Tuesday, December 16, 2008

6 Ways to Get Sales to Adopt CRM Systems

As refined as today's CRM systems are, they suffer from an age-old problem; sales rep adoption. They have come a long way in terms of usability, configurability, and universal access, but the problem still remains. The good news is that we as marketers can help to tackle that problem, and in doing so, gain a lot of goodwill with the folks over in sales management.

The thing that we as marketers bring to the table is on the "carrot" rather than "stick" side of the equation. Rather than enforcing adoption through techniques such as commision hold-backs or managerial review, we have the unique opportunity to encourage adoption by making a CRM system (whether Siebel On Demand, Salesforce.com, or Dynamics CRM) into a place where sales people receive enough value to want to adopt it.

How can you do that?

  1. All lead flow should be directly into your CRM system. If you have done your work on scoring and qualifying leads to the point that they are truly sales ready, then sales will be eager to receive these leads. See comments on lead scoring here for more: http://digitalbodylanguage.blogspot.com/2008/12/dimensions-of-lead-scoring.html

  2. Show how you're marketing to them. Sales wants to know what messages their prospects have received in order to prepare for conversations with them. Ensure your outbound communications are logged against the recipient record in your CRM system

  3. Show what each prospect is interested in. What emails did they read? What did they see on the website? What searches did they do? What forms did they submit? Sales can be more prepared for a call if they know what prospect hot buttons are.

  4. Show both the explicit (who they are) and implicit (how interested are they) score in the prospect's record in your CRM system. It gives a good quick perspective as to whether they are worth putting in a call to.

  5. Show them their Territory visually. For each rep, show them their accounts, rolled up by Activities and Implicit Score over the past few weeks in order to give them a prioritized calling list in Red/Yellow/Green highlights.

  6. Give them an out - expose one or two nurture marketing programs or lead-rewarming programs to them that allow them to drop cold leads in and have them kept warm by your marketing programs until they are ready to buy. More on that here http://digitalbodylanguage.blogspot.com/2008/12/giving-sales-out.html

Getting sales to successful and eagerly adopt your CRM system is a good thing for more than just the sales team. If you are looking to better understand your marketing campaigns through to pipeline and revenue, you need strong sales adoption of CRM throughout the pipeline. By giving them reasons to adopt you not only strengthen your relationship with sales management, but you help out your own ability to analyze marketing efforts.

Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
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