How to Get Your Sales Team On Board With Your CRM

How to Get Your Sales Team On Board With Your CRM

By Cali ThomsonApr 7 /2016

sales-team-crm.jpgIt’s no secret. Sales reps aren’t particularly fond of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. They’d rather be playing the field, meeting new people, chatting it up with prospects … not tied to a desk learning how to use new software or inputting data. And like rebels, they aren’t afraid to revolt against CRM adoption initiatives. In their minds, every minute spent fussing with CRM is a minute that could have contributed to their next sale.

But they’re missing the bigger picture:

CRM systems actually help salespeople sell more, sell better and sell faster.

As a sales manager, business executive or CMO, you’ve got your finger on the pulse of your industry; you’ve felt the beat of change, the buyer’s journey dramatically shifted, and because sales reps are only called in for the final 30 percent of the buyer’s excursion, the sales process must adapt.

How does sales stake a claim in the other 70 percent? They need data—stat! Enter … your CRM system. Like a defibrillator jumpstarts a heart, a CRM system completely changes the pulse of your sales process by centralizing loads of information about prospects and empowering sales reps to take more calculated action in their pursuit of a sale. The result?

  • Greater insight
  • Higher productivity
  • Shorter sales cycle
  • Increased revenue
  • Marketing and sales alignment

But the struggle remains. Sales people adamantly dig their heals and leaders routinely ask, How can I get my sales teams to not only use our CRM system, but use it appropriately?

1. Choose the Right CRM System for Your Team

One size doesn’t necessarily fit all when it comes to CRM systems. Your best bet for getting sales teams to fully adopt one is to involve them in the process. Find out what their greatest difficulties are and select a CRM that will solve those difficulties.

Likewise, don’t overwhelm them with tools and features they don’t need. Ideally, your CRM system should:

  • Be customizable to meet the exact demands of your industry and sales process
  • Seamlessly integrate with your other softwares (email, phone system, marketing automation, etc.)
  • Automate a variety of responsibilities, including the logging of interactions between sales reps and prospects
  • Provide high-level stats (for example, calls, emails, meeting activities, sales forecasts and progress notes about deals in play)
  • Be intuitive, easy to learn and easy to use

One way to ensure you pick the right CRM system is to split your sales team into groups and have them sample different products. Because most CRM systems exist in the cloud, they are super easy (and usually free) to test drive.

2. Educate Sales Reps On Closed Loop Reporting

When an organization’s CRM system and marketing automation software are perfectly in tune with each other, information circulates between sales and marketing, and the entire marketing and sales process comes to life.

  • Loads of data is collected in one centralized location
  • Bottom-funnel intel from sales makes it back to marketing
  • Marketing uses this information to improve persona profiles and campaign targeting
  • Higher quality leads are obtained
  • Sales reps observe the exact steps their prospects take to become customers

With this information sales reps no longer need to guess when they should reach out to a prospect, what that prospect really wants or needs, and what that first conversation should focus on. The CRM system tells them.

3. Create Healthy Competition

Alleviate the pressure of learning a new system by making CRM adoption fun. One way to do this is to turn CRM system usage into a competition to incentivize adoption. The best part is the system will track competitors for you!

  • Create a point system for fields salespeople should fill out within the CRM system
  • Pass out points to salespeople for number of contacts they add to the CRM vs. leads taken
  • Publicly reward those who reach a victory using the CRM system
  • Make a leadership board to highlight frontrunners

Note: Healthy competition is an excellent motivational tool, but be careful not to create too much negativity around those lagging behind. Negative reinforcement hardly ever produces results. Instead, uplift these individuals by offering special promotions or opportunities to catch up. The goal here is to bring your entire sales team up to speed—not segregate front-runners from the rest of the pack.

4. Provide Adequate Training

It’s not a good idea to drop a CRM system on your sales team, demand adoption and then walk away. Think back to the main reason why salespeople refuse CRM systems: They struggle to justify the time required to learn and use it regularly.

To combat this issue, provide mandatory training. Training will ensure your sales reps learn how to use all the tools at their disposal. It will also help them realize the value of the system by seeing all that it can do.

To help make mandatory training go down easier, schedule it at the beginning of the month, when pressure to make sales quotas is at its lightest.

Having trouble finding the right resources for your sales team? Try using HubSpot Sales Certification as an educational tool.

5. Follow Up Once

Once they’ve been at it a while, follow up with your sales reps to see what they like and dislike about the CRM system. If they are struggling with a particular aspect—address it head on and offer some sort of resolution. Maybe it’s additional training, or a cheat sheet with tips and tricks to help them navigate the system with greater ease. Ultimately, you want to find out about frustrations before they snowball into a department-wide revolt over the system.

6. Don’t Make Exceptions

Heads up! Your top sellers will likely come to you at some point asking to be an exception to the rule. As the lead revenue generators at your company, they have some weight to throw around (and likely some higher-up connections, too). But don’t let their success cast a shadow on CRM adoption. Mark my words—if you make exceptions for them, it will send a very strong message to the rest of your sales team that CRM adoption is optional, and the initiative will flatline.

Overall, be positive as you push adoption and try to make it fun. Put on your salesperson pants and help your reps see the value in CRM systems. Get them excited about the prospect of a whole new (better) way to sell and choose a system that directly addresses their pain points and makes their job easier.

How Kuno Creative Chose a CRM

Because CRM systems are such an important part of sales and marketing alignment, there are numerous popular solutions on the market. At Kuno Creative, we wanted a CRM system that offered native integration with HubSpot, our marketing and sales platform. Our list of prospective CRMs included:

We chose to run with Salesforce, which worked out great. But eventually we transitioned into the HubSpot CRM to expand our capabilities. The transition was simple and straightforward, and only took two weeks to complete.

What was the main reason we made the switch? A popular answer would be that “it’s free” and comes with the HubSpot sales and marketing software we already had. And this makes it a great choice for many SMBs that haven’t already invested in another CRM.

But it was the easy-to-use features that sealed our decision to make the switch. The HubSpot CRM is specifically designed to make the job of a salesperson, not a sales manager, easier. It takes less time for salespeople to enter information into the system by automating the entry of calls, emails and meetings. It also takes less time for sales managers to train salespeople how to use it or to view productivity KPIs for each rep. All this saved time can be better used improving the sales process by analyzing the lead intelligence data that is automatically integrated from the sales and marketing side of the platform.

We also discovered that many of our mid-sized and large clients used more complex CRM systems, but often many of the advanced workflow and reporting features were made for managers and were rarely used by anyone in the organization. Often these CRM systems evolved over time to become glorified Rolodexes for salespeople and it was time-consuming and cumbersome to keep them updated with real-time lead intelligence and sales communications.

Now, Kuno’s marketing automation efforts go further through the buyer’s journey, and the sales team has access to numerous tools that assist with the final 30 percent stretch of the buyer’s journey, including:

  • An integrated resource center for sales content
  • A free database of more than 30 million companies for prospecting
  • Lead intelligence for Sidekick (a sales acceleration tool that provides contextual data)

Want a consultation or demo on how we use the HubSpot CRM to achieve marketing and sales greatness? Contact us today.

Sales Enablement and CRM guide

Cali Thomson
The Author

Cali Thomson

Cali has extensive knowledge and experience in sales and marketing with a passion for helping companies grow and drive profitability. Prior to joining Kuno Creative, she oversaw a business unit for a major healthcare manufacturing company. Cali is a graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor's degree in business management.