Oh No, My Manager Wants To Use A CRM System!
During the Monday morning sales meeting your sales manager shows up with the message that it has been decided from above to work with a CRM solution. It’s quiet in the meeting room. “Why work with a CRM System?” Thinks Salesperson #1. Salesperson #2’s thought is: “Do they want to check on us?”, “Should we really put everything in CRM whines Salesperson #3. “Excel still works fine!” calls Salesperson #4.
These are some of the primary reactions from a sales team when confronted with this kind of news. Let me first say that many clichés about sales people are true. We want to minimize labor while achieving maximum sales results. We do not want to do admin, but want to get many leads and customers delivered on a golden platter, and light touches of panic set in at any form of control. I exaggerate of course, but it’s pretty close to reality. So what are we so afraid of? Here are the three major concerns:
Many people cannot tolerate change, including the sales team. It is a human characteristic to keep everything as is and continue working as one is used to working. Just the idea to update their daily process to a CRM system, is nauseating to many and before you know it, you may have a riot on your hands. As a manager you need to be ready for this.
Sharing is not a given
Not all sales people are keen on the transparent capture of data about customers, prospects and opportunities and sharing this. However, the years of “creative pipeline-accounts “are over, the entire sales pipeline is visible when using CRM, and you can no longer keep opportunities out of sight. Sales people often forget that it is not only their prospect, but a prospect of the company.
Big Brother is watching you
Sales people by nature have something against outside control and consider CRM to be a control mechanism. “Big Brother is watching you”, we can hear in the corridors. Often organizations like to track the minimum number of customer calls or customer visits per week, which is, for a company, nothing more than a statistic while a sales person can feel like they are being monitored to make sure they do their work
As a Sales Manager, how do you prepare your team?
The use of a CRM system should first be presented as a benefit and not a burden to the sales team, as soon as you convince them of this, you have made a major step towards user adoption. It is therefore important to involve your sales team in deciding how the system will be used across the organization, and to explain that CRM will make daily tasks easier and more effective so they can spend more time closing deals and managing opportunities. Productive and successful sales people will understand the benefits of the CRM tools and will help to establish the right KPI’s, guidelines and control mechanisms to support their success.
you could even make this an internal competition where everyone contributes to the process, makes it fun and feels empowered.
“Manage the use of KPI’s, don’t go overboard!”
A former boss of mine did a weekly CRM check. He printed out several reports from the CRM system and distributed it to all managers and executives in the organization. It contained closed/won deals, the week’s revenue, changes in the pipeline between the beginning and the number of new sales opportunities.
This worked well, and was motivating as nobody wants to be at the bottom of the list and lose face in front of rest of the company. Being at the top of the list is the goal and receiving compliments and accolades from managers, directors and the CEO is the motivation, not to mention the $$$.
I recommend that sales managers who are involved in implementing a CRM system to reflect on the impact and the changes in process. Dealing with change, getting used to sharing information and the feeling of being monitored have to be addressed. Provide support within your team and promote acceptance by indicating that CRM will simplify daily tasks. Link KPI’s to it, but not too fast, and build it up gradually. First make sure that everyone feels comfortable with the use of the CRM solution before expanding on the basics of the solution. Involve your sales team in determining the proper CRM model for the company, and introduce some competition around putting the process in place, and the initial reticence and rejections will melt away, making Monday morning or any other sales meeting more productive.
Translated from the original (dutch) article by Bas Bergsma