CRM User Adoption – Add Accountability

Part 3 – Read Part 1

Often, when we speak with CEOs and other leaders who have implemented a CRM solution in their organization, they are confused about why there is not a faster and more consistent user adoption of the new tool set. Companies make this investment of time and money to give salespeople tools to do their jobs, but they aren’t using it. Why? What did they miss?

Assuming you have already addressed the value and usability of the CRM sales tools, then the missing piece might be accountability. In other words, no one is paying attention. Salespeople, like most people, are looking for the best way to do their job without adding steps to the process. It’s just human nature. Even if the solution provides cool tools and is easy to use, not many people are fans of data entry. If users think no one is paying attention or that the data they are updating doesn’t matter to anyone, they won’t do it. This could mean that users use the tools to help generate beautiful proposals, but updating the pipeline falls to the wayside. Or tracking activities is just an added step that they don’t think anyone cares about.

Connecting pieces of the puzzle for crm user adoption through accountability.
A group of business people assembling jigsaw puzzle. The concept of cooperation, teamwork, help and support in business.

But if the company is using the pipeline to forecast sales, materials, and labor requirements, lack of use can have serious implications. What if the marketing team wants to make sure that sales activities are interspersed with appropriate marketing activities at key times to support the sales process? Or if customer service needs to see conversations that sales people have had with customers to correctly handle a service case? If data isn’t updated regularly, the rest of the process breaks down.

So, this brings us to the third tenet of CRM user adoption which is accountability. But how do you hold salespeople accountable for using the tools?

Example strategies from successful implementations

  • Reporting – Just knowing that someone is watching and receiving regular updates may be enough to motivate some users to fully engage with the solution. Ideally, this would include replacing manual reporting with automated reporting and management dashboards. (Think replacing those unstructured weekly “sales update” emails and spreadsheets with an automated version generated from data directly out of the CRM system.)
  • Show the Value – When we ask sales people why they aren’t tracking their appointments, adding conversation notes, or updating their opportunities, they often tell us that it doesn’t matter. They don’t think it adds value to the organization. But when you show the ways that their activities and forecasts contribute to the overall success of an organization, from sales to customer service to operations, they realize that their sales activities are not happening in an isolated bubble.

Responsibility equals accountability equals ownership. And a sense of ownership is the most powerful weapon a team or organization can have.     

Pat Summitt
  • Gamification – In some cases, users can be very motivated by contests and games within a CRM. Implementing leaderboards, team-based competitions, points, and medals to measure KPIs and track success can be a fun way to encourage user engagement. And a little friendly competition keeps everyone accountable to each other.
  • Incentives, commissions – There’s an old adage that some salespeople are like vending machines: coin-operated. In those cases, the only way to ensure usability may be to tie commissions and incentives to user adoption of the tools. One company we’ve worked with pays 75% of the commission on sales that aren’t fully documented and forecasted in their solution, but the full 100% if they are. It’s very effective for their sales organization.

The bottom line with accountability is that there is no “one size fits all” strategy. A lot of what goes into choosing a strategy depends on the size, demographics, products, and sales processes of a sales force. For example, a team of millennials may be more motivated by gamification and less by financial incentives. Or a large sales team may be hard to manage with sales contests and incentives, but automating reports could bring a big value to users and managers alike.

It’s not too late!

AIM Technologies solutions advisors can work with you to determine the strategy to ramp up CRM user adoption through accountability. We provide training, customization, and reporting to support the ongoing success of the sales team and the organization as a whole. Contact us today to schedule a conversation about how we can help.

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