You can't just toss it to salespeople and expect them to sing a few bars.
A friend, Bill Herr, got me thinking one day when he said, “CRM Software is like handing a salesperson sheet music and expecting them to sing a few bars.” Tweet This
Considering I failed in my first implementation of a rudimentary CRM system by failing to properly train the salespeople, I understood what he meant. Yes, they had a few hours of cursory training, but certainly not enough. I am still smarting from the experience. (Yes, I have to let go)
From observing many companies, not much has changed. Salespeople have laptops and smartphones, but knowing how to use the most important piece of software in the company is still hit and miss. I run into this failure when I call on clients in my consulting business and I hear of it from SLMA members.
“Huh, oh, yes, we got the software,” the manager mumbles and looks at me side-ways. “Do your salespeople use it,,” I ask. The answers range from no, to hell no, to kind of. On occasion they are using it in the way it was intended, but that is more often the exception. It doesn’t have to be this way. It can be solved with leadership. But before we apply the “L-Word” to the issue, lets start with some factual barriers.
1. Salespeople must be trained. You can't toss it to them and expect them to hum a few bars. They cannot quickly learn by simply doing it. Train them and you will solve the acceptance issue. Don't train them and they will reject it. With rejection comes poor accountability for marketing spending, and inaccurate sales forecasting.
2. Sales Management must be a user. You must have all levels of sales leadership buy into and use the program. If this doesn’t happen there will be CRM brownouts and blackouts and most of will be traced to lukewarm acceptance by sales management.
3. Corporate managers must also be users. When salespeople detect lukewarm use of the system at corporate they will stop using it or use only small parts of it that help them personally.
4. You need a sales process. The CRM system for the salesperson’s use must be based on their sales process. Identify the steps to the sale and if it makes sense, they will go along with you. The place to start? Ask the salespeople first and check with them last before you go live. I have seen company presidents create the sales steps and then it all had to be revamped six months later when the salespeople rejected the process.
5. What’s in it for them? Salespeople must get more from CRM system than anyone else in the organization. If the CRM program helps them sell, reduces paperwork, eliminates the dreaded spreadsheets, and has a superior calendaring system, etc. You must convince them to use it. because it is in thier best interest.
6. Integrate key sales functions. If you can integrate your quota system, automatic phone dialing, proposals, social media, etc., into the process, you will get more cooperation.
7. Enforcement. You must enforce the usage of the program. No exceptions. This is where leadership enters. Leadership for many is really another word for coaching. Coach them into using it.