The Lazy Sales Rep Syndrome: Automated Email Integration for CRM is the Solution
I used to work at IBM. Every year the CEO would visit our facility and give us an inspirational speech about the state of the company. But what made us laugh, year after year, was the inevitable section on CRM utilization.
Every year the CEO would scold us for letting our staffs be “lazy sales reps” and plead with us to get them to enter their sales data in the CRM. It never happened. The next CEO and the one after that gave the same speech, year after year.
When I left IBM, I worked for a cloud start-up called E2open. We were early Salesforce.com users starting in 2001. But from the beginning, we struggled with user adoption and usage, just like IBM.
When I joined RAE Internet Inc. as President in 2010, I found another start-up using Salesforce.com, again only halfway and with resistance. The sales team preferred Outlook. But Outlook didn’t work for the company as a whole, because it didn’t allow people to share customer data from one central database.
RAE Internet is in the email defense business. It provides solutions to block email viruses and spam. I asked the RAE Internet programmers to use their email expertise to develop an email integration tool for Salesforce.com. The idea was if we could get all the emails into Salesforce.com automatically, then the information in Salesforce.com would be better than the information in Outlook and the sales reps would use Salesforce more frequently. For management, the advantage would be better information in the CRM about customer interactions and the deal pipeline.
Based on our experience, we knew that the sales rep would not use a manual tool consistently, not because they are “lazy”, but because it is hard to find the time to log emails to Salesforce every day. Plus sales people hate to do data entry.
The developers started on the project and created Match My Email. Match My Email queries selected folders in the end-user mailbox every twenty minutes looking for new emails. It then extracts the email addresses and compares them to the email address fields in Salesforce. When the system finds a match – hence the name Match My Email – it uploads a copy of the email to the relevant records in Salesforce.com.
With the implementation of Match My Email, we noticed an immediate improvement in sales rep usage of the Salesforce.com. Instead of looking in Outlook for the last email from or to the Lead or Account, the sales reps started to log into Salesforce.com. They did this because in Outlook they could only see their own emails, but in Salesforce they could see the emails of the entire sales team. Because Match My Email was automated – not manual – they could also be sure that the email information in Salesforce was accurate and up-to-date, so they could rely on it.
Now I am proud to say that our sales reps work more in Salesforce, than in Outlook. If they need to send an email, they launch Outlook from inside of Salesforce and then immediately return to Salesforce when they hit the Send button. Working in Salesforce has had the added advantage that now the sales rep use Tasks in Salesforce – which are shared – instead of Tasks in Outlook which are silo’ed. They now share Contacts in Salesforce, instead of creating separate contact lists in Outlook.
After we saw the success of Match My Email inside our company, we decided to commercialize it by listing it on the Salesforce.com AppExchange. It was been a runaway success. Give it a try and see for yourself.
Match My Email really solved our “lazy sales rep” problem by relieving the sales reps of the daily chore of manually logging emails to Salesforce. Once the emails were in Salesforce, the sales reps had a real reason to use the CRM – the CRM contained better data than Outlook.