Sales people have long since come to see CRM as a necessary evil: a system that must be constantly updated, takes up precious selling time and provides little or no value in return. However, most businesses are highly dependent on their CRM to help them drive business success, grow revenue, drive operational efficiency, improve the customer experience and make better decisions.
How can you convince the Sales team that CRM can help them be more productive, effective and is a critical foundation for success?
Here is our top 5 tips to encourage the adoption of CRM amongst Sales.
INVOLVE YOUR SALES TEAM EARLY, NURTURE ‘CHAMPIONS’ AND GET FEEDBACK
Ensure some of your sales reps are involved in the CRM project at the earliest stage possible. These employees will act as subject matter experts. By considering their ideas and opinions for the initial configuration of the CRM solution, they are more likely to embrace the tool and potential changes in working practice.
Identifying and cultivating ‘champions’ will facilitate the adoption of CRM amongst your Sales team. It is often apparent who the more influential members of the Sales team are and by harnessing their influence, you help to ensure the adoption of CRM. Appointing them as part of the project team or even setting MBO objectives should ensure their buy-in.
Take the time to seek feedback overtime. Invite your CRM vendor and/or implementation partner to one of your team meetings. Your Sales team will respect you for taking their opinions and ideas into consideration and will make 100% compliance much more likely.
MAKE IT FUN BUT DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE A LITTLE COERCION IF NEEDS BE
Sales people are by nature competitive, so why not put in place an incentive to reinforce adoption? A CRM solution makes it easy to measure the completeness of data on key accounts, or the cleanliness of orders submitted. Rewarding your ‘CRM Heroes’ with cases of wine or bonuses, can go a long way.
Once properly implemented, the on-going success (and return on investment) for any business application is determined by the quality of data entered into it. Nothing focuses the attention of your Sales team like the threat of sanctions for non-compliance. Paying reduced commission where the appropriate order information is not provided, or on deals that are not properly forecasted – this may seem heavy handed, but having invested in a CRM solution, doing this might just help to ensure you reap the business benefits you seek.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Keep the data entry portion of your CRM to a minimum. Get your Sales team to enter just enough data to satisfy your business needs and management reporting. The more confusing & timely the process, the less likely your sales team will want to play ball. Configure your CRM in a way to ensure minimum effort is required and room for errors are limited. Remember, you want your sales reps selling!
Define clear and simple processes that support your sales operations. Identify early how leads are to be entered, assigned and followed up, and ensure everyone is on the same wave length. Clearly define every stages of the sales cycle and automate some of the tasks that do not require human intervention. Simplicity and ease are key.
INVEST IN TRAINING
It should go without saying that if the sales team are not taught how to and the benefits of using CRM they are unlikely to use it, hence it is worth investing in training. Teach your Sales team how the CRM solution works, share best practices and most importantly give them ‘hints and tips’ to get the most out of the solution. Work closely with your CRM provider to ensure the training is optimal. Do regular refresher training to ensure that old habits don’t creep up again and monitor sales usage on an ongoing basis. Address any issues promptly and ensure knowledge is kept up-to-date, particularly if you are evolving the system overtime.
AND FINALLY… LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Implementing a CRM solution is a top down initiative. Many sales and business leaders pay lip service to the importance of CRM but continue to request spreadsheets from their colleagues and may never log into the solution themselves.
Senior managers should be seen using and benefiting from the CRM solution. Everything should be driven from CRM, so get into the habit of running your meetings and reviews from CRM. Walk the talk and adoption within the team will follow.