Many sales professionals still view CRM systems (short for Customer Relationship Management) as an administrative chore or simply as a newer means to the same end. This negative view is cultivated in the minds of many sales professionals often due to poor implementation and a lack of value received, training, and dedicated management. Some salespeople choose to avoid using CRMs entirely while others only use it partially. The end result, of course, is that many sales professionals perceive little value from it. If some of this sounds familiar, here are some guidelines to boost the adoption rates within your sales organization:
1. Embrace the Basics
Every successful journey begins with a single step. Because CRMs can deliver broad value and many providers pitch their system as a fully comprehensive solution, it is tempting to roll-out all bells and whistles of your CRM at once. But a cluttered user interface with too many features can overwhelm the most computer-savvy users on your team.
Luckily, most CRMs available on the market today are customizable. Scale back the input fields to the ones which are essential in tracking your KPIs. Gradually roll-out additional fields and elements once you see an uptick in adoption rates and your staff becomes more comfortable accessing the CRM through their desktops and mobile devices. Less is more.
2. Involve Your Staff
When individuals and teams feel ownership in an organization-wide initiative, they build a vested interest in its success. It’s important to involve your team in the process of planning and implementing changes to your CRM.
Listen to your staff what they like and dislike about your CRM and take their suggestions into consideration when it comes time to implement a solution. The size of your company will also determine how those involved communicate with each other. You may have regular on-site meetings, or you may rely on internal newsletters or an intranet site to keep everyone informed of upcoming changes.
Also consider assembling a team of early adopters to test proposed changes in a pilot program before rolling-out changes company-wide. This enables you to communicate success stories and the value received to the rest of your staff.
3. Choose CRM Ambassadors
Ambassadors have two primary roles: they help to sell the system's benefits to their peers, and they create and enforce the guidelines and routines everyone should follow. This not only ensures data quality, but it enables the ambassadors to directly link these new routines and admin tasks to the benefits everyone will gain from performing their tasks accurately and on time.
Ambassadors become the "go-to guys and gals" for questions, suggestions, training, problem-solving, and success stories. Ambassadors can help keep everyone involved and in step.
4. Provide Effective Training and a Support Infrastructure
Basic training needs should be linked directly to delivering each CRM user's benefits. There may well be a general overview training session, but granular training should be directly relevant to each user function. For example, a business development rep's training on how best to maintain lead data will differ from a key account manager's training on how best to support a long-standing major account.
Support the initial training with user guides so it reinforces what they learn both in terms of the data that needs to be captured, actions to be taken, and the usable results of having that data.
5. Make it Indispensable
CRMs are only valuable when the data is accurate, appropriate, and maintained throughout the lifespan of the account. Ambassadors and leadership should emphasize that the CRM is not only essential to further business success, but that it is the only data management system that may be used.
An effective CRM delivers massive benefits to a business and to each function within it. Having basic contact, customer account, and support information available in one location makes it continuously usable. Each function - marketing, sales, operations, sales support, and customer support, etc. - makes its own use of the common data. The net result is more sales more easily, and a greater overall ROI.