As with most important things in business, and in life, the amount value that goes into a process is directly related to the amount of value that comes out the other end. Nowhere does this ring more true than in your sales CRM. Managers, especially managers that are leading the implementation of a new CRM application, have all been on the receiving end of an oft-painful lesson: your sales CRM is only as valuable as the information that is getting entered.
There are many reasons for this stubborn fact, but most can be boiled down to our nature, as a species, to resist change. Let’s face it, we hate change. We’re creatures of habit. In the business world, change usually means something negative and our first reaction is to hit the brakes and cling to the status quo. Implementing a CRM software for your sales team is a perfect experiment to run if you want to see our resistance to change in action. But if you’re not a scientist studying human behaviour, the process can be downright agonising.
Here are the 2 biggest reasons your sales team HATES your new CRM:
1. It wasn’t their decision
It’s a rare thing indeed to witness a sales professional request a CRM upgrade. No, a new CRM implementation is almost always a top-down decision and it gets made because it makes managers and owners feel all warm an fuzzy inside, like they have some control over their sales pipeline and revenue forecasts. Plus, it makes them look smart and proactive. I mean, what else are they going to do if they can’t completely upend the sales team’s routine every three years or so. So it goes. New CRM it is.
However, therein lies the rub. Management made a fatal mistake. They didn’t get buy-in before making the announcement for the new sales CRM. Sales reps didn’t have a say in the matter. No one even asked their opinion of which one would be best for their daily activities and sales tracking. So it’s only natural that they feel dejected and apathetic to the entire process. It’s a new process, a new learning curve to master and ultimately more “busy work” to accomplish instead of closing sales. What’s to like?
Instead, get your sales team involved from the beginning. Let them select their top 3 sales CRM programs from your list and then weigh the pros and cons together. Show them how it will actually improve their sales performance and reduce their administrative work. If they’re convinced the new sales CRM will lead to more revenue, higher commissions and improved closing ratios, you won’t have to coerce them at all, in fact they’ll be intrinsically motivated to learn exactly how it works on the first day.
2. It creates more work
When management makes the new CRM decision based on their needs, it usually comes at the cost of meeting the needs of the sales team. For example, at the top of the sales funnel, aka prospecting, the management doesn’t need to know too much about the sales activity. Initial calls will turn into meetings and eventually enter the buying cycle. However, as the prospect moves down the sales funnel, more data must be entered and more stakeholders are involved in the process. Oftentimes this is where the trouble starts.
At a certain point in the sales cycle, the sales rep is asked to enter more information than they feel is relevant or necessary to get the sale and they may skip steps to save time. Management throws a fit for missing information that may have little or nothing to do with the sale. What’s worse, the process is exactly the same for every deal, no matter how small or how large or what relationship the sales rep has with the buyer.
Instead, carefully map out what information is critical and what information is “nice to have”, then make sure you have a compelling argument to request the additional information. Furthermore, automate the easy stuff (ie: email tracking, route mapping and client touches, etc). Any mobile CRM worth their salt will have these automated data capture tools built in so it actually makes sales tracking easier for the sales team not harder.
In the end, sales reps are independent creatures. That’s why they got into sales. The experienced ones have forged their selling style over years of dedication and they like doing things their own way. If you’re thinking about implementing a new sales CRM, just make sure you bring to the table the people who matter most in the decision, the sales team.