Why door-to-door sales teams struggle with CRM

Many door-to-door sales teams face similar CRM challenges. Here's how next-generation sales platforms can help solve them.

By Rachel Serpa

Published February 2, 2017
Last updated September 1, 2020

Every industry has its own unique sales challenges - you could never sell cupcakes the same way you sell laptops. But while door-to-door sales teams span industries from solar to security, there is a core set of challenges that they face as a group on a day-to-day basis.

Unfortunately, the nature of these challenges is magnified by the limitations of the one tool that’s supposed to be every sales rep’s best friend: CRM. Let’s examine these challenges on a deeper level and explore how next-generation sales platforms can effectively improve door-to-door sales teams’ productivity and performance.

The dangers of being desk-bound

Unlike even the busiest of outside sales reps, door-to-door salespeople have only a few moments in between knocks to capture information about their prospect interactions. Without the ability to quickly and easily collect key data points like visit outcomes and prospect preferences, this information can easily be lost forever.

Unfortunately, legacy CRMs are seriously lacking in mobile functionality, forcing door-to-door reps to return to their desks at the end of a long day and try to recall details from each of the hundreds of homes they visited. Obviously, this is an unrealistic expectation for managers to have, and an unlikely task that reps will complete.

So rather than being slaves to their CRMs, door-to-door reps often turn to spreadsheets, pen and paper and even mental notes in attempt to manage their leads. While one can certainly appreciate their efforts, not only does this level of disorganization hurt prospect and customer relationships, but it also makes it impossible for leaders to manage and improve activities, communications and processes.

The true meaning of mobile first

Next-generation CRMs and sales platforms were built with field sales teams in mind and provide clients with native, fully functional mobile applications at no extra cost. Not only do these apps enable door-to-door reps to do everything they can do from their desktops on their tablets or smartphones, but they do so in a way that makes it easy for them to enter and access information in mere seconds. This means less tables and lists and more buttons, charts and automated data and communication capture.

Some platforms even offer mobile-specific functionality designed to make capturing door-to-door outcomes a snap. Take, for example, Sell's geolocation tools, which enables mobile reps to view and track the status of their most recent lead visit, like “not interested” or “come back later,” on a mobile map.

Sell geolocation features

Consistently capturing this type of information gives managers greater visibility into their teams’ pipeline and activities, providing opportunities for coaching and performance optimization. Consider the below activity reports. The first shows the number of completed emails, calls, visits, appointments and more by rep and team. The second digs deeper into the outcomes of one of these activities: email.

Activity Overview report
Email outcomes report

With only these two reports and just by knowing how many activities reps are completing and the success of their endeavors, managers can:

  • Determine the ideal number of activities needed to hit quota
  • Provide constructive and detailed coaching
  • Spot opportunities for peer-to-peer coaching
  • Uncover bottlenecks in sales processes

Door-to-door success story: Blue Raven Solar

Blue Raven Solar specializes in providing affordable clean energy solutions to residential customers. Expected to double in size in just a few short months with no sales platform in place, Blue Raven Solar needed a solution that would eliminate the ineffective spreadsheets and project management software it was currently using to manage its sales process. After evaluating a handful of legacy CRM providers including Salesforce and SugarCRM, Blue Raven made the decision to go with a next-generation, all-in-one sales platform.

This platform provides Blue Raven’s field reps with the ability to easily and immediately log door-to-door outcomes, even without Internet access. By capturing so much data in the field and throughout the sales process in a single platform, Blue Raven executives can visualize how many doors their reps can knock on per day, which reps perform better in specific neighborhoods, what times of day have the greatest success rates and much more.

For a more detailed breakdown of Blue Raven’s success story, go here.

Opportunity’s knocking

If you’re a door-to-door sales leader whose team is struggling to manage and optimize its sales on the go, it may be time to start searching for a more modern sales solution. Download our free CRM Buyer’s Kit for insight and advice on how to effectively choose your next sales platform.

This post originally ran on the Base blog. Please visit if you’d like to learn more about Zendesk Sell.