Projected by Gartner to be a $37 billion market, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms help many businesses — but often turn out to be an inefficient and expensive sales killer.

If your company has invested millions of dollars in a big-name CRM but sales still stagnate, you’ve got to wonder why.

The simple truth is that most CRM platforms aren’t designed to help the end users who work with them day in and day out: your sales reps. Your sales reps waste valuable time doing manual data entry and navigating a confusing flow. Many times, sales reps just bypass the CRM altogether or only use the parts that work best.

When you have poor implementation of your CRM, you have an insufficient picture of how your company is selling your product. The data you are seeing is incomplete and possibly misleading.

A Merkle survey of high-level senior executives shows that high-growth organizations are 50 percent more likely to see their CRM as a critical way of life. However, Merkle also found that CRM failure rates are as high as 63 percent. Additionally, more than half of CRM initiatives fail because of a lack of clear customer insight. Lack of management bandwidth, executive sponsorship and priority are also key causes for concern.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest reasons why the data generated by your CRM may be doing more harm than good.

Sales Reps Hate Your CRM

For many companies, the CRM is a major investment. Often, it will work for the C-level execs, but the people on the front line find it clunky, difficult to use and a waste of time.

One of the top complaints among sales reps is that the CRM isn’t intuitive. A report by CSO Insights notes that less than 40 percent of CRM implementations have full-scale end-user utilization.

The most frustrating part about this is that most companies don’t realize this downfall until they’ve already paid for the service and given their team a chance to acclimate to the new technology. That means millions of dollars are wasted each year on technology that reps hate to use.

Among the things sales reps want to see in a CRM: an intuitive user experience, easy data entry, call logging, the ability to store call scripts and take notes easily, notifications of upcoming tasks and customizable data feeds.

If your CRM fails on one or more of these features, it could be the reason why the technology is the bane of your team.

When even one sales rep bypasses the CRM, your sales data becomes incomplete. With insufficient and incomplete data, your executives could make poor decisions because the data doesn’t reflect what’s really happening with the company. If you have a percentage of your sales team not using your CRM, now is the time to figure out why.

You’re Still Doing Manual Data Entry

After one of your best salespeople nails a huge sale, the last thing they want to do is get bogged down with data entry.

If you’re an executive, this should be a priority for you, too. Research shows that the average employee using Salesforce spends roughly 4 hours per week doing data entry. That’s 10 percent of the workweek doing something the CRM should either make seamless or handle automatically. Wouldn’t you rather have sales reps working on clients, not software, for those 4 hours?

With data entry being a tedious task, it’s not a shocker that only 40 percent of sales updates are entered into a CRM.

When HubSpot polled sales reps about the biggest challenges to using their company’s CRM, the No. 1 complaint was manual data entry. HubSpot found that time spent doing manual data entry corresponded negatively with user satisfaction.

Time-consuming, manual data entry by your sales reps also makes your data ripe for mistakes. It’s too easy for even the most fastidious individual to misplace a decimal or have an unfortunate typo when they’re going for speed.

Go ahead and ask your sales reps how they feel about the big-box CRM you invested in. You might be surprised to find that data entry is a major pain point among your team.

Your CRM Is a Fragmented Mess

Broken railway

By going with a popular CRM like Salesforce, companies often assume that their well-established vendor has all of the features and functionality in place to give them everything they need. What they don’t realize is that, rather than adding functionalities like email tracking and call dialing, many CRM providers require integrations with point solutions to complete their core platforms.

What seems like a great idea can quickly become an unruly behemoth. For example, with Salesforce, you will also need to invest in Yesware for email tracking, InsideSales for power dialing, Wave for reporting – the list goes on.

When you have such a fractured ecosystem of sales tools, it’s easy for sales reps to avoid the CRM and go with what works best for them, rather than bounce back and forth between screens and systems to complete simple tasks. Either way, you run the risk of data getting lost or siloed across various platforms.

Not to mention, it can be a herculean task getting all of these separate tools to work in sync. If you decide to upgrade to a newer version, you could be going through the initial headaches once more. Too many CRMs boast about powerful features that end up being nothing but confusing appendices.

A Lack of Mobility

One of the most glaring omissions for many CRMs is the ability to access via mobile. With consumers now accustomed to having information at their fingertips anytime, anywhere, this is a prohibitive move for agile businesses. Mobile access should be a natural and included feature, not a premium add-on.

Studies have shown that a mobile CRM is a must for success. Research by Innoppl Technologies shows that companies without a mobile CRM miss sales goals 78 percent of the time. Conversely, 65 percent of sales reps working with a mobile CRM say they’ve hit their quotas.

Knowing that, companies should invest in a CRM that is native on mobile, not one that treats agility like a luxury.

Odds are, your sales team will go on the road to close deals and meet with potential clients. If your CRM does not support mobile, you could be wasting time and money, creating more hassle for your sales reps. Closing a deal, then having to wait until the sales rep is back in front of her desktop to process it, is inefficient and costly.

Additionally, if your CRM isn’t mobile, that means the treasure trove of data you have stays locked on a server. Your sales reps need access to that data when they’re knocking on doors or en-route to that on-site.

Rethinking Your CRM Strategy

Many CRMs today are built more for C-level executives and not for the people who interact with the software on a daily basis. With tedious data entry and a confusing workflow, these programs can end up doing more harm than good, if implemented improperly.

An intuitive CRM can take your business to new heights, but companies often don’t consider the end user — their valuable sales reps — when investing in CRM technology. When sales reps are at the bottom of the decision-making chain, data and the entire company suffers.

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