Having a CRM system in place can be incredibly beneficial to staying organized and knowing where in the sales process a particular client is at any given time—but only if your sales reps are actually using it.
Despite the clear advantages that CRM provides, its adoption is more often than not met with resistance by salespeople. Why? Because quite frankly it feels like more work and has traditionally only benefitted senior management, not the front line rep.
The good news is that once salespeople become proficient with CRM, they will start to see the personal benefits of using the platform. During the introduction and training phase, however, convincing resistant reps to use CRM requires the direction of a strong sales leader. Here are some useful tips on how to get reps to use CRM:
Show Them What’s in It for Them
Part of the reason that reps put up a fight when it comes to CRM usage is that they believe the process is only in place to benefit management. Under this assumption, salespeople will resist and justify their resistance with the excuse that they are too busy or that the platform is unwieldy, for example.
In order to ensure adoption, your sales reps need to know that the system is useful for them, and not just a management tool. Allow them to see the immediate productivity benefit, and how it will ultimately help them sell more. If they see that it will make selling easier and faster, they are more likely to make the practice habit.
A great way to get reps’ buy-in is to have other sales team members that have seen success in using the CRM system to conduct a training during a lunch-and-learn or at the end of the sales meeting.
Introduce a Few Tools at a Time
The fact that they will have to invest time in learning a new system can be a huge obstacle when getting sales reps to adopt CRM. Rather than overwhelm them with the expectation to immediately master the entire system, introduce a few key tools or features at a time.
Start with tools that will immediately incent their adoption, such as Account Management features that can track pending revenue. Pre-Call planning tools and Proposal Generators are also good gateway features.
Once they have adopted these tools, they will likely be convinced of the benefit they offer and be more apt to learn the rest on their own. The more that you can really show that CRM is for their benefit, the better chance you will have for compliance.
Choose a CRM Platform that is Convenient
Salespeople are constantly on the move, so the convenience of CRM is a driving factor in adoption success. This is crucial: if a system can’t be easily accessed when they are mobile, the likelihood of them using it with consistency is greatly diminished.
Choosing a CRM system that offers a mobile application will result in a higher probability for compliance, and eliminates the excuse that they weren’t able to access it while on the road.
More importantly, having the tools CRM provides on hand can be incredibly useful when reps need to access information about a client while they are away from the office.
Communicate That CRM Is the Standard, Not an Option
Don’t give reps any hint or subtle overture that CRM practice is voluntary or temporary. Instead, reinforce that it is the “new normal” they must accept. While you should focus on the fact that the system is in place for their benefit, there must also be an agreement between managers and salespeople on the expectations around CRM compliance.
Make it a component of your one-on-one meetings by having reps bring a report of their pending opportunities with them. By making it a point to only discuss opportunities shown in the CRM, reps realize that entering that data is, in fact, mandatory. They will also realize they will lose valuable coaching on deals that aren’t being tracked inside of the CRM software.
As an aside, many hesitancies to use CRM arise from salespeople who are concerned about the added accountability that comes from formally creating an opportunity in the system. Combat this by giving reps the ability to say what stage that opportunity is in, and assigning it a percentage of closure probability.
CRM is an investment for your organization, and the adoption of the platform from all team members is critical to getting the most out of this investment. A well-planned implementation strategy that incorporates these tips is the best way to get reps to use CRM and experience the benefits that result from wide-spread compliance.
Published on June 29, 2015