Restaurantology Blog

Great sales reps often aren’t cut out for data entry

May 6, 2022 | Trends and Advice | by Grant Gadoci

Having confidence in your CRM data, which should be powering just about every aspect of your business, is not always easy. But where do we point the “ownership finger” when it comes time to assess who’s responsible for minimizing bad data?

And where does the brunt of the data-cleaning burden often fall? Precisely where it always does, and precisely where it shouldn’t.

Sales reps don’t have data entry in their DNA

In my experience, the best, highest performing sales reps often have key behaviors that make them excel in an Account Executive role:

  1. They’re outgoing, curious, and have no shortage of initiative
  2. They’re often impatient, which can help drive stagnant deals forward
  3. They’re people-orientated, natural networkers, and have a gift for persuasive gab

Thankfully, many of these personality traits can be sussed out during the interview process. Do they follow up quickly? Do they have a lot of questions? Are they comfortable with improvised, difficult, or technical conversations? Odds are they’re a good potential fit for the business.

The problem, for me, arises once a rep is both onboarded and selling. These sales-oriented characteristics make them great at closing business, sure, but in my experience it makes most — if not all — of them terrible with modern-age paperwork. It’s not their fault, though. Their strengths are quite literally diametrically opposed to what it takes to keep up with CRM data. In short, they lack the patience, detail- and process-orientation, and sometimes simply the motivation (most data entry != new commission) required to solve your CRM’s bad data problem.

HubSpot reported that the typical AE spends 2.7 years on the job and takes 4.7 months to ramp. Taking this into consideration, it’s only to your benefit to accelerate the onboarding process, get your sales team the information they need to be successful, and make it as easy as possible for them to sell.

Hypothesizing a solution

First off, to be clear, we’re not saying that sales reps share no responsibility when it comes to updating the CRM. Adding emails, updating opportunities, and the like are all things that AEs should own both now and in the future. We are saying, however, that updating fields or data points that inherently change over time should be minimized as much as humanly or technologically possible.

The million dollar question then becomes:

What is your organization doing to align your CRM with the hundreds of thousands of publicly available data points needed to drive your business forward, allowing your sales reps to focus on selling and all but eliminating basic data entry?

Removing the obstacles

On any given day, an AE faces these common obstacles when prospecting:

  1. Solution is not a priority at this time
  2. Don’t have the right contact information
  3. Not in the prospect’s budget

That’s not even considering how hard-hit the restaurant industry has been the past few years with permanent closures, outstanding loans, and unpredictable revenue. Depending on your product, your team could already be facing an uphill selling battle.

Administrative data entry, while essential, is typically the first thing that falls off the priority list as long as deals are being closed. Any upper management team would rather spend their time reporting on the growing pipeline and less time reminding sales reps to update point-of-sale data for each of their contacts. But what happens when your star sales rep eventually leaves? Your CRM system becomes as reliable as looking at the yellow pages for restaurant insights, leaving whoever replaces that seat to confirm or update each field and spend the first few months in a sales role – not selling. 

The critical prospecting tools your AEs need: an easy way to capture contacts, a process to validate and keep the restaurant data up-to-date, and a method to automate engagement workflows. As long as they know who they are targeting, why, and how, they can jump in at the most opportune time and deliver on the results you’re looking for.

Technologies like Clearbit and ChiliPiper automate the mundane tasks of qualifying and scheduling prospects early on in the selling process. Layer on complimentary solutions like Restaurantology‘s restaurant insights to enrich each account profile as soon as it enters your CRM. Your team can focus on personalizing the sales experience and your CRM data won’t stay static, for them or the next hire.

With today’s technology there’s no shortage of information available, but when it comes time to connect the dots and put data into action, often people don’t know what to do. Leverage automation tools that can capture and make sense of the details for you so you can accelerate new hire onboarding and give your team the ability to sell better, faster.