AutoPylot Technologies was founded a little over a year ago with a clear mission – to solve a common frustration sales leaders and sales reps have with their CRM – capturing timely and accurate data about sales engagements.
In a startup, it’s important to identify the ICP (ideal customer profile) and confirm product-market fit while testing the unique value proposition.
As we reflect on the year that was, here’s a quick look back and what we know now.
Sales teams are frustrated with their CRM
I quote a stat from the Sales Management Association that found about 1/3 of organizations say their ‘CRM fails to meet expectations’. There are a myriad of reasons for this failure, which circle around complexity, time, commitment, and overall value to management and particularly users.
From a product market fit – AutoPylot is tight. We’re solving a real problem.
But reflecting on the root cause of this frustration, I believe it’s because the CRM is the logical fountainhead of customer-centric knowledge in a company. It’s the first point of entry for the voice of the customer which ultimately flows into every nook and cranny of an organization.
And the burden of putting data into this all-knowing system fall squarely, and heavily, on sales reps.
Recent research AutoPylot conducted with the SMA found that a sales rep averages 5.9 hours per week of data entry and reporting – 15% of their time, or nearly 3 full days a month.
User (sales rep) acceptance
CRM software and systems are a B2B sale. Common to B2B sales is a focus on process, efficiency, workflow, reporting, etc. And at the very end of the priority list: value for the person who will be using the system. In the case of the CRM system, the value is predicated on the acceptance and usage by sales reps – the direct interface between the company and the CRM.
It’s at this point, between a sales call / meeting / video and the reporting / data entry of that activity, that the rubber hits the road.
Too often, sales reps are ‘encouraged’ or in many cases ‘required’ to regurgitate the contents of the engagement into the CRM. A 30-minute phone call, which must include 15 more minutes to rehash and summarize the same call again, into the CRM is viewed as time ‘not selling.’
We hear it all the time – a variation of “I didn’t sign up for all this data entry.”
Another reflection I take from this is ‘what’s in it for me?’ If every minute spent entering data into the CRM returned 2 minutes of productivity or quote retirement – I guarantee CRM usage would go through the roof. But it doesn’t.
So AutoPylot’s decision to focus heavily on sales rep value is crucial. We designed the app specifically to make sales reps more efficient – to give them a reason to use the app that wasn’t just “because your manager said so.”
My third reflection on the AutoPylot product and market journey is that automation is the lynchpin of addressing CRM frustration.
With the AutoPylot app, sales reps don’t change their behavior. They make calls and send texts as if using their personal mobile phone – but the AutoPylot magic logs each of these activities directly into the CRM and links them with the appropriate opportunities.
Plus we have time-saving features like AutoNote which prompts the sales rep to dictate (they can type if they want, but why?) a note after each call, enabling them to recount the call for management in seconds.
Behind the scenes, and without the sales rep having to change behavior (i.e., automatically), AutoPylot captures conversations. It captures text conversations, it can record audio conversations, it can capture call transcripts.
As an organization, you’re capturing 10x the customer data, at 1/3 the effort.
More importantly, the voice of the customer has never been so clear. In the past, the customer’s voice was muffled through well-intentioned, but spotty sales reporting. Now the entire organization can get access to word-for-word details. And with today’s increasingly powerful AI engines – it’s never been easier to sort, filter, and find the customer needles in the conversational haystack.
It’s been a fascinating whirlwind of a year at AutoPylot. But if this past year has shown me one thing, it’s that we will solve the sales team’s biggest frustration with their CRM.