With a plethora of CRM’s in the marketplace, how can an SMB choose one...
When a new CRM system is implemented at a company, the way employees are accustomed to working will be changed. Often, they do not see the improvements this system offers in the same way and this will impact their vision that these changes will create. This is the main reason employees resist change and do not use new tools made available to them. Steps need to be taken to transform that resistance to change into adoption, even before you make the purchase.
Today’s CRM is simpler to use, affordable for SMBs, and helps to efficiently manage sales activities. Cloud-based platforms and the growing extensions ecosystem have made the CRM easier to deploy and much less a risk for small and medium-sized businesses. Here are a few tips for a successful CRM project.
The challenge of adopting CRM and how to address it
The first objective of a CRM investment is to increase the effectiveness of sales representatives to accelerate their success that will contribute additional revenue for the company. This new technology addition aims to create value within the company, such as simplifying processes, creating more activity and commitment between the company and its customers, while providing more transparency and collaboration between departments (marketing, customer service, operations and sales). Therefore, you must establish measures before and during commissioning of your CRM to ensure that your employees accept and use it.
Before you start looking for a new CRM, take the time to sit down with the employees who will use it, and understand how they are currently working. You will be able to include their needs in addition to yours and better evaluate the system’s functionalities. Obtaining their consensus and support in order to help them be more efficient and productive will pay off.
The selection process
One might think this is self-evident, but choosing the right CRM will have a big impact on your success. There are hundreds of factors that are part of the selection process, such as budget, functionality, integration, training and support. To accelerate adoption of a CRM by your sales representatives, you should look for an application that will be consistent with their work process and that will minimize the disadvantages. If you do not have an IT team, your research can be limited to easy-to-configure products or you can work with a partner to assist you.
The Secret: Training
Over the years, there have been enormous improvements to user interfaces, navigation, features and more. All of these enhancements have made it easier to use applications, but it takes time to adapt and learn to become an advanced user.
Studies have shown that companies with the lowest CRM adoption rates are the ones that typically gave the manual to read and let employees learn how to use the tool by themselves. By contrast, the firms that have benefited from the highest adoption rates are those that have invested in training their employees.
In general, employees are more resistant to change when the initiative is not their idea. Your representatives use tools right now, be it a home-based, server-based system or Excel spreadsheets. Even if this is not a flawless process, they are used to it and feel efficient. They know where the information is, how to prepare reports, enter their data, track their sales pipeline, track their opportunities, and so on. It’s easy to understand why many of them cling to their old habits despite a new, more efficient system. So you have to break the ice and create new work habits.
It’s important to emphasize that training plays a key role in the success of your CRM adoption even though it may be easy to learn. No matter the size of your business, your employees will not be able to efficiently use or optimize the functionalities of the new CRM without training. It’s also preferred to proceed with learning stages. A process where courses are given in more frequent and shorter sessions is preferable to a long training session. Users will have time to assimilate the information and evolve their use more easily.
It’s better to lead by example. Employees will be encouraged and will have more respect for executives if they also use CRM. Managers will be able to familiarize themselves with the reporting functions and dashboards that provide a detailed overview of sales information and performance. At meetings, they will be able to refer to the data generated by the reports from their sales teams and demonstrate the benefits of the CRM. Initially, executives must define expectations regarding the use of the CRM, because it will impact employee behavior and the speed with which they adopt it.
Reward use with incentives
Motivate your sales team to use the new CRM by giving them a reason for it, knowing that they are stimulated by cash incentives. You could plan a financial incentive or even launch a contest to speed up adoption through points and a competition. A contest for all users who add the most customer and prospect data is a great way to accelerate using the CRM while contributing to the added value that will come of it. Resistance to data entry which is considered a waste of time will be a factor. But entering complete data will save time and resources in the future. So why not reward it?
Do not leave even with the best CRM on autopilot. Make sure your employees perform well and appreciate its efficiency and take advantage of new features. You will be able to avoid many hassles and eventually see a much higher yield.
Designate an ambassador
Create a culture where it’s easy to seek advice when the new system is deployed. You could identify users who are enthusiastic about the CRM as ambassadors. They are the first to adopt the system and they can help you speed up adoption within the company. Their responsibilities are to create new habits and guidelines, ensure data integrity and follow up with users to answer their questions.
In addition, the role of ambassador facilitates the close relationship between users and management in order to address needs and concerns so that results are optimized.
Clean up and append your data
An important factor that should not be overlooked is the quality and integrity of your data in your current systems. When representatives trust the accuracy of information in your systems, they will have more interest in using the CRM. Without trust, adoption will not be there. Most companies have a large gap in the quality of their data, and this is even more important for prospect data.
Data cleansing should be considered as part of your CRM project. You might consider investing in data additions services too. These solutions compare your contact and account or prospect data with data collected from a variety of sources. Then there will be two steps. First, if your data is inaccurate, the service will update it. Subsequently, if the service has additional data on prospects and customers, they will add the information.
You might feel that suggestions will increase the budget of your CRM project. But consider the situation if you do not put in place activities to facilitate adoption. To be successful, efforts must be made with expert advice on CRM deployment.
If you are considering a CRM project, I hope that these good practices will help you to have the success you were hoping for!