Get your SMB sales team ready for CRM?

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User adoption is one of the major pain points in a CRM implementation project. You may deploy the best one in the market that meets all your requirements, but if your users are not on board with it, then it can turn into a nightmare.

It’s not easy getting everyone on your sales team to use the same CRM solution. They’d rather be out closing deals than sitting in an office, getting trained on how to use a new system, or filling in details in the system. But without a proper CRM user adoption policy, both you and your salespeople could be missing valuable opportunities—and leaving money on the table.

Get your SMB Sales Team Ready For CRM - AhaApps

Building trust is important, especially at the start, because no deployment of any new application or solution is ever perfect. You’ll encounter snafus or unexpected bugs. These early challenges require a huge amount of patience from your team while they get resolved. So, if your core team is absent from the start and is brought in only when the system needs to be used, they might possess zero tolerance level when things go wrong; unfortunately, they will.

Getting your sales team ready to adapt CRM

First things first. Assemble a user acceptance testing (UAT) crew. A mixed bag of reps across different levels and verticals, a representation of people with more tenure and those who are quick to adopt the technology. This will be your core group and should be the first to know about the changes in the CRM deployment project.

Part of the reason that reps put up a fight when it comes to CRM usage is that they feel the process is only in place to benefit management. Under this misunderstanding, salespeople will resist and justify their resistance with the excuse that they are too busy or that the platform is unwieldy, for example. So, a great way to get reps’ buy-in is to get the UAT team ready.

Trust is a big differentiator here. The average reps look to their sales leaders for guidance. Consider bringing in a sales leader to do the initial overview, so that it’s coming from someone to whom reps are accountable. Then, when it’s time for the actual show, swoop in with data, demos, and visualizations. Remember, you have to start at the top to be effective at the bottom. It’s almost magical if the right message gets delivered by the right person.

Training your team for the adoption

Once you have buy-in, concentrate on the training aspect. Rather than overwhelming them with the expectation to immediately master the entire system, introduce a few key tools or features at a time.

Begin with features that will immediately help their adoption, something like an Account Management feature that can track pending revenue.

Once they have gotten used to these tools, they will likely be convinced of the benefit they offer and be more inclined to learn the rest on their own. The more that you can demonstrate that CRM is for their benefit, the better chance you will have for compliance.

Reward and acknowledge achievements

Don’t underestimate the benefit of a reward system! People work for money no doubt, but an appreciation works like a charm. You will be surprised how much participation will rise when you offer something as simple as a certification process.

If a rep is given a certificate saying that he/she has mastered a new prospecting cadence, they feel empowered to engage with CRM more and they might even train others.

Instead of coercing your sales team to use a CRM, encourage them by appreciating their effort in learning the solution. Acknowledge and applaud the ones who adapt early so that the rest can follow.  You can also, send out emails or memos about those who use CRM to their benefit and have met or exceeded their targets.

Boosting someone’s morale or encouraging their efforts have worked wonders. You will be surprised how this simple reward and recognition activity affects their productivity and performance. And this will surely convince them to look at CRM as a solution and not as just another technology gimmick.

In the end…

In the end, remember the human element attached to this adaptation process. Work on your empathy. Spend some time getting to know your reps, find out what their pain points are. Because change can be daunting. And it will be foolish to assume that the one-size-fits-all strategy will work here. You will have a mixed back of sales reps, some tenured and some newly appointed ones with varied adoption skills. Understand, acknowledge and encourage your team.

CRM is an investment for your organization, and the adoption of the solution from all team members is crucial to getting the most out of this investment. A well-planned implementation strategy that includes these tips is the best way to get reps to use CRM and experience the benefits that result from widespread compliance.

If you want to know more about CRM user adoption strategy, speak with us.

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