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crm adoption

Breaking Down Barriers to CRM Success: Onboarding Sales Staff

CRM is a great sales enhancement tool. But, the very salespeople, who should benefit the most from the system, often don’t bother to use it properly, let alone maximize its full potential. For a business owner looking to gain value from their CRM investment, this puts the entire initiative at risk. Why do sales reps shy away from CRM adoption? How can you motivate them to embrace the technology and get the most value from it? Today’s blog post helps you find answers to these questions.

Why Bother?

Сompanies investing in a CRM strategy may believe that a best-in-class solution by a reputable vendor is all you need to generate the expected business outcomes. Reality bites: over 30% of CRM implementations fail while second- and third-time deployment efforts collapse at a similar failure rate. Why? One of the top reasons for a CRM project failure is poor user adoption (70% according to Forrester Research).

One problem leads to another: the resistance by your sales staff to embrace CRM technology prevents adequate data management. Because they are urged to use software they dislike or don’t know how to use, they are less likely to populate the database with quality customer information. As a result, other customer-facing teams have access to incomplete or incorrect data, negating the CRM as a source of reliable and actionable customer insights.

From what we see, employee readiness to use technology is just as critical to CRM project success as the technology itself. So, what triggers poor adoption among sales reps?

Why Salespeople Resist CRM Adoption

A CRM can grow revenue by 41% per salesperson but sales reps resist adoption. This resistance is rooted in unfounded fears.

Entering data is perceived as a red tape activity

Logging information and updating system records is perceived as a tedious, time-consuming administrative activity that slows progress. The reality? Sales staff generally spend no more than 20% of their time on clerical tasks including reporting and CRM updates.

Shared data leads to deal poaching

Due to internal competition and aggressive sales quotas, salespeople may fear to share deal-sensitive data in the CRM (e.g., information on leads they currently working). Although the CRM environment is data rich and ready to be mined for insights, the system can be configured to provide only authorized users a job-role-based access to information to prevent poaching.

Big Brother is watching

CRM adoption has long proven to improve communication between sales reps and managers (56.9%). However, salespeople fear supervisors secretly using a CRM as another tracking tool to constantly monitor them. Although management uses CRM’s analytics to gain insight into the performance of their employees, it’s not used to stalk employees and document every little failure.

Help your sales reps shed their CRM-triggered phobias by teaching them the many benefits of a CRM solution.  

How CRM Adoption Benefits Salespeople

Full-fledged CRM systems (like OroCRM) come with great features that help invigorate sales activities and maximize sales efforts. The key benefits realized by the sales reps include:

Aggregated and centralized customer data

No more disorganized spreadsheets, email printouts, and notes on scraps of paper. A sales rep has everything they need to know about a prospect or customer right at their fingertips. Because a quality CRM provides a holistic, 360-degree view of the entire database, a sales rep can learn instantly about past interactions with a person they are about to contact.

activities-view-orocrm

Overview of past interactions with a contact in OroCRM.

Opportunity and pipeline management

A long sales cycle decreases sales effectiveness. CRM helps shrink the sales cycle by reducing manual data processing and visualizes the progress of each lead within the sales pipeline. Sales reps can timely plan the activities required to move prospects through the sales pipeline and close targeted deals faster.

Time-saving task automation

A CRM streamlines contact management processes and automate repetitive administrative tasks. Out-of-the-box features and integrations quickly become invaluable productivity tools. For example, this OroCRM business card reader extension recognizes lead’s contact data on the card snapshot and exports it straight to the CRM. It’s possible to populate the database with precious contacts in just minutes.

Improved scheduling and time management

Within a CRM, the sales force can build optimized schedules for daily routines. They can also prioritize activities, ensuring no sales opportunity is missed and all the leads are properly nurtured. By logging sales conversations, call notes and emails, sales reps can instantly track all interactions with potential buyers. The customizable built-in calendars make it easy to schedule calls, appointments, and timely follow-ups. Additional tools like integrated Google Hangouts enable sales staff to call customers straight from the CRM environment. And yes, the call data is automatically logged and ready to be accessed whenever required.

Get Salespeople Buy-In for Your CRM Initiative

To make CRM project a successful investment and faster obtain ROI, plan the implementation with your salespeople in mind. Specifically, you should:

Educate sales staff on the benefits of CRM adoption

Get buy-in from your salespeople in the early, pre-implementation stages of your CRM project by pitching the benefits of a CRM solution. Educate sales reps on how this tool will help enhance their performance and increase productivity. For example, demonstrate how CRM allows effortless capturing and retaining of customer data.

Involve sales team in the CRM selection process

Simply forcing your employees to use a new sales tool after you’ve acquired it doesn’t mean they will love it or fully utilize it. Include salespeople in the CRM selection process to ensure the chosen solution is aligned with established sales processes and meets your salespeople’s needs. By showing them that their opinions have value, they will own the decision and will be less likely to sabotage adoption.

Ensure a proper onboarding and ongoing support

To promote positive CRM adoption among sales teams, support them throughout all stages of the product implementation and beyond. Train your sales reps on the software until they not only understand how to operate it but know how to leverage its sales stack when performing existing tasks. Demonstrate a couple of cool features that will relieve some of their daily pain to make them love the software. Collect feedback from your sales team members and monitor their satisfaction levels to ensure the CRM is becoming seamlessly incorporated into their daily workflows.

Your immediate and minimum goal is to “infect” at least one person on your sales team with enthusiasm for all the cool stuff the CRM can do. If you achieve this, you’ll have a loyal champion on your salesforce and a strong ally for CRM adoption activities.


Have you been challenged by “selling” a CRM to a change-resistant sales team? Share your story in the comments below!

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