Your business has spent thousands of dollars on a new CRM solution and the business is not fully utilizing the solution. Worse yet, the sales team refuses to use it. I find that too often companies launch new business applications such as CRM solutions without proper thought and planning, which can lead to a poor adoption rate. Here are some best practices I’ve learned over the years to maximize both initial adoption as well as increase adoption on an ongoing basis.
1. “What’s in it for me”?
The CRM needs to be positioned as a tool that will help everyone with their job and especially your sales organization sell more goods and services. Sounds simple. Many businesses however, use their CRM only as a reporting stick for their sale teams.
Tools such as dashboards, opportunity management, proposal documents, reporting tools, task lists, Outlook integration and sales process checklists will improve the efficiency and productivity of the sales team. Very quickly, you need to demonstrate to the sales team WIFM (“what’s in it for me”).
2. Get the data correct!!!
A CRM works only if the underlying data is correct. You need to have best practices to make sure data is consistent, clean and even more important, maintained. Establish drop down fields where appropriate to ensure data integrity. Each department who is using the CRM must take personal ownership of the integrity of the data.
3. Train the staff
It should go without saying, if your staff is not trained on how to benefit from using the CRM it will not get used. Sounds simple, but many companies do not have proper training plans to support the roll-out of the system.
4. Integrate Your Processes, Tools and Collateral
Calendaring, email, marketing automation, quoting, proposals, correspondents – just to name a few of the tools and integrations that can be keys to a successful CRM adoption. Many CRM’s also include libraries to maintain customer history, emails, price lists, catalogs, contracts, etc. Make sure the CRM is populated with the current version of all the documents and collateral at all times.
5. Flow All New Leads Through the CRM
The lifeblood of any sales organization is new leads. Make the CRM the single source of all new leads for the sales team.
6. Walk the walk, talk the talk
Run your sales meetings and reviews from the CRM, including forecast meetings, pipeline reviews and exception reporting. Establish dashboards which you share with your team to show them you personally are leveraging and using the system. Also ensure senior management is using and benefiting from the system. Bottom-line, you should lead by example.
7. Reinforce Adoption
Here are several ways to reinforce adoption. When appropriate distribute “success stories” of those that have used the CRM effectively. You may also want to consider contests to reinforce adoption. I’d suggest every job description and performance appraisal should include reference to using the CRM.
The ultimate adoption strategy for any CRM is your team realizing the benefits they get from using the system. The seven best practices above will help the your business realize the CRM is a tool that can truly help increase efficiencies and help your business be more profitable, not just a reporting stick for senior management.