Exploring ways to take high-performing sales teams to the next level often leads to researching and ultimately implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
Maybe you’re exploring CRM software solutions and are worried about which will give you and your team the results you crave. Or maybe you have a CRM in place already - but haven’t seen the benefits you expected.
It turns out that a lot of CRM solutions fail to provide the efficiencies expected. However, it’s not usually the CRM that’s at fault in these instances.
It’s how the CRM was integrated with existing teams.
How CRMs Should Work
Organizations seek out CRMs for numerous reasons, but the most common are:
- Centralized data-keeping. CRMs provide a single repository where sales, marketing, and customer service teams can share company contact information, records, and notes. It’s the “one database to rule them all” that provides a single source of information, eliminating the need to log into several different systems or go rummaging through individual computer folders.
- Easy automation. CRMs - when used properly - can send automated emails to prospects and customers, track call logs, and issue task reminders. This dramatically cuts down on the time that salespeople spend following up on leads and gives them back more time to close deals. Today, 82% of salespeople say CRMs are “critical” to their ability to close deals.
- Streamlined sales management. Sales leads can get a full picture of how their sales teams are performing day by day and even hour by hour using built-in dashboards. This level of transparency is nearly impossible when information is stored in individual inboxes and cryptic filing systems.
But investing in a CRM before your organization has developed a process on how it will be used is putting tool before process - a big no-no.
Hurdles to Overcoming CRM Adoption
We all know the salesperson who’s so dedicated to “how we’ve always done things” that they don’t see the need to invest time into any new solutions. It may also be a struggle to convince in-house teams - like IT - to help you implement a beefy new tool.
However, there are many other reasons that CRMs can fail to take off at an organization, including:
- Lack of defined “reasons to believe” in the new tool. While sales teams may reluctantly engage with the tool to satisfy management, if they cannot see or understand its value to them personally, it’s a lost cause.
- Lack of internal guidelines or understanding of how the CRM aligns with the existing sales process. The sales processes of teams (and even individuals in a team!) can vary wildly. If teams can’t get a handle on where and how this new tool fits into the process, it will lead to frustration and, ultimately, lack of use.
- Lack of good, clean data. Tools are only as good as the data that teams put into them. Existing customer data must be consolidated, duplicates removed, and naming conventions and agreement on which fields/data needs to be captured.
Let’s be real: a CRM isn’t of any value if nobody uses it!
How to Jumpstart CRM Success
The success of your CRM is only as successful as the way it’s implemented and adopted by your team. To give you and your team the best possible chance of success, employ these methods:
- Get buy-in all the way down. While it’s important to have buy-in from top management, it’s also important to hear out your sales team on their needs and preferences. This ensures that they feel like a part of the process, and less like it’s a mandate from on high.
- Make using the CRM an integral part of your sales process - not an afterthought. Implementing a CRM should transform the way your team works. If it’s simply slapped onto an existing process, it will always feel like it’s been Frankeinsteined into place. Instead, adapt and reimagine your sales process to begin and end in the CRM, and create a one-page, easy-to-digest guide of what that new process looks like.
- Designate a project manager who has the respect and authority to keep people accountable. Find the best project manager you can to get your team through the CRM transition. A capable, enthusiastic, and relentless project manager will ensure that each step of the implementation is completed appropriately.
- Appoint an expert and train, train, train! Get a volunteer from your team who loves the CRM tool you’re using. This is likely to be someone you identified during the phase when you were looking to get buy-in. They will be the one to keep abreast of any updates, become the “go-to” resource for those with questions, and keep an eye out for additional training opportunities to keep themselves and the team up to speed.
Getting and maintaining buy-in from all of the players on your team (and often, across teams!) will be your biggest hurdle to CRM success. That’s why implementing a CRM system is never a “one and done” project.
Consider your CRM a vital player on your sales team, one that must be fully integrated with all members of the team, and its information kept up-to-date at all times in order to perform at its very best.
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