Is it true that sales people hate CRM and want to avoid it at all cost? And, if so, what are the reasons? Is there anything that your organization can do to overcome the problem?
As stated in our May 2018 blog post, “Best Practices to Increase CRM User Adoption,” a Merkle Group study found that 63% of CRM projects fail in large enterprises. And, according to Forrester, 49% of all CRM projects fail. There are several reasons CRM adoption fails, but in most cases, it happens because sales people don’t accept it wholeheartedly.
Sales reps and CRM
Your organization instituted a CRM system to engage more customers and remain competitive in today’s demanding business environment. Its automation capabilities allow sales reps to reduce the time spent on tedious manual tasks to focus on more attention-demanding responsibilities. But while you see the benefits, the members of your sales team may see it as an unnecessary change to their work routine. Some may even argue that selling is about working with people, and that logging information into the CRM system is an annoying activity that hinders instead of helps the establishment and nurturing of customer relationships.
Some of the other common reasons sales reps hate using a CRM solution include:
- Preference for using existing methods – Many sales reps consider that using spreadsheets is much easier and simpler than dealing with the CRM solution’s interface. Since they’re accustomed to using spreadsheets, they find it difficult to switch to a different system. Sales reps think that when all the information (name, contact number, and email address) is on the spreadsheet, what is the point in using a CRM system?
A good CRM system is designed to supersede the limitations of an Excel spreadsheet, making it possible to enter, update and maintain all the necessary information about all of your clients. It is not easy for the sales reps to remember everything – the promises they’ve made to customers, information they have to provide and the questions they are supposed to answer. Yet, as long as a critical mass of your sales reps consider the CRM system a waste of time, adaptation will be low and the chance of your organization’s investment in CRM becoming another failure statistic will be high.
- The belief that the CRM system is a monitoring tool – Many sales reps believe a CRM system is a tool that helps managers keep an eye on them. It is true that a CRM system can record every communication, but members of the sales team need assurance that management won’t use information against them. A CRM system should be used as a means to improve the performance of the sales reps by tracking pertinent information toward that end – not to police them. It will help acceptance of the CRM system if your business has a reputation for transparency in its relationships with employees.
- The feeling that entering data is a time-consuming process – Some sales people think that entering data will take time that could be better spent on their usual selling-related activities. To their point, members of your sales team – especially those used to doing things the old-school way – will have a learning curve in adapting to the new system, and may not see the long-term value in this way of managing customer relationships. Take home message: Using the CRM system probably will require extra time at first, but as your sales team members learn and become more comfortable with it, CRM will be even more time-efficient than each individual’s personal system.
- CRM software is too complex to use – Closely related to Reason Number 3 above, many sales reps think that it is too difficult to work on a CRM system. Again, time – and a good training program – are needed to educate your sales team so they feel confident in their ability to use it successfully, and get up-to-speed as quickly as possible.
- It’s not their job – Sales reps can feel justified in thinking that they were hired to sell, not perform data entry duties. After all, people who choose sales as a career tend to be driven by commissions. In the initial stages, sales reps might think that entering data might not add value to their primary function and earn them bigger rewards. However, a CRM system can improve lead generation and help in nurturing leads. Sales reps can save a good deal of time due to the streamlining of the sales process and a centralized database. As we all know, time is money!
So how to convince your sales reps that the CRM system is there to help them, not hinder, frustrate or spy on them? Writing for Forrester, Kate Leggett, Vice President, Principal Analyst serving application development and delivery professionals, notes that If you don’t get your CRM change management processes right, they will cause any initiative – including your CRM initiative – to fail. Here is a basic guideline:
- Communicate your objectives clearly – It always helps when you can communicate with the team openly and clearly. Explain why CRM is important for the organization as well as for them, and what they can gain by adopt the system.
- Involve your sales team from the start – If you want people in your organization to enthusiastically adopt the CRM system, get buy-in from your sales team. Put your top performer(s) on the CRM decision-making committee so they can evaluate the CRM solutions your organization is considering. Getting their observations and input will help your organization purchase the system that’s the most user-friendly and best suited for your sales team.
- Always be open to feedback and suggestions from your sales team – Without any doubt, sales is one of the core functions of every organization. If you are receptive to the needs and complaints of your sales people, there should be no reason for them not to give their support.
- Explain how important CRM is to the sales function – It is not all that difficult to make your sales people understand the significance of having a single source of customer information. Explain to your team members that CRM adoption will result in developing stronger relationships with their customers and make them happier – which should lead to more sales.
- Buy an intuitive, user-friendly CRM system – No matter how technically advanced or how many features it has, a system that your sales staff doesn’t feel comfortable using won’t be used. Again, involving your team members in the selection process should eliminate this issue.
Speaking of the selection process, we invite you to evaluate eZnet CRM for your organization. Designed to be a comprehensive CRM solution, eZnet CRM is user-friendly, easy to customize and scale, and has excellent vendor support. Contact us to learn more, and start your free 30-day trial.