CRM failure is most often the result of poor user adoption. Sally Smith, the top sales person at Company A, keeps all her contacts in her email contact system. She finds it easier, has always done it, and would rather spend time selling than the monotonous task of entering all these details in a CRM. She doesn’t see the value, and the company doesn’t call her on it because whatever it is she is doing works. Bob Blueman, the longest standing sales rep, also at Company A, has a bit more sophisticated process of using a spreadsheet with complex formulas. He has details in there that go back over 15 years. He is a solid performer and knows the business better than anyone. Again, the company doesn’t call him on it. The end result – CRM failure.
The only way to ensure CRM adoption success is to make it part of the company culture. Here are 3 tips to weave the CRM into your corporate fabric:
Step 1: Work together
Don’t implement your CRM in a silo. Make an effort to understand the different priorities within your organization. Include the users and senior management in the design and deployment of your CRM. Hold a discovery session that includes both parties, make sure they are all on the same page, and that everyone’s needs are heard. Find out what everyone’s goals are for the CRM, and see if you can roll them up into an overarching set of goals that meet the strategic business objectives, and agree on these as a team. Gather all the information from this discovery session, create a go-forward-plan, and share with the team.
Implementing a new CRM will undoubtedly disrupt and change the staff’s routine. If management is prepared to support and assist the staff through the growing pains, implementation will run smoother. And, if the users feel they contributed to the process they will embrace this change more readily.
Step 2: Load up on value
Whatever system the user had prior to the CRM most likely ‘worked’ for them. It probably wasn’t the most efficient process, but they knew it and it worked. So why should they change to a new system that will take time to learn and away from selling? Your staff needs to see the value in switching to a CRM. Show them it’s a productivity enhancer and not a time sinker. It has be useful, meaningful, and easy – it has to be loaded with value.
Give them back more time than you are taking. Anything your CRM can do to save on non-selling time the better. If your reps use outside research tools, such as LinkedIn, GoogleNews, Jigsaw, etc. get those tools into your CRM and make sure you are saving them time, keystrokes, energy, and effort.
Give your reps information they can’t get anywhere else. Deals won/lost to the same competitor, companies of similar size/vertical, or location and annual revenue. If you build in the ‘help me sell’ intelligence into the system, reps will immediately see the value.
Step 3: Keep the excitement alive
Don’t let the CRM project lose its momentum after the initial strategy session. Keep staff informed of progress, ask for feedback regularly, and promote your initiative with flare. Market your CRM progress on an on-going basis to your internal team. Create an incentive program to keep teams involved, give your project a fun code-name, plan a launch party, give out awards to the ‘CRM Best Practitioner’, or give out prizes once milestones are reached like # of opportunities created. Hold “CRM Day’s”, when everyone will focus on updates. Whatever it is you chose to do, don’t let your CRM project be forgotten.
CRM solutions, by themselves, don’t add a single dollar to your bottom line. Its a properly implemented, widely adopted CRM that will yield results for your business.