The promises of Customer Relationship Management systems (i.e. Salesforce.com) are alluring, and when well-executed, CRM is a powerful business tool. Unfortunately, there are a number of barriers for driving your teams CRM adoption including:
- The "hunter" nature of your typical sales executive
- The quality of your data
- The complexity of your system
But when you have total CRM adoption, you uncover great benefits for your team and your company, including improved:
- Prioritization of leads, contacts, and opportunities
- Management of your customer and prospect relationships
- Sales team communication
- Sales pipeline visibility
Based on our experience managing CRM systems for various companies, we have compiled 6 best practices that will help your relationship sales executives engage with your CRM.
1. Design your CRM around your processes:
CRM systems, while powerful, are often too complex right out-of-the-box. Most companies start with a complex CRM and add to it rather than first simplifying its structure. This almost guarantees that significant CRM adoption will fail. Two classic examples we often see are:
- Companies using ‘Leads’ and ‘Opportunities’ when these levels aren’t necessary
- Over-reliance on scheduling future actions
2. Collect less data:
Do you maintain a field for fax numbers in your CRM, when you know few contacts actually use a fax machine? Almost every company we’ve helped started with a CRM setup that was too complicated. We recommend eliminating all but the essential fields to simplify the process of adding new records and finding key information, thus encouraging the input of relevant information.
3. Configure your CRM to avoid data duplication:
Nothing decreases the value of a CRM more than duplicate data. Most CRM systems allow you to validate data entered to prevent duplication. If your CRM doesn’t require such validation, run a simple search to check for yourself before adding a new contact or account. This small step will certainly save you from headaches in the future.
4. Leverage an assistant:
Relationship-focused sales executives aren’t built to focus on administrative processes. So rather than requiring them to enter data, free them up to focus on closing deals by offloading repetitive processes--like data entry--to an assistant.
5. Copy all communication to your CRM:
CRM provides a central database for all client and prospect communication. Most CRMs allow you to easily BCC emails to the CRM system. We encourage this practice as it improves coordination of communication across teams by building an outreach history for each contact.
6. Leverage views:
Most companies rely on reports to track outreach. Such static lists of data simply aren’t as effective as dynamic action lists, used by most CRMs, called “views.” Views allow you to manage actions and collaborate better with your team without spending hours sorting through reports.
Prialto believes that the first step to improve daily process and communication between you and your team, or your assistant, is to simplify key tools, such as your CRM. While we believe in the benefits it brings to companies, we realize that most systems are initially too complicated.
Follow the steps above, and you will improve team communication and encourage CRM adoption.