How to Make Your Sales Team to Adopt Your New CRM.
7 tips for a smooth CRM implementation
All the complex software solutions with acronyms like ERP, PLM, CRM need a vast volume of valuable data to realize the expected benefits. That requires a lot of work. In the case of CRM, it is more than often the sales representatives who must enter the data. Therefore, it is vital to prepare in advance. Your work with the sales team should be part of the implementation process. We present you with 7 tips that can help you achieve a smooth transition to your new CRM solution.
1. Find Out What Are the Needs of Your Sales Representatives
You need to talk to salespeople to detect their needs and issues that the new system should address. There must be a pay-off for the time they spend regularly updating all the data of their clients. The new solution should save time elsewhere or help them to win business more efficiently or easily.
One way how to do it is to make a few sales representatives an integral part of business workshops, partner interviews, and a testing team. This ensures that you and also your implementation partner is fully aware of these needs.
2. Make CRM Useful to Your Sales Team
Make sure the new CRM software is intuitive enough to speed up the learning process . Make sure that all the needed information regarding clients, projects, sales bids, etc. are easy to find. Also, request customization if analysis shows the need for it. Consider creating a specific sales dashboard that can serve as a welcome page every time you log in. This little tuning of the standard product can really help the internal teams to embrace the CRM system. But be aware that heavy customization increases the implementation cost and complicates future software updates.
3. Sell the CRM Value
With all the advantages of the new CRM solution in your mind, you still need to spend the time and “sell” the benefits to all your sales representatives. You cannot only talk to a few selected ones. The value of the new CRM system must be presented to every single member of the team.
Be ready to go through the long selling process. Like in the external selling process – one meeting would be rarely enough.
4. Integrate CRM with Your Existing Software
These days none of the major solutions can be implemented as a single island within the company. Besides typical integration with ERP systems, your new CRM system should be seamlessly integrated with the maximum of the tools used by your sales reps today. Integration of Microsoft products like MS Word or Outlook is probably a must.
But maybe you have other productivity software including proprietary in-house tools. Analyze the future use of those products in your company and together with your implementation partner create a plan for the integration. Create also a plan to retire the software and processes that become obsolete with the implementation of your new CRM.
5. Invest Your Time and Resources to Train the Sales Team
Got their trust in the system? Made the system aligned with the current processes? Good. You still need to train your team to use it correctly. The best way is to run an initial training and then conduct several problem-solving meetings after that as a part of the support service provided by the implementation partner. With this, you can address all the advanced questions typically raised after some time of usage.
6. Good Timing For Your Implementation
It is a sad reality that by the end of a quarter or at least a year any sales representative gets under time pressure. That is the moment when they would throw away all the plans and good intentions.
With bad timing, you can easily find yourself with ready to go product (even after successful implementation) but no one ready to use it. And you will be forced to wait till the beginning of the new sales period to get the sales team focus. Don’t forget this and plan your CRM implementation accordingly.
7. Set the Rules
Sales representatives are typically not very disciplined employees when it comes to switching from one software tool to another. You might need to prepare a set of clear rules to enforce the usage of the new system. The rules and processes should actually drive the information stream via the new tools and make it impractical to use “good old” tools like MS Excel tables or Outlook contacts for managing the sales and marketing cycle.
Besides other things, the success of software implementation is measured by the level of acceptance of ordinary users. There is no single magic trick to do it. Instead, you need to work consistently on getting the employees on board, applying a thoughtful approach from the very beginning.