It seems that just about every sales organization has implemented a CRM software to help their sales team become more productive and more efficient. But according to Merkle Group, Inc, 63% of CRM implementations fail. They don’t fail because it’s bad software. No, it’s usually because the sales team simply doesn’t use the software.
Salespeople can be a finicky bunch—especially experienced, successful ones. They’ve spent years refining their sales approach, and they don’t want to rock the boat. The common refrain that can be heard from conference rooms across the country is, "If it ain’t broke, why fix it?" Maybe their process "ain’t broke," but it’s rare to find a sales process that can’t be improved or enhanced in some way. Often that’s what a CRM offers—the ability to take your sales process to the next level. The challenge then becomes getting the sales team to actually use the CRM on a consistent basis. Here are a few ideas.
- Use it or lose it. Using the CRM as the exclusive means to distribute new leads to salespeople means that only those who are actively using the tools will receive new leads to work.
- Eliminate duplication. Make sure the CRM is integrated into other software tools the sales team is required to use, so data entry isn’t duplicated.
- Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm the sales team with too many new features/functions at once. Prioritize the functionality you desire and scale the introduction of new features over time.
- Mobile-friendly. More and more salespeople are on the go. They’re no longer tied to a desk. Give them the ability to update the CRM from wherever their sales activity takes them.
- Develop sales processes. Integrate the functionality of the CRM into their day-to-day activities and sales processes.
- Training. Don’t just throw the CRM at them and hope they’ll figure it out. Offer detailed training and refresh/review opportunities.
- Give them a voice. Let the sales team participate in the CRM vendor selection process. Listen to their needs and priorities.
- One-stop resource. Make the CRM a central repository for all the tools and resources they use every day (ROI calculators, forecasts, price sheets, marketing collateral, etc.).
- Set a good example. Executives must model the behavior they want to see. If the VP of Sales isn’t actively using the system, then you can’t expect anything different from the rest of the team.
- Get top performers on board. Success breeds success. People will observe what the most successful salespeople are doing and copy those behaviors.
- Create personal goals. Include better utilization of the CRM into individual coaching sessions and personal improvement plans.
- Offer incentives. Recognize power users with a day off, free lunch or other perk.
Like any other business software application, a CRM is only as good as the data that is being input. Getting the sales team to adopt the system and corresponding processes will help ensure you realize the desired productivity and efficiency improvements.