5 Ways to Maximize the Sales Team's CRM Adoption

One of the biggest challenges faced by companies using a CRM solution is to bring about user adoption within the sales team. CRM solutions can provide sales reps with essential client knowledge to help them deal better with the customers, close more deals, identify new sales opportunities and reduce the sales cycle. Most sales personnel avoid using CRM solutions due to a lack of understanding on how they will benefit from using it. Hence, organisations need to focus on user adoption while implementing any new system to ensure that the business objectives are met at the end.

Here are some of the top ways for implementing a CRM solution that is sure to be a hit with sales team:

1. Benefits and training
Sales personnel need to understand the specific ways in which CRM will help them improve productivity. It is important to impart a holistic understanding of CRM benefits encompassing its role within the organization as well as advantages to individuals. In order to facilitate adoption, employees must be trained in individual functions that they can use on a daily basis to increase sales. One of the most basic changes they need to make is how to input information about new leads and existing accounts. This simple change can impact the overall efficiency of the system. They should be coached in day-to-day activities such as how to manage and find information within the system, carry out simple activities, input new opportunities, schedule and follow up tasks. The practical approach is the best approach in this aspect. So make sure they apply their learning during the training and gain hands-on experience.

2. The "KISS" approach
“Keep It Simple Silly” has been a key adage for businesses seeking to gain acceptance for a concept or idea, whether it is with employees or customers. This approach can help management to bring about a smooth transition to CRM usage within the sales team. If the process is too time consuming and complex to understand, sales personnel may resist adding the extra burden to their work. It is essential to use a CRM application that integrates seamlessly into the existing systems. Employees should find it simple enough to use it with their daily tasks. Keeping the technology simple also ensures prevention of errors and confusion in the future.

3. Monitor the usage
Once the system is rolled out and integrated within the sales team, managers need to ensure that its usage is monitored regularly. It is integral for management to keep a keen look out on how users are applying the CRM application for their daily tasks. One can provide the sales team with routine tasks and observe how they carry it out. In this way, managers can identify any issues the employees may be having and provide them with the required training and guidance to avoid hurdles. Managers can also routinely check the data inputted by the sales people and discuss it with them. In this way, they can ensure that the data is up-to-date and provide direction on missing or incomplete data.

4. What's in it for me?
If the CRM application provides sales reps with additional insights which they will not get anywhere else, they are more likely to adapt. When they notice the unique ways in which the CRM tool helps them identify new opportunities or close current deals, it will increase their affinity to the system. Ensure that your CRM gives instant access to deals which have been won or lost to competitors. If the application provides real time information of similar companies or clients as opportunities, this will be of further benefit to the team. Such intelligence and client knowledge can help build employee confidence in the system. Also, provide access through the CRM solution to enable quick access to business news, stock markets, new products and more using mash-ups and RSS Feeds. This will avoid wasting time navigating between multiple screens and provide useful insights when studying or analyzing existing records.

5. Cleanse the data
Transferring the existing data into the CRM solution is very crucial to its success. Sales reps build their data over a period of time. If they are expected to key this data in to the new system, this will most likely lead to failure. Managers must ensure that the user data is cleansed as much as possible and migrated to the new CRM application. Get rid of old leads and try reducing errors. Clean and updated data will increase employee enthusiasm. This must be done prior to the release of the CRM application within the company. Planning data cleansing in advance is important as doing this post the roll-out may prove to be a challenge.

Most companies believe that making information available through their CRM system, the only software to evaluate their performance, will encourage sales teams to adapt to it. But this alone is not enough for sustainable change. It is essential to modify employee behavior and attitude towards CRM solutions. These strategies will help create that change in the day-to-day workings within the sales teams.