In my work with high-growth small companies who want to scale their businesses. I see a recurring trend. CRM pushback. It is endemic and in my view avoidable. It is also very costly to your organisation. I would estimate that 90% of the CRM implementations I have witnessed end up with almost ZERO or negligible usage. If they are being updated, they shed no insight into sales performance, because there are no guidelines in place to monitor what goes in. You end up with Crap in and Crap Out.

If you want to deal with it effectively, you may need to take a step back and re-assess why you opted for a CRM in the first place.

Diagnose the real issue
In my experience pushback occurs most in teams where these happen
– Senior leadership decide in isolation they need a CRM to “fix the sales problem“. Or to bring more accountability to how salespeople operate. The need to scrutinise what it is they do.
– There is no training given on how to use the CRM.
– No vision that articulates what our world will look like “post CRM introduction”. We just have no idea how it will, or could impact our world.

Some solutions
Firstly, to all sales leaders out there a CRM system will never FIX a sales problem for you. It may create one.
Those of you read my blogs, watch my videos and attend my workshops, know that I am a passionate advocate of using CRM systems. You will also know that my first attempt to roll out a CRM system roughly 15 years ago was an unmitigated disaster.

You see I see myself as a man of action (oh dear). I like to get stuff done. And the new CRM was just another of my projects. So, I did what I see happen every week. I decided without proper consultation to proceed. I had no vision of what it would deliver to the business or team. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

I organised a one-day training session for our team or 25 salespeople. We hired a trainer from the CRM company to deliver training. He was atrocious (true story, a new hire resigned at lunchtime that day!).

It was an inauspicious start, and it went downhill from there. In my rush to implement, I created an environment of confusion and fear. And without a clear vision of what we wanted from the system, we went too far. Too many fields were customised. I introduced too many rules. And there wasn’t consistency in the rules.

One year later. I had to scrap my plans (although in truth there was no plan, just lots of decisions, which were poorly executed). We started all over again.

Firstly, get clear on your vision for how the CRM will deliver for you. It is critical you know what you want from it before you invest in it.
Secondly, see your CRM as a powerful enablement tool. It is NOT a data capture tool. It can be such a powerful platform to free up time and space for your team to be more productive.
Modern CRM systems can
– manage your sales teams diaries.
– become your sales teams task management system
– integrate with your email marketing systems, giving your team unprecedented visibility on what your clients and prospects are reading.
– become your SOLE source for all sales related collateral.
– be your email server
– capture all of your vital sales statistics in instant reporting and dashboards
– do all of this while mobile
Now, I know there are hundreds more APPS and add-ons you can integrate, but as a starting point, the above list is powerful. If used correctly. Just think how many activities you could stop and centralise now. And how much time that would save you. 

Sell the vision NOT the CRM
Here is my question to you. Do you implement a system, or sell the vision?

The vision of a mobile, highly-productive sales eco-system. One that is sales person-centric. One that eliminates time. One that enables you to focus. One that can give you real-time information at the touch of a smartphone button? One that enables sales management and leadership to forecast, measure and improve performance?

Key Takeaways
Pushback is normal. Expect it always. But plan for it. Focus on your vision of success. The outcomes you need and want. The benefits to your team. To your organisation. To you.
Involve the team in the decision. Focus on what you need and strip out the unnecessary. Far too often salespeople are being asked to populate their CRM systems with information nobody ever needs or uses. Keep it simple.

Ensure your team are well trained. And more important than any other step. INSPECT what you EXPECT. Rulebooks are useless without accountability. You must have weekly accountability.
Rule 1 – if it isn’t in our CRM system. It doesn’t exist.
Rule 2 – we only generate reports from our CRM system. If our reports are wrong. We fix the issue (poor accountability or rules). But, we NEVER revert to external reporting (i.e. Using our favourite excel sheets).
Rule 3 – we reward salespeople who leverage the system
Rule 4 – we measure regularly and use our real-time numbers to ask ourselves “how can we do better”?

Regards Ronan

Call me on +353(86) 7732201

Ronan Kilroy | Insthinktive Sales Leadership Ltd. | Blanchardstown, | Dublin 15, | Office 01 8220523

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