As a smart business owner you’ve no doubt realised the need for better control of your business, so you’ve come to the decision to invest in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. While the decision is definitely the right one for your business, you’re seriously concerned that the sales team won’t use it – any new software has it’s teething phase, so how do you manage this transition in a smoother fashion?
When you decided to invest in a CRM software the benefits of using the system were patently obvious to you as the owner. It enabled you to get a 360 degree view of your business and vastly improved the customer experience as well as the efficiency of your sales staff. This is of course exactly what any business owner would want. However, what really counts is what light the sales team see the CRM in. No matter how hard you push or cajole the sales team, they won’t dive in and immerse themselves in the system unless you implement the right steps beforehand.
How to get your sales team excited to use a CRM
So let’s get this off our chest straight away: A CRM is not exciting or fun unless the system is working for the sales team by providing them with leads on a continual basis and making them (and you) money. If you want to implement a CRM for reporting and have an idea of being “Big Brother” by keeping tabs on the sales team then let’s face it – they’re going to run a mile away from using it.
So what steps are needed to get adoption and make a CRM fun to use and make a CRM = Money?
1. The CRM must equate to making money
A CRM only becomes really fun and exciting when the sales team can open it up every day to find new leads just sitting there waiting to be followed up on, allowing the sales rep to close deals quickly and hit their revenue goals faster than ever before – and hopefully even faster than your competition! Remember making money faster than before is fun, using a system for the sake of using a system is not.
2. Remember KISS (Keep it simple stupid)
Is the system for your reporting or for the sales team? Hopefully it is for the sales team and their processes which means the CRM should be designed with their input and their current processes in mind. If the CRM is not designed to match current processes then adoption will be tougher because of the mismatch. It is far easier to get a change by adapting to current habits rather than changing current habits to suit the new system.
Also don’t forget to trim the fat. If there are too many extra items inside the system that your team don’t need, then get rid of them. The simpler the system the easier it will be for adoption.
3. Use friendly Competition
Competition is what sales is all about. The rep with the most top numbers in a particular month is usually celebrated or revered by other sales reps, so harness this when looking to encourage adoption. Most CRM’s offer the ability to create dynamic queues for new leads which allows the top performing sales rep to be assigned the most leads. This can create a situation where sales reps are encouraged to close faster and work harder so that they may be assigned more leads.
4. Education is not a once off thing
It may seem obvious reading this, but too often education on the use of a new CRM is left to once off training sessions and then the rest is left up to the sales team to get used to it. This is not great practice when dealing with sales reps who have been using their tried and tested methods for many years and are not that keen in changing.
Aside from the education of actually using the CRM, the sales team should be continuously educated on the benefits of using the system. The more they understand that the effective use of a CRM equates to an increase of sales and of course revenue, then the adoption process will be smoother. Education sets the stage for the CRM to be actually used versus not used.
5. Celebrate Successes
In every business you’re going to have those employees who are early adopters. They will see and understand the benefits of using a CRM and will be dead keen on adopting it into their daily routine almost immediately. These early adopters are a great way to show how using the CRM will benefit the others through their early successes. By showing off the new leads, deals closed and revenue earned the rest of the sales team will be able to see the benefits of using the CRM in real time.
6. Have a Unique Adoption Timeline
As no two people are alike, neither are your sales reps. Each one will need their own unique adoption timeline so that they ease into the transition. This benefits everyone as the sales rep will be able to adapt their daily processes slowly and make it part of their daily routine, while the business will see the full use of their CRM investment. Sales reps that are forced into using a CRM before they are ready does nothing but cause resentment which is exactly the opposite reaction you would be wanting. As for an overall timeline a period of 3 – 6 months is ideal for getting everyone on board. Anything over 6 months should not be necessary.
7. It’s all about the sales funnel
The hallmark of an effective CRM usage strategy is having a successful sales funnel. Often sales teams will be using tools such as calendar reminders in Outlook for years ahead of time or will use Excel to manage their leads which is both time consuming and ineffective. However by having a sales funnel with new leads coming in, automatic renewal dates, the creation of new sales opportunities and effective management of the sales process the CRM becomes a far more attractive proposition for your team.
An effective CRM saves your team a ton of time enabling them to spend more time on the phone, making deals and increasing their revenue. Ideally you want the system to really work hard for your sales team rather than them working hard for the system. You don’t want your teams spending their time inside the system so make it work for them!
To help with the implementation you can hear Jesse Fowl, founder of Solomon Solution, an engagement marketing agency specializing in CRM and automation tools, shares his views on the above tips for getting your team to adopt a CRM:
Although implementing a CRM is a great idea for your business, do not assume that adoption of the system by your sales team will be automatic. They definitely need to be brought into the decision making process and will need to be part of designing the system. Just remember the system is for your sales team to improve their current processes enabling them to close more deals quicker and generate more revenue.
- Make the CRM fun and exciting for your team by working hard on getting new leads into the system on a regular basis.
- Design the system with your staffs input and current processes in mind and ensure simplicity.
- Use friendly competition and show off the successes of the staff who are using the CRM.
- Continuously educate your sales staff – make them fully aware of its benefits.
- Allow each sales rep to adopt the system in their own time – but nothing longer than 6 months.
- Make sure the sales funnel and system are working for your staff, not the other way around.
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**Video was first seen on Infusionsoft Blog