7 bad CRM habits that wreck your forecast

Quality data in your CRM means you can forecast correctly, hit your Sales targets, and improve your Sales process. It’s also required for Marketing to prove lead conversion and contribution to revenue.

But you probably rolled your eyes already. You’re thinking of that stellar sales rep — the rep who can close a new deal at the drop of a hat, but goes rogue when it comes to the CRM. When you ask that rep to log activities, they ask if they should close business or do data entry.

But how do you tell this rep apart from a bad one? How do you make the good ones great? It depends what their bad CRM habits are trying to hide.

The last-minute rep

We all know this one. This rep has a great close rate. They keep deal information logged somewhere, and they only add opportunities to the CRM when the deal is a sure bet.

How it hurts you
You lose the ability to run a weighted forecast, because you don’t know what’s in the pipeline. You lose the ability to measure close rates, since not every opportunity is accounted for. You lose the ability to measure deal velocity and stage velocity, since you aren’t capturing the full length of a sales cycle.

How to identify it
Look for an exceptionally high close rate and surprise wins. Does this rep work fewer open opportunities than other reps, or are they just really good?

Reps may do this as part of comp negotiation to get a lower target they can knock out of the park.

How to fix it
Ask your reps to log all of their opportunities in the CRM. If they’re truly great, get them an EA.

The “I forgot about the CRM” rep

This rep moves an Opportunity from Pre-Qualification straight to Closed Won. Oh hey, that new Opportunity started in Negotiation!

How it hurts you
This rep creates the same challenges as the last-minute rep. Plus, if you’re only relying on Salesforce for reporting you’ll also lose the ability to measure stage-to-stage conversion rates.

How to identify it
Look for deals that abruptly move down the funnel or start in a late stage.

How to fix it
In some cases a rep will close a deal on a call. In most cases, your Opportunity stages may be too complex or confusing. You may want to create gates in your process for moving deals through your funnel:

  • What qualifies opportunities to move from Meeting Completed to Business Case?
  • Ask you reps to define your existing Opportunity stages. Likely they will each have different opinions.

The rep who duplicates Contacts

This rep isn’t using the data available to them: they create a new Contact when an existing Lead already exists.

How it hurts you
You’ll lose lead activity history, lead source, and campaign data for marketing attribution.

How to identify it
Everything looks like a direct traffic or Sales source lead. Look for Contacts that have very little activity history.

How to fix it
Train your team on how to search for Leads and Contacts. Show your reps that this information helps Marketing give them qualified leads (otherwise they’ll be prospecting solo).

You’ll need an automated service to clean this up—typos happen.

The rep who doesn’t add Contacts

This is related to the previous issue: there are Leads and Contacts floating in email or the CRM, but not added to the Opportunity.

How it hurts you
Your Marketing team won’t know which contact roles are involved in your deal cycle, so they won’t be creating content that helps you move your deals forward. Sales Management won’t be able to forecast the quality of an Opportunity with a large buying team.

How to identify it
Create a benchmark for your deals: do you have multiple deal types? For each deal type, what do the buying teams look like? Which stage do those contacts get involved in? Does the rep have those contacts?

How to fix it
With buying teams, create gates for moving opportunities forward in the funnel. Have Sales Management review opportunities with their reps.

Using an automated service for email and call logging can help streamline this process.

The rep who logs nothing

This rep could be great at winning business, but terrible at using the CRM. Try as you might, they push back on logging data.

How it hurts you
You have no ability to forecast, coach, analyze your Sales process, or attribute marketing efforts to revenue growth.

How to identify it
This rep has very few to no activities on their opportunities.

How to fix it

  • If the rep is really good and actually too busy closing deals, get them a Sales EA to transcribe their notes.
  • If the rep has performance similar to other team members, they may need technical training depending on their level of digital proficiency, or coaching for how to use the system. Hold them accountable to goals.
  • If the rep has lower performance to other team members, you should have a serious conversation about performance and accountability.
  • People forget stuff, so automate as much of the process as you can with tools like email logging or dialers built into your CRM

The rep that logs data on the Account… or the Contact… or the Opportunity

This rep logs data in different locations in the CRM. This is probably a team-wide problem.

How it hurts you
Tools like Salesforce can only report on activity from a single object, like Opportunities. This means you’ll lose the ability to measure rep activity and accurately use predictive forecasting tools, since they rely on using the Opportunity object.

How to identify it
Opportunities look like they’ve been stagnant for weeks or months (using “last touchpoint), but when you drill into the Account or Contact you see a flurry of activity.

How to fix it
Create a process for where activities are logged. Get your team bought into why they are there and hold your team accountable with regular reporting and coaching.

The rep that forgets about deals

This rep looks great on the surface — until you discover that they have too many opportunities, they’re overwhelmed, and they haven’t interacted with some in 30–60 days.

How it hurts you
You will have deals die on the vine because the prospect is neglected.

How to identify it
Based on your deal length, look for Opportunities where the last touchpoint was more than X days ago.

How to fix it

Every week, Sales Management should look at Opportunities with no touchpoints more than X days ago. Ask each rep:

  • Should this deal still be open or marked abandoned?
  • Why haven’t we re-engaged with them?
  • What is the next step for this deal?

If the rep has several of these you can infer that they are overwhelmed. At that point it may make sense to offload deals to another Sales rep.