the idea that the sales team should be working within the CRM all the time.

The problem here is that communications with customers don’t happen in the CRM. They happen through email, calendar, or over the phone. Instead of forcing these mediums to bend to the CRM, it should be the other way around.

You need to implement a simple method to log communications into the CRM so that it isn’t draining the sales team’s time.

The easiest way to increase CRM adoption is to sync data from the places your sales teams actually work day-to-day into the structured system of the CRM.

This auto-update format allows teams to work in their normal environment, so their sales abilities aren’t stunted, while also turning their efforts into usable data in the CRM.

“If it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen.”

While not technically true, this mantra does have a valid point. If it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen.


A conversation or meeting that isn’t logged in the CRM might still lead to a deal. However, without that data, there’s no way to use that interaction to track, measure, and improve on future customer interactions.

The CRM has the ability to transform your business through data-tracking to establish and tweak best practices. If there’s no data or bad data, you’ll get bad (i.e. unhelpful) results, and the CRM won’t give you the full return on investment.


Now that you’ve fixed the issue of getting measurable data into the CRM, there’s still one more stumbling point in the road: to maximize CRM adoption and capitalize on the technology.

The whole reason for logging customer communications in the CRM is to track what works, what doesn’t, and how things can be improved.

A lot of times, companies will look at vanity metrics rather than metrics that provide real business results.

For example, you might have gained a lot of Twitter followers over the past month. That seems like a time to give the marketing team a pat on the back, but really it should make you ask “So what?”

Did those extra Twitter followers drive more revenue? If you have a ton of people clicking the follow button, but there hasn’t been an actual uptick in sales, it’s a useless measurement.

Similarly, let’s look at email analytics. If you send an email to 500,000 people and 40% open the email while 20% click through the targeted link, it seems like that email did exactly what you wanted it to.

However, it’s still too early to celebrate.

While high click rate is a positive sign, it’s still worthless unless it leads to your ultimate goal of increased sales. So, are you trying to get people to read emails or are you trying to get them to buy?

When you understand what you actually care about at the end of the day, it’s far easier to steer away from vanity metrics and pay attention to analytics actually important to your business.


A CRM is a piece of sales tech that can be transformative for your business, but only when it is fully adopted by your sales team.

By syncing data from the places your sales team works daily and using that data to look at the most important analytics, you can up your return on investment from your CRM and avoid the $14 billion debacle.

This article is based on an interview with Brandon Bruce, Co-Founder and COO of Cirrus Insight. You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to the B2B Growth Show on iTunes. If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode by clicking here.