As the CEO of a CRM company, I often get asked the question why CRM systems in some companies don’t get used by the salesforce. Companies invest thousands of dollars in their CRM system and often find the adoption rate is not what they expected.
Here are the top ten quotes I hear why the CRM system did not get the adoption that was initially expected:
1. “All of this time I spend typing could be spent selling!”
2. “My company now has access to all of the customer relationships I built … which I feel I own. The company could fire me tomorrow and keep all of the contacts and relationships I’ve built!”
3. “There is little to no added benefit to me, with lots of value to big brother!”
4. “I’m on the road all day selling … and then am expected to update the CRM when I get home or back to the office after a long day!”
5. “My boss never looks at it anyways, so why should I bother?”
6. “It’s too inflexible and doesn’t take into account ‘the real world’ of selling!”
7. “I’ve been the top salesperson for the past 10 years without it!”
8. “The last five we tried failed, why will this one be different?”
9. “This spreadsheet works just fine!”
10. “It provides too much visibility & accountability into what I’m really doing, and I like it better when I can play my hand close to the vest until the end of the month/quarter!”
To address these top 10 “adoption excuses,” here are the seven best practices I’ve learned over the years to maximize adoption and usage.
Make it a productivity carrot.
The CRM needs to be positioned as a tool that will help the sales organization sell more goods and services so they earn larger commissions. Sounds simple. I see many management teams however, using their CRM as simply a reporting stick for their sale teams.
Tools such as presentation templates, proposal documents, personal reporting tools, task lists, Outlook integration and sales process checklists will improve the efficiency and productivity of the sales team. Very quickly, you need to demonstrate to the sales team WIFM (“what’s in it for me”).
Use it to manage your organization.
If you’re the sales VP, run your meetings and reviews from the CRM, including forecast meetings, pipeline reviews and exception reporting. Establish dashboards which you share with your sales leaders to show them you personally are leveraging and using the system. Also ensure senior management is using and benefiting from the system. Bottom-line, you should lead by example.
Get the data right.
A CRM works only if the underlying data is correct. You need to have best practices to make sure data is consistent, clean and maintained. Establish drop down fields where appropriate to ensure data integrity. Each person who using the CRM must take personal ownership of the integrity of the data.
Train the team.
It should go without saying, if the sales staff is not trained on how to benefit from using the CRM, it will not get used. Many CRM vendors like CampaignerCRM have comprehensive end-user training sessions that can be leveraged so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
The training should reinforce the sales process, organizational terminology, custom fields and other tools to make it contextually relevant. A role-based training may make sense depending on the size of the organization. Ideally the training is done as close as possible to the go-live date for the CRM. Many vendors will customize this training for your organization.
Sounds simple, but many companies do not have proper training plans to support the rollout of the system.
Integrate Your Sales Tools
Many CRM’s include libraries to maintain customer engagement letters, product presentations, price lists, catalogs, contracts, etc. Make sure the CRM is populated with the current version of all the documents and collateral at launch.
Flow All New Leads to the CRM
The lifeblood of any sales organization is new leads. Make the CRM the single source of all new leads for the sales team.
Spread the word.
Here’s several ways to reinforce adoption. When appropriate distribute “success stories” of those that have used the CRM effectively to close business. You may also want to consider contests and spiffs to reinforce adoption. I’d suggest every job description and performance appraisal within the sales team should include reference to using the CRM.
The ultimate adoption strategy for any CRM is the sales team realizing higher bookings and commissions from using the system. The seven best practices above will help the sales team realize the CRM is a tool that can truly help increase customer loyalty and help them sell more, which is the ultimate way to deal with the top 10 excuses!