I previously worked for a news agency with a large team of advertising salespeople of various tenures. The corporate office mandated the use of a customer relationship management tool (CRM) and not surprisingly, the seasoned members of the sales team resisted using it to track and measure their activity.
People with decades of experience were suddenly expected to enter their hard-earned leads into a system that any of their peers could access. They'd heard that management wanted to measure and evaluate their activities with these leads. The team members expressed feeling that their value was being diminished and turning over that information made them feel "no longer necessary". What they weren’t told (not convincingly, at least) was that the CRM was actually going to help them by making their jobs easier and converting more leads to sales.
For all the benefits a CRM can deliver, if the team using it is not convinced of the value, or worse - feels threatened by it, it’ll be a frustrating waste of money.
On the other hand, if the users understand:
- CRM benefits
- the reason management is using it
- that everyone is expected to use it
- how it compliments their current tasks
- it helps them track leads
- it saves them time with automated communication and
- increases their commissions
how can they object?
Here are some tips from our experience working with HubSpot as a Platinum Partner, but also a user of the CRM:
Include Sales Team Members in the Decision Making Team
Bring top sellers into the decision-making process about which CRM to select. They should view the demonstrations and have ample opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. Obviously, there are many factors that go into selection but the sales team’s voice should weigh heavily in the decision.
CRM vendors have certified trainers and onboarding members to help with this process. Work with them to implement the tool and provide training to the sales team. Someone who fully understands the CRM and its capabilities will best communicate to the stakeholders the most effective ways to use it for their best interests.
Communicate the Reasons for the Investment
No one likes surprises so management needs to prepare the team well in advance that a tool to help them capture and nurture sales leads is coming. It will enable them to automate communications with prospects and keep leads from falling through the cracks. For example, reminders will be triggered when leads say “we’ll be ready to invest in a product like yours next year”.
Tasks can be assigned to follow up and emails can be automatically generated. That means the sales team member will get the notifications from the system and if they do leave the company, those important follow-ups are not lost.
Make Using the CRM Mandatory
It is a big investment and to get the expected return, everyone has to be “all in” using the CRM. If people only give it half-effort, the results will not follow and the tool will be blamed. When embraced, CRMs deliver big results so communicate that it is mandatory and all other methods of tracking leads will be phased out and set expectations accordingly.
Showing some patience for those that are slow to adapt while also being firm about expectations can keep your company moving forward. Team leaders demonstrate by example and hold the team accountable for converting to the CRM.
A checklist can be implemented in which each member gets their login, sets up a few accounts, and spends a little time each day learning. And a date to have accounts transitioned should be well monitored.
Offer incentives for team members who find and share the ways they are using the CRM and what functionality makes their daily tasks easier.
Designate a champion/point-of-contact that has a positive outlook and can assist with questions, as well as collect more complicated questions that can be escalated to management or the vendor.
Consistent follow-up is a must. The CRM champion will be fielding a lot of questions as the team gets its hands on it. (If they aren’t getting questions, it should be a signal that the team isn't using it yet) They’ll know the top questions and challenges the team is facing and can share answers with everyone. And the team can bring their questions or concerns to receive support from the point of contact or their teammates.
As the team adopts the tool and starts to make sales, recognize their accomplishments and celebrate the success that comes with more leads and consistent follow-up.
CRMs deliver ROI when used to capacity. Want to know if it'll work for your B2B manufacturing company? Check out the HubSpot ROI calculator and see how profitable it can be.