Thursday, January 13, 2011

CRM Adoption: Why, What & How to Adopt CRM

Most sales organizations leverage some type of CRM (customer relationship management) system to help manage their business activities. And, like any process or system, there are some employees who embrace and adopt and others who don’t.

Initiatives to implement and/or upgrade CRM systems for both B2B and B2C sales teams are different based on the company and industry however many of the CRM adoption challenges seem to be the same.

There are three key questions that need to be answered if you’ve been asked to drive a CRM adoption project at your company:

1) Find out why Reps are not adopting the system today
2) Define what “adoption” means for your company
3) Create a phased in, plan of action to drive adoption

1) Find Out Why Sales Reps Don’t Adopt The System

If you’ve been asked to improve adoption of a CRM system at your company, your first step should be determining why Reps are not using it today. The real root causes for lack of adoption. We recommend setting up some focus groups with sales reps, sales managers and internal business partners like IT and Marketing and talk about the system- both what’s working and what’s not.

It's important not to rely on only anecdotal comments of just a few employees. They may not speak for the majority. Instead meet with a large enough sampling, to truly get your arms around the problem. Ask them to be as specific as possible.

Here are three key reasons we have heard why sales reps don’t adopt: 1) The existing system is too time consuming to use, 2) The employees have a fear of being watched and/or 3) The Sales management team does not participate or actually use the systems themselves.

Some sales teams find the CRM process counter productive, as it takes them away from what they enjoy most- selling – and instead fills their time with data entry and administrative processes. Every company and sale team is unique. Take the time to find out the obstacles for and against CRM adoption at your company.

2) Clearly Define What CRM Implementation Is

Most CRM systems have thousands of features and vast functionality, but only a portion may be leveraged or apply to your business model. Before you can drive adoption, you must define adoption. Discuss these questions with your key stakeholders: What specific CRM behaviors do you expect, when and by whom? What behaviors are most important? What do you want managers to do and what do you want reps to do? What are the business results you expect from full CRM adoption? How will CRM support your business strategy?

As the leader of a CRM adoption initiative, answering these questions is critical, so you can tie your plan of action to the business needs and achieve the desired results.

3) Create and Implement a CRM Adoption Plan

Now that you know the causes for lack of CRM adoption, the definition of adoption in your company and what business results you are trying to drive with CRM, you’re ready to create and implement your CRM adoption plan.

There are many steps you can take to drive adoption, which include:
Lastly and most importantly, lean on your CRM Partner for support. We know that with our customers, we find that when we support them through the journey, the adoption rate is higher and the implementation is smoother.

Happy Selling!