The single biggest cause of failing CRM projects is lack of adoption getting your people to use the system, in other words.
Getting your people, especially your sales staff, to use a CRM system is fundamentally a classic sales job. That is, the project’s benefits must be shown to the staff and they must be educated on how CRM will reduce the pain points that your sales force faces in the selling process.
This takes salesmanship because while the drawbacks of CRM for the sales staff are obvious, the benefits of CRM can be less obvious. This is especially true for those benefits that accrue to management or other departments than to the sales staff. In fact, those benefits, such as better control over the sales effort, are likely to be seen as negatives by the sales staff because they impose a tighter leash on them. They also lead to better tracking of sales efforts, which the sales staff often resents.
In spite of all that, a well-designed CRM system offers big benefits to the sales force and the more they buy into it, the greater the benefits.
This creates a classic sales situation. The job of the salesman (you) is to make the customers (the sales force) aware of problems and pain points they may not recognize and then to show them how your product (CRM) can lessen those pain points. In short, you need to apply what you have been trained to do externally to an internal situation to get buy-in for the CRM effort.
Of course you have the advantage that you can compel compliance from your employees. While there will undoubtedly be a need for some compulsion, you are much better off securing voluntary cooperation through sales tactics. The old saw about leading a horse to water applies here.
Of course, it helps to structure your CRM program so it is as painless as possible for your sales force. This includes things like making sure your workflows are as simple and natural as possible and minimizing the amount of data entry the sales force has to do. Consider this as laying the groundwork for your sales effort.
The central part of selling CRM is to make people, especially the sales force, aware of the benefits CRM will bring them. Contrast these benefits with the problems of the way you do things now.
For example, one of the objections to CRM is the amount of time that has to be sent entering information. While there’s no denying CRM involves more information entry, it also makes it much easier to find that information when you need it again. Compare entering a simple query into a CRM system with digging through piles of notes to try to find the right piece of paper or page in the right notebook.
Above all, your sales effort should stress how CRM helps the sales staff with their ultimate goal: Making more sales and earning more money. For most of the sales staff, this is even more important than ease of use.
Think of pushing CRM as a long-term campaign, not a one-time effort. It takes constant pressure to accept CRM to overcome the negative habits in your sales force.
It’s an effort, but it is worth it.