Okay I will admit, the title of this article, 5 Strategies To Make Your Sales Team LOVE Your CRM, may sound like a bit of an over promise.  But I can guarantee that if you read this article and execute the strategies your sales team will start consistently using your CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) and actually believe in the value it brings to the sales process.  And in the world of sales professionals and CRMs that is about as close to love as you are ever going to get!

So why do sales people hate CRMs and why won’t they use them? Well, there are a number of reasons:

  1. Busy Work – first, no really good sales person loves entering data, right? And a CRM is only as good as the information you put into it. So, if your sales team is not entering all the information that is required to make the tool useful, then they will never see the value in the CRM. They will see it as busy work. Just one more thing you want them to do that keeps them from selling.
  1. Micro-Management – sales people are lone wolves, and they sure as heck don’t like people telling them what to do. A CRM system feels like big brother. Just knowing that your sales manager, your other sales team members can go in there at any time to “check up on you” makes the idea of a CRM less than attractive.
  1. The Cold Hard Truth – nothing reveals the fact that a sales professional is not doing his/her job or is under-performing than the lack of information or poor-quality information in the CRM. Some sales professionals just don’t like the CRM because it is like a long hard look in the mirror.
  1. They Are Rarely Successful – according to a study done by Gartner, around 50 to 70% of all CRM projects result in loss of performance rather than improvement. Now think about that, that is a huge investment in time, resources and technology for something that does not increase bottom line results. Sales professionals just don’t believe CRMs are useful.

So, no wonder CRMs are such a challenge, your sales people don’t like them, and getting them implemented is an uphill battle. Investing in one means you are undertaking a massive risk that your project will fail.

So with so many downsides why even bother with a CRM?  Because with all of its challenges the return on investment you can get from a CRM is huge!

Value of a CRM.

  1. Drives Bottom Line Results – Salesforce research shows that a CRM platform can drive lead conversion by 30%, sales productivity by 30%, customer satisfaction by 35% and increase revenue by more than 25%. In other words, if you are looking for a way to increase productivity and get results – invest in a CRM.
  1. Increase and Personalize Customer Support – CRMs allow you to be one-step ahead of what your customers need, and how you can help them achieve their goals and grow their businesses. The information provided by your CRM ensures you have the data you need to make customers feel heard, valued and important.
  1. Consistent Improvement – the data and reports you gain from CRMs can give you valuable insight into what customers like about your products, what they value, what they don’t, and what future products or services they may need. The CRM puts you on a track of consistent improvement of quality, products and services. This is just what you need to remain competitive.

And the list of value your CRM provides goes on and on.  Value that is when it is executed well, actively used, and well-embraced by your sales team. They are the keys to your CRM success. You can buy the greatest piece of technology, the best system your industry has to offer but if your sales team does not embrace it, then your project will just become another statistic in the long line of CRM failures.

5 Strategies To Make Your Sales Team LOVE Your CRM

  1. Lead By Example – if you want your team to use your CRM then you need to use your CRM. The integration of the CRM into the sales process begins with you the leader. Been a while since you have made a sales call or taken a note? Well, get ready to roll up your sleeves and get back out there.

The first person that needs to embrace the CRM is you the sales leader. Your team will follow your actions so much more than your words.

  1. Engage Them In The Process – if you’re struggling to get your sales team to use your CRM, then you need to engage them in solving that problem. Make using the CRM a non-negotiable – that is, off the table. But how they implement, what specific behaviors they use – the answers to those questions are up to them. When you give people simultaneous ownership of the process and skin in the game, people will support what they help create.
  1. Focus Small – look first to those couple of sales professionals on the team that you know will buy-into the process. Those few team members you have that are open to trying new things, that want to increase performance, and those that will be enthusiastic about the project. Don’t try to change the habits of the entire team at once – focus small. Create success with a few sales professionals first and the rest of the team will follow.
  1. Create Accountability – what you focus on expands, and if you are trying to focus on implementing a CRM then hold your team accountable. Have them give updates in sales meetings, reward and recognize those that are actively using it, in your one-to-one’s go through the CRM with your sales professionals. If you put focus on it, your team will put focus on it too.
  1. Remain Standing – success in effectively implementing a CRM is about being the last man standing. Accept the fact that your team will push back when you first try to implement, they will not do what you tell them to do. They will be waiting for you to wear out and back down. But you need to be persistent. It’s like you are the parent at the grocery story with the kid screaming bloody murder for a candy bar – give in and buy that candy bar and you just trained your kid to throw a tantrum. If you back-off of requiring your team to use your CRM guess what – they will.

Look, doing anything in sales and doing it well, especially implementing a CRM, is not easy. But as the leader the approach you take, the attitude you invoke, and the commitment you make are going to determine where you can reap the benefits or experience the pitfalls of implementing a CRM. You really hold that much power.

Put these strategies into place and watch as your team learns to LOVE your CRM!