There continue to be pockets of resistance within many sales teams to regularly entering and maintaining important prospect and customer data. Here are ten ways to improve CRM adoption within your sales organization.
1. Make CRM Accessible Inside of Email: Most salespeople live in email. If CRM data is available as a side panel in Outlook and Gmail, salespeople can create and update records without leaving their email client. We recently interviewed Jon Ferrara of Nimble and then Brandon Bruce of Cirrus Insight. Both of their companies offer solutions within the email client.
2. Give Users Anytime, Anywhere Access to CRM: For increased access to browser-based CRM applications, which represent the majority of current CRM technology, provide users with a 4G wireless device so they can access CRM when there’s no available WiFi. Allow uses to expense WiFi access on airlines. These extra expenses can be easily justified based on the value of the information that salespeople will be able to more easily obtain and update.
3. Flow Your Sales Processes Through CRM: If your sales process involves a lot of dials, make sure that your CRM system is optimized for dialing and that it is at least as easy for salespeople to make calls from CRM as it is to dial through a list from as a spreadsheet. If your sales process involves a quotation or a proposal, make these easy to generate via CRM.
4. Begin with CRM Adoption by Management: Lead by example. Make sure that sales managers spend time learning and using your CRM system. C-level adoption of CRM is a bonus. If the CEO is checking CRM for sales pipeline information, then salespeople are more likely to keep opportunities up to date.
5. Include Your End Users in the CRM Selection Process: If you’re looking into a new CRM system for your company, make sure to involve some of your sales users in the CRM selection process. Not only will these end users provide guidance in terms what CRM system will have the highest adoption rate, but these end users will be more bought into CRM by way of their involvement and will be more likely to adopt. When looking at CRM systems, keep in mind that there’s a difference between usability and adoptability.
6. Create Internal Competition: Let salespeople know the total value of their peers’ pipeline by periodically distributing reports to all users. Salespeople are naturally competitive and will be motivated to move to a high position on the list. Also, a salesperson may not want other salespeople to see if they have out of date information.
7. Give Salespeople Tools to Enrich Prospect Data: CRM is no longer a self-contained, island of information. Many CRM systems now have hooks to external data sources and allow for record enrichment, which can give salespeople better access to prospects. Contact information can be updated from social media sites, crowd-sourced contact databases and traditional database services.
8. Make Data Entry Smooth: Resist the temptation to create a lot of data fields and especially resist creating too many required fields. Provide salespeople with tools to automate data entry from email signatures and Web sites, for example. If a salesperson is a poor typist and detailed call notes are important to your sales reporting, let them expense speech-to-text software.
9. Create Rewards for Usage: Using an adoption report, determine which salesperson has added the most data into CRM for a given week or month. Provide that salesperson with a reward, such as a gift certificate.
10. Train, Train, Train: Make sure that salespeople are properly trained in the CRM tool and that there’s a process for training new hires. Remind users of where to find online training resources, which can allow users to get their questions answered quickly, any time.
If all else fails, you can resort to using a stick. This approach isn’t for all companies, but there are some organizations that have the mantra, “if it isn’t in CRM, it doesn’t exist.” This means that a salesperson won’t receive a commission if an opportunity was closed but has not been entered in CRM. However, we’d recommend starting with the above ten suggestions for higher CRM adoption before reaching for the stick.