Some teams resist change, especially when it’s technological, so encouraging members of a group to adopt relationship management software solutions that aren’t what they are used to can be tough. Fortunately for you, no resistance is insurmountable–and in fact, most sales teams can be convinced to give a new CRM solution a chance with the right incentives. The CRM industry is expected to grow significantly well into the next five years, and that only means adoption patterns and processes are going to be important to refine.
In 2013, Gartner predicted that the CRM industry will hit $35B by 2017.
Image source: Forbes
Why Don’t People Adopt?
In the early days of technological relationship management, that is, in the 1980s, sales professionals were eager to adopt new solutions like Act!, which first launched in 1987. Tools like Act! allowed salespeople to keep track of customer information and contacts with relative ease; and due to their simplicity, they saw high adoption rates. These early CRM iterations put the needs of sales professionals ahead of all other departments in their design. Benefits to other teams, such as accounts receivable or product development, were ancillary. Not unimportant, of course.
Modern CRM programs have moved towards operational integration, and seek now to connect all areas of a business to promote the flow and transfer of information. For some individuals, especially those who might be comfortable in the old CRM paradigms of strict business to customer interaction, newer CRM systems can appear unfriendly and unwelcoming. New systems typically come with new rules, new features, and new things to learn. Since time is money, and most sales teams are focused on the bottom line, adopting a new CRM that’s hard to use is just an afterthought. Typically, adoption rates are low because salespeople feel their needs come second to the CRM solution itself, with lots of effort being put into the CRM program translating into little or no return on that invested.
Give them incentives.
Get Your Sales Team to Adopt a CRM Solution
Getting salespeople to adopt a newer, more complex CRM software, and to become enthusiastic about using it, requires you to demonstrate the individual benefits of such a change. You need to pay attention to the needs, problems, and complaints of internal salespeople and find ways in which the current CRM solution is causing pain or trouble. Then eliminate or work around those problems. Or don’t change anything if there’s nothing broken. Here are a few places to start:
- Make sure that your customer relationship management system captures the exact data your sales team needs. You might have the most robust CRM program in the world, but if it can’t capture what’s important to your specific team, it’s not worth investing in. Keep in mind, too, that having more data than you need is never a bad thing–but too much of it can be overwhelming. Be sure to identify exactly what your sales team needs, and really consider the most optimal way to organize it. Build your CRM solution from the needs of your salespeople.
- Engage in frequent dialogue with your sales team to make sure that a majority of it agrees with and wants to adopt your solution. Then, once you transition, adopt it immediately. Don’t give people the option to wait to adopt it in 2 weeks or 2 months–do it all at once. Make sure you have set up the appropriate steps to train everyone on the new system, too; everyone learns differently and adopts new software solutions at a different rate.
- Create long-term goals with your CRM solution. If you are looking down the road at major expansion milestones, plan them in advance. Prepare your sales team for them so that when the changes do hit, they’ve had the time to prepare, learn, adapt, and — most of all — to provide feedback.
Make It Second Nature
If CRM continues to be difficult for your sales team, consider integrating it with the tools and tasks the team engages with today. For most modern sales professionals, this will be phones and email programs. Scheduling, selling, and organization all come back to these valuable tools, so a CRM solution should support and interface with these methods of communication.
By integrating customer relationship management with email service, much of the hassle associated with CRM adoption goes away. There are fewer new keyboard shortcuts to learn, fewer programs to leave running, and fewer steps to get data into the program. As a result, team members take to programs that integrate with popular email platforms like Outlook or Gmail more readily.
Similarly, because data is created in this CRM paradigm as a matter of regular daily operation, it becomes much easier for other departments to access information. Salespeople are much less likely to forget to upload key data points when the CRM works through a program they already use.
This is why Prophet transforms Outlook into a CRM platform, speeding salespeople along their way with ease using features like databases and pipeline management. Easy-to-access relationship management features improve the quality of life for sales teams, other departments, and most of all: for CUSTOMERS.
What do you think?
Have you found any sources of inspiration for salespeople or novel ways to maximize their efficiency? Let us know what you’ve been reading in the comments. If you haven’t read anything lately, check out our list of must-read marketing books for the beach or vacation, or really for wherever. Even if the weather’s started to cool where you are, these are still great candidates for curling up anywhere that’s cozy and warm.