5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your CRM


Sales people everywhere share a common complaint. Regardless of industry, product, service, or company, all sales people feel they spend too much time on administrative tasks versus selling. In fact a recent data point suggests that the average sales person spends less than 20% of their time selling while the remaining 80% is spent on tasks such as recording sales data, completely expense reports, submitting weekly activity reports, or worse attending meetings.

Many sales people are reluctant to use a sales CRM tool. They view it as just one more thing to clog their day of wasted time. Early adoption rates of these tools is low, often times taking more than 18 months for the sales people to embrace and use consistently. Given the cost of these tools how can businesses reduce the ramp time and begin to turn a positive ROI? Here are 5 things you should be doing to accelerate adoption of your sales CRM tool and improve your team’s sales performance:

1. Learn the tool yourself. No you don’t have to be a power user, but know your CRM’s capabilities. If possible hire an expert. An internal resource is one of the best investments a business can make in maximizing their CRM’s power. Too often a business views the cost of a CRM system as “all in”. If the dollars are there and you have a choice between hiring another sales rep or hiring an analyst dedicated to running your CRM, hire the analyst. Like having an airplane without a pilot, a CRM is useless unless you have a skilled operator running it.
2. Have a point of view on how a CRM will improve sales results on an individual level. Remember, WIFM? What’s In It For Me? Sales people don’t really care how this tool will improve team performance. What they really care about is how it will help them. Without a clear picture of how using the CRM will help them be more productive, sell more and make more money, it’s likely that introducing a CRM tool will fall flat. Show people how they can accomplish their goals using it and they will embrace it. Make it clear, make it simple, and provide the training and support to educate.
3. Build a dashboard. Identify key metrics for your business. How many calls, appointments, referrals, sales, etc. Identify required sales activity levels such as how often to contact a prospect or referral source. Set up your dashboard to provide you with a clear and instant snapshot of your sales team’s activity and their associated results. Make these dashboards available to the entire sales team. People by nature like to know where they are, where they’re headed, and if they’re on track. Dashboard’s provide a simple way of keeping up to speed.
4. Modify your regular sales management and coaching meetings to include a CRM review. The saying, “inspect what you expect” couldn’t be more appropriate when it comes to ensuring compliance with sales people inputting their activity and results into a CRM. If you conduct weekly 1:1s with your sales team make sure that some portion of that meeting includes a review of their numbers. Require the sales person to provide you with a print out of their results directly from the CRM itself. Do not accept a handwritten report. Some things are simply not negotiable.
5. Establish regular reviews with Finance. One of the more common complaints about CRM systems is the quality of the information contained within. Meet with your Finance counterpart to bring them into the process when implementing a CRM tool and for the ongoing management of it. By working together on a regular basis you will be able to identify data discrepancies and work together to correct them. The inclusion of Finance will help build trust between Sales and Finance and the integrity of the data produced.

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