By Dave Brock
The first time a sales manager made this statement to me, in frustration, was about 20 years ago. Since then, it’s become the common complaint I hear from managers (If I had a nickel for every time…….)
It’s what happens next that explains a large part of the problem, I always ask, “Let’s sign onto your CRM system and take a look at what’s going on…..”
You can probably guess what happens. These managers who expect their people to use CRM struggle in using CRM. If they are complaining about the lack of utilization, one would expect they can show the problems within the CRM system. For example, looking at opportunities–explaining what they would expect to see and aren’t. Or accounts, or leads, or….
One would expect them to look at pipeline reports, utilization reports, other reports within the CRM system. But they struggle themselves. Through their clumsiness, it’s clear they aren’t using CRM themselves.
“I have my sales ops team get me all the reports I need from CRM…..” “I don’t need to use CRM, it’s for my team, they aren’t using it!”
It’s not wonder we aren’t getting the value we could and should from the tools we’ve invested in. If managers aren’t using these tools themselves, how can we expect our people to use them?
Yet we mandate CRM compliance….
Some years ago, I faced the same issue with my own sales team. We had invested millions in a CRM system and related tools. We provided training, we set expectations for how these tools could improve their effectiveness and productivity.
But we made the decision to use CRM optional, each sales person could opt in or opt out.
So how did we get people using CRM, how did we get them to recognize the value they might get out of using the tools?
It turned out to be really simple. I used the tools, I did mandate that my management team use the tools. Our request was simple, “Every time we do a review, we will do it in the tool! Every deal review will be done looking at the opportunity in the CRM system. Every account review will be done in the system, every pipeline review and forecast review will be done in the system.”
Of course people grumbled, they were pissed off. They, initially, claimed, “You are making us do additional administrative work!”
But we maintained our position. “When we talk to you about what you are doing, we will use the tools and the data to support our conversations. You don’t have to use them, you only have to use them when we talk to you.”
Pretty quickly, the light bulbs started going on in the minds of the sales people. As we did opportunity reviews, we used the tools to structure our conversations, we could see what had happened, who was involved, the status of the deal, even some of the key issues.
We didn’t have to spend a lot of time in deal reviews understanding what had happened, we would look for that in the CRM …read more
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