I’m so stupid. I allow myself to get sucked into discussions about CRM systems. This one has conspiracy theories worth of a Dan Brown novel.

Basically the arguments are sales people versus management. The sales people are using all the classic arguments—”it wastes my time and diverts me from selling activities,” “it doesn’t help me sell more,” “it’s management’s way of micromanaging me,” “all I do is spend endless hours doing reports, I’m supposed to sell!”

Managers are saying, “people have to use the system and keep everything updated,” “we need to know what’s going on,” “the sales people have information that’s vital to our organization, we need to capture it,” “they need to just do it—or else!”

All of this is terribly misguided and frankly a boring waste of time, but I get sucked into these mindless debates. CRM has been around for decades, one would think these discussions are a thing of the past.

So in this post, I’ll really focus on the sales people, so managers can stop reading here–in fact you probably should.

So sales people—–Get over it! Stop your whining, stop complaining, stop being stupid! We know managers often do terribly dumb and mindless things. But don’t let their misinformed approaches to CRM limit your ability to maximize your own personal productivity and effectiveness.

I can’t imagine any high performing sales person not using tools like CRM and exploiting them to the fullest–regardless of what management says.

Arguing against using these types of tools is like arguing against the use of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook(or the Google Docs/Gmail equivalent). It’s like stomping your feet, crossing your arms and saying, “You can’t make me use a mobile phone!”

None of us would think of not using these tools, yet our corporations also mandate us using them. First thing we look for when we start a job is a fully loaded PC, email access, and so forth. It would be a cold day in hell when management pry’s our mobile phones from our hands, we can’t live without them! If management didn’t give us those tools, we would find someplace else to work!

Everyone uses these tools to improve their personal productivity. We use them to get things done better, faster, easier.

CRM is just the same—even though management may be clueless about it. CRM helps us get things done better, faster, easier! Where else do you have the collected information about everything your customers have done with your company, the relationships of people in your customers to each other, all the data about what you can do to sell them more?

Where else can you easily track everything that’s happened with all your deals, prospecting, email and other campaigns? Where else can you easily remember all your “to-do’s,” the next steps on each of your deals, reminders to call people and follow up on things? Where else can you track what’s happening in your territory, progress in your deals, and your pipeline?

You know management is going to ask for endless, mind numbing reports. Stop spending hours working on those reports. Don’t let that stop you from selling! With the CRM system, all you have to do is push are button, call up a standard report, send it to your manager–that is if you are using the system.

You know management has bought the CRM system because of the fantastic capabilities it provides them.

But don’t let any of that stand in the way of your own personal effectiveness and performance! Regardless of what management says, makes the system a tool for you! Leverage it for your own personal productivity. Leverage it because it helps put some order and structure to your territory, pipeline, and life. Leverage it to help you sell more!

Fighting management, pushing back on their CRM mandates really is meaningless, it hurts you!

For the managers that have made it this far, realize CRM and the related tools are not about you. They are about helping your sales people be more productive, impactful, and effective. As you implement and manage these tools, focus on what it does for your people. Revel in their selfishness asking “What’s in it for me?” Show them what’s in it for them.

Do this well, you get all those great things you were hoping for yourself. You will know what’s going on, you will be able to identify performance gaps and help your people. You’ll be able to free yourself from the tedium of reporting to actually working with your people, helping them close more deals!

Please sales people, act in your own self interests! Use these tools to help you be better. Stop arguing, pouting, or being passive aggressive.—just do it for yourselves. Please sales managers—to get what you want, focus on your sales people, let them see what’s in it for them.

Maybe then, we can stop all these silly discussions and I can avoid getting sucked into yet one more of them.