The CRM Dillema: Visibility vs Productivity

Alex Reis
Published in
5 min readFeb 27, 2017


Many companies struggle with CRM adoption in the field. Managers want visibility, and sales reps complain about their obligations with the CRM hampering productivity. It is a well known problem:

  • Sales Managers, VPs of Sales and CEOs want visibility into their sales organization’s progess and individual rep performance. They want their metrics and the CRM is a great tool for that.
  • Account Executives — quota carrying sales reps that spend most of their day outside the office — don’t find filling in the CRM the best use of their time, and would rather spend that time selling.

So, management goes on to spend great wads of cash in a CRM implementation, such as Salesforce, and customizes it to tailor their preferences and needs.

Sales reps are not involved at all in the decision to buy a CRM, and often very little in the implementation of them — rather an internal “CRM Admin” is trained to lay down the gospel on them.

That leaves reps with the feeling CRM is management’s “thing” to control them, and makes them naturally resistant to adopting it as part of their day-to-day workflow. Now management has a CRM adoption problem.

The problem is worse for Account Executives (AEs)

While everyone on the sales team can suffer from a top-down push for CRM usage, AEs are the ones who suffer most. There are tools for everything in Salesforce land to increase productivity for everybody else:

Sales Development Reprentatives (SDRs)— the people cold calling and cold emailing leads — can use PBX/VoIP integrations that let you call prospects and integrations to let you use Salesforce right inside of your email client.

Marketing Response Reps (MRRs) — the people following-up to sign ups on a website, webinar, trade show, etc — have tools like HubSpot and Salesloft to help them automate their emailing, and prioritize leads.

Account Executives though, get the stick. They have to log into the CRM and do the dirty work themselves, after a long day on the road. Let’s examine how their week looks like.

A week in the life of an Account Executive

  • Monday: Go to the office. Follow-up on emails with accounts he’s working on, research on the clients he’s meeting this week, team update. Leave for customer visit in the afternoon after a 2 hour drive. Get home at 6PM, spend 0.5 hour logging meeting notes and follow-up actions into Salesforce.
  • Tuesday: 3 customer visits, 1 hour apart by car. Get home at 7PM, spend 1.5 hour logging meeting notes and follow-up actions into Salesforce.
  • Wednesday: 2 customer visits, 2.5h drive in between them. Call other accounts from the car and from home office. Spend 1 hour logging meeting notes and follow-up actions into Salesforce
  • Thursday: 3 customer visits, 1 hour apart by car. Get home at 7PM, spend 1.5 hour logging meeting notes and follow-up actions into Salesforce. Spend another hour creating a proposal for a client.
  • Friday: Customer visit in the morning, with a 1 hour drive. Go to the office in the afternoon, spend 1 hour updating Salesforce with meeting notes, and other events that happened during the week. Catch up with the rest of the team, and have a drink. Get home by 8pm.

Total time “wasted” filling in the CRM: 5.5h/week, 22h/month

Driving = downtime?

The best way AEs can optimize their time while driving from one appointment to the next, is by using the phone. As long as they have a hands-free kit in their car, they are free to contact colleagues and other customers to follow-up and keep in touch.

Our friendly AE from the example above just spent 10.5h driving this week. He probably didn’t manage to fill all that time with productive things. Hopefully he listened to an audiobook or a podcast to improve his skills.

What if he could have used that time to fill-in the CRM? But there’s no way he can use it while driving you say — CRMs are usually web or mobile applications.


Meet, the AE’s best friend on the road. Elise is an AI that talks to AEs on the phone, and fills in the CRM for them. With, our friendly AE could have spent less time in the evening working and more time with his family, because he did all the administration work from the car, effortlessly.

His manager is also happy. Due to him saving 22 hours of work this month, the AE was able to visit 1 more customer per week and closed an extra deal, bringing in extra revenue.

Elise just saved the company about $990 per month, assuming the AE earns $45/hour on-target.


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