How to get your sales reps to use your CRM

So you went through the huge process of choosing a CRM. From online research to sales exhibitions and recommendations from colleagues and friends in the industry. After collating everything in a massive spreadsheet, you got approval from management to implement the new CRM from your chosen software partner. Of course, BuddyCRM is delighted to have you using our product! But…how do you get your sales team to embrace it?

Having a CRM system in place can be incredibly beneficial to staying organised and knowing where in the sales process a particular client is at any given time—but only if your sales reps are actually using it.

Despite the obvious advantages that using a CRM provides, sometimes in-house adoption is often slow within the ranks of the sales team. Why is there resistance to this innovation?

Well, mostly it’s change – nobody likes change. The status quo for many seems to be working because they are used to it.

And if that’s not enough, CRM’s are often forced upon sales teams with little involvement from everyday users. We addressed that in a previous post – have a plan to succeed.

As salespeople become proficient with the new CRM platform though, they’ll start to see the personal benefits of using the platform. During the introduction and training phase, however, convincing resistant reps to use a CRM requires direction – from the sales team leader and management.

Here are some useful tips on how to get sales reps to use CRM:

Show the team what’s in it for them

Part of the reason sales reps put up a fight when it comes to CRM usage is that they believe the whole thing is being put in place to benefit management (and maybe to do away with their job). While it’s true that management benefit from a greater understanding and awareness of how sales are doing, the sales team will benefit even more from being able to identify opportunities sooner, maximising their talents on accounts that are more likely to close, and recognising best practice in the team.

To ensure CRM adoption, your sales reps need to know that the system is useful for them, and not just a management oversight tool. Demonstrate the benefits; how they’ll be more productive and even with regular use how administrative tasks that they have to do anyway will melt away. Automatic reporting in BuddyCRM means no more collation of spreadsheets from all the team members and the opportunity management screens should be an obvious win for sales reps. If they see using BuddyCRM will make selling easier and faster, they are more likely to get into the habit of using it.

We talked about appointing a CRM champion previously as a great way to get sales reps’ to buy-in by seeing someone else have success in using the CRM system. Ask that CRM champion, rather than management, to conduct a training session at the end of the regular sales meeting  and the team will see that if Joe (or Jo) can do it then anyone can!

Introduce the CRM abilities in stages

In many cases the sales team will resort to the excuse that they are too busy or the CRM is not user-friendly. Investing time in learning a new system is a fact, and it’s this time factor that can build resistance.

Where will the sales reps get the time if they’re being pushed to do more appointments, bring in more leads and create more sales?

To counter this, introduce BuddyCRM in steps rather than a marathon session to show every feature and tool within the system. Introduce a few key features, like account records and appointment setting and move on to opportunities, pipelines, reports etc at a manageable pace over the next few months.

Getting sales reps to see the benefits of checking their account record first, before calling or visiting, to see the history of contact with the client can be an immediate win for all. Appointment setting and generating a quote are also good first features to demonstrate how useful BuddyCRM will be in their daily lives.

Once they have adopted these tools, they will likely be convinced of the benefit they offer and be more apt to learn the rest on their own. As more features are revealed over the months, the more likely the team is to buy into it.

The power of mobile

With reps often out on the road, the immediate benefit of an always available and up-to-date mobile connection to customer records should be pointed out to them. BuddyCRM’s iOS app lets sales members update their appointments in the app reducing the need for tiresome administration later in the day. Adding information while it’s fresh means a greater chance of recording it accurately

Communicate that CRM is now the de facto, and is not an option

A total buy-in is necessary by you and the team. There mustn’t be any hint that ‘we’re just giving it a chance to see how it goes’, because if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile!

Your new CRM is not a voluntary system, it is compulsory and if it is to become the “new normal” they must accept. While you should focus on the fact that the system is in place for their benefit, there must also be an agreement between managers and salespeople on the expectations around CRM compliance.

In future sales meetings, work from the reports generated in BuddyCRM live on-screen with your team members. Show them that you expect opportunities and leads to be entered in to the system and how when they do that everyone can benefit. You need to see that information to know how well things are going, to create accurate budgeting and sales targets for the year. Individual opportunities can then be discussed and best practice can be demonstrated to the team. Why did this sale close so quickly? How can we learn from that particular method and bring it into to play for other clients?

Address resistance through ownership of opportunities

Hesitancies to use CRM arise from salespeople who are concerned about the added accountability that comes from formally creating an opportunity in the system. They may feel that once an opportunity is created they will be judged on whether it not it comes to fruition. This can be combatted in the CRM by giving reps the ability to say what stage that opportunity is in. Buddy CRM’s opportunity manager lets the sales person assign the opportunity a probability of closure through a series of questions to generate a % or a straight manual entry. With reps in control of whether they believe an opportunity is good or not, they’ll be more likely to reveal all leads and opportunities, giving management and other team members the chance to contribute and help to close a sale.

Wrapping it all up

BuddyCRM is an investment in and for your organisation, and the adoption of the platform from all team members is critical to getting the most out of this investment. Plan to implement it throughout the team in a co-ordinated, managed way and you’ll see your sales reps benefit and ultimately your entire business. We’ve got many examples of sales teams that have been transformed by Buddy and you can read more about their stories here.

Got any questions?
Give us a call on 0121 288 0808