Sales Managers – Get Your Sales Team to Adopt CRM

Posted by Cathy Boudreau on Mar 5, 2013 10:02:00 AM

Sales Guy Ready For FightAccording to a recent LinkedIn poll, 52% of sales managers say that sales reps aren’t using CRM like they want them to. Unfortunately, too many organizations still continue to struggle with getting their sales teams to adopt new processes, specifically CRM.

The path to CRM adoption involves selling CRM to sales teams. Even though some sales pros have seen the light, others continue to revert back to old, more comfortable processes, such as excel spreadsheets and calendars, to name a couple. In fact, only sixty-six percent of enterprise buyers have only around half of their teams using enterprise software, according to a SandHill.com/Neochange survey. Fewer than 10% have effective usage levels above 70%. According to our calculations, the accounting department is not happy.

On the other hand, most sales managers quickly see the importance and value of a CRM system. Yet, their sales team members tend to view the CRM system as a burden, a distraction, or even a way for the sales manager to micromanage their work. In reality, the true value of a CRM system only reaches its fullest potential when the entire sales team uses the CRM and everyone understands the ROI potential both personally and for the business.

Here are 5 strategies for sales managers looking to get full adoption of the CRM system within their sales department:

1. Lead by example. While this might sound too obvious, think about your current processes. Are you using the CRM just like the rest of the team? When you generate reports, are you using the CRM system or another program? Does your CEO have his/her own license, too? By using the CRM from the top-down, you’re showing your sales team (not just telling them) how the CRM enhances your daily workflow - or even better, how much time it saves you.

2. Stress organization. CRM systems have many automated capabilities, such as reminders for follow up communications. Since most sales pros do most of their work at the early part of the day, wouldn’t it be ideal to have your schedule of calls pop up first thing in the morning? CRM can do that. Unless the sales team knows how efficient the CRM makes their schedule, they will continue to work with old processes that are comfortable and safe.

3. Training with incentives. Use a formula that already works. There is no mystery behind motivating sales teams with incentivized programs. Apply these same tactics when rolling-out a CRM system and reward team members for CRM success. In addition, the sales manager could deploy more peer-to-peer incentives by offering one large “prize” once the entire team has adopted the CRM.

4. Keep it simple, stupid. There is nothing more annoying than being set back. You’ve lost time and energy. Especially, don’t set your sales team back with a new process. Make sure you’ve created a CRM system for your sales team that simplifies their workflow. Ensure easy integration of existing data into the new system, and make sure you’ve laid out the steps for the transition. Also, while customization is a key component, don’t assume you need to go “add-on crazy” in the beginning. If you take your time devising a plan for roll-out, your sales team won’t have an excuse to view the CRM as a burden.

5. Give feedback. Sales managers need to use the CRM tool to not only tell their sales teams what they're doing wrong, but also what they’re doing right. In addition, sales managers can gain insight to what might be opportunities for improvement. If you approach your sales team with the intent to use the CRM to help them be better sales professionals, adoption rates will increase.

Let’s not forget the Big Kahuna here - recurring sales. CRMs collect more insightful data (typically via marketing) which assists sales reps when calling on leads. Customizing touch points with clients or customers is a much more intimate way to connect with your revenue sources, paving the way for more successful sales opportunities.

Even still, there will always be sales reps that feel a CRM system is a way for executives to micromanage the sales process and pipeline. We need to change the perception from the bottom-up that CRM is an investment for the sales team to be more efficient and to keep the pipeline flowing. Sales pros are full of energy, motivation and dedication. Don’t let a CRM system damper it.

Topics: CRM Best Practices, CRM Adoption, Sales/Sales Strategy

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