Whether you call them clients, guests, prospects or partners, every business needs customers and the technology to manage them. Yet although technology can provide data about customer patterns and behaviors, many businesses fail to take advantage of such useful information. Indeed, sales teams sometimes do not fully adopt CRM software, which means the data you use to make decisions is incomplete.
When business intelligence is ignored
There’s business intelligence to be gleaned from every single customer interaction, particularly when you have a CRM system that tracks contacts, sales and interaction outcomes. Yet as with any technology, it’s only as good as the data that’s fed into it. If you have a sales team that regularly “forgets” to put in data, gauging that team’s effectiveness becomes increasingly difficult. You end up with inaccurate and incomplete data from your CRM software, which means you’re less likely to use it. And so unless your company’s culture changes, you’re in for a vicious cycle.
Common arguments against adoption
CRM software provides accountability and tracking. Naturally, some sales staff do not like this heightened scrutiny, often claiming that the tracking won’t reflect what they’re actually doing and that their results already speak for themselves. A similar complaint is that it gives managers access to all the customer relationships the sales people have built, enabling those managers to easily fire whomever they please, with little detriment to the company.
The counter arguments
However, the aforementioned means that the opportunities the company provides are essentially going to individual salespeople when they should benefit the company as a whole. Assume, for example, that a salesperson is involved in a serious accident. If the CRM software isn’t updated, the company loses out on valuable opportunities because nobody knows what stage the relationship is at, and that accident ends up costing the company thousands or even millions of dollars.
Some salespeople and CRM users believe that they don’t need a customer relationship management software to be a top salesperson. Some use spreadsheets instead, saying that because they’re simpler, they’re more useful. In reality, managing a dozen spreadsheets, all formatted differently, is a thoroughly inefficient way of handling information compared to a carefully curated database.
CRM is a tool, just like any other piece of software. You have to position it as a software that will help your business sell more goods — after all, this is what it’s designed for. Although it can measure productivity, a CRM solution is so much more than that. Various tools, such as process checklists, calendars, templates and proposal documents streamline the sales process and ensure that everyone is on the same track without crossing over into other people’s territories. Simply put, CRM demonstrates what’s in it for your sales team.
Management also has to get onboard. Use the full set of reporting tools to demonstrate how managers can track productivity and ensure that everyone is focused on selling. Leading by example ensures that your staff can see how easy and convenient it is to use, and lets you respond accurately to queries about the software. Similarly, managers need to make sure the software is used and possibly even penalize those who do not use it.
Training is essential. Onboarding sessions should be specific and aimed at assisting your sales staff with creating more sales by using your chosen CRM software. This minimizes excuses that they don’t know what to do. While this might be acceptable during the initial rollout, if the training is focused, your staff should have the knowledge to use the solution effectively.
Finally, you need to make sure your sales team can access new leads only through the CRM software. They need new leads to function and to expand the business, so if the only way to access new leads is through the CRM software, they have to use it.
Sales is an important part of any organization, but it’s crucial that everyone uses the software that you provide to complete the job. CRM allows for better tracking and optimization throughout the business. Key cultural changes and a can-do atmosphere can streamline the adoption of the software, ensuring that you have accurate data to work with and maximized profits. If you have any questions about CRM or would like to implement it within your organization, give us a call. We’re happy to help.