How to Overcome These 3 CRM Challenges & Empower Sales Teams
Customer relationship management (CRM) technology is essential for businesses that want to put their customers first and maximize customer satisfaction. Global CRM revenue catapulted from $13.93 billion in 2010 to $39.5 billion in 2017, showing just how much businesses now prioritize investment in CRM technology to facilitate continued growth.
Leading CRM technology apps, including Microsoft Dynamics 365, helps companies unify customer and sales data, and discover valuable new insights.
Why Sales Teams Need CRM
The crux of using CRM for sales is an integrated view of each relationship that empowers teams to see where they are with every lead, opportunity and account.
Communication is enhanced because data isn’t spread across silos enabling sales professionals to quickly familiarize themselves with each customer’s unique needs, pain points, and preferences. And as a result, they are able to improve service, build relationships and increase selling opportunities.
Connected CRM systems help everyone work smarter by automating routine tasks to reduce administration which frees teams to focus more time on what they do best – selling.
However, when implementing any CRM technology, it’s imperative to be aware of 3 important sales challenges that need to be addressed whether you are migrating from a tool that you’ve outgrown, or if this is your first CRM system.
#1 Choosing the best CRM technology
The idea that CRM technology helps sales is indisputable. Consider the statistic that CRM can increase revenue by 41% per sales person. Or, arguably even more compelling is that statistic that CRM delivers an average ROI of $8.71 for every dollar spent.
These stats alone should be evidence enough for implementing CRM but how does this technology translate into benefits for sales teams?
There are no shortage of solutions for cloud and on-premise solutions, as well as apps designed for sales, and those aligned to specific industries.
Your sales staff will inevitably have ongoing CRM questions and issues, that’s part and parcel of adopting any new tool. These will need to be answered promptly to avoid downtime and counter the threat this poses to user adoption if individuals use this as an excuse to revert back to old systems and processes.
Regardless of your chosen CRM product, you need to be sure that knowledgeable support is easily accessible, either directly with the manufacturer, or via a strong partner network.
Another increasing priority when choosing a CRM solution for sales, is to understand what insights each solution has the capability to deliver.
Through integration and apps infused with artificial intelligence, modern solutions such as Dynamics 365 proactively guide sales users by promoting suggested actions and help everyone discover new insights that boost productivity and increase performance.
For example, this can include insights from LinkedIn to help to start conversations and progress opportunities. Further AI capabilities designed to maximize productivity include predictive lead scoring and promoting suggested actions in response to customer emails and recent notes.
Other factors worth considering include the flexibility of the platform to fit your business processes as they evolve, and what potential this offers to scale up and support your growth.
#2 Effectively Training Sales Staff
Another crucial challenge will be to effectively onboard your sales staff in using your CRM system.
Effective sales skills training should not be considered a one-off thing, and CRM onboarding is an essential part of this sales training.
When quizzed about their reluctance to use CRM tools, sales personnel often cite complications compared to what they are used to, and a belief that CRM is simply a way to keep an eye on them and monitor their performance.
The only way to address this challenge is to demonstrate why change is needed, how the chosen system will benefit individual sales professionals, and what’s in it for them.
This must be followed by a structured training program that properly familiarizes all sales staff with your CRM technology, ensuring they are ready for its implementation before it goes live.
CRM projects have the best chance of succeeding when sales reps are empowered through effective on-boarding training, and then have access to ongoing support and tuition post-implementation to develop their user skills.
In many cases of failed or under-performing projects, poor communication and a lack of support are more significant factors rather than apportioning blame to sales users or the technology.
Sales managers often underestimate how much time and resources are needed to get their team up to speed with a new CRM system. That’s why savvy leaders ensure they partner with a specialist consultancy that combines technology expertise with a clear understanding of what matters most to sales teams to grab and keep attention spans.
Another issue that can arise if CRM training is left to internal IT resources will be function-driven tuition rather than a process-driven approach. Sales reps need to know how to use the CRM application will work within the context of their role. They don’t need to know about all its functionality which will not be relevant to them.
#3 Changing the Company Culture
Implementing or changing CRM technology implies a big shift in daily operations. Some sales staff will embrace that change while others may be fearful or resistant. Often, this is likened to the 5 stages of grief.
Some sales reps might worry that focusing too much on technology reduces the most important element of sales, which is the human connection.
However as we’ve explained, CRM technology is designed to liberate sales professionals from repetitive admin work which frees them to better focus their efforts on developing relationships, generating leads and winning deals.
It’s important, to get everyone on board with CRM to convey this shift in company culture while reassuring everyone that the technology will help them improve performance and is not there to simply keep tabs on them or replace their role.
Leaders will drive this change, and have much to gain from it, and as such, they must be visibly committed to CRM. That’s means using it, championing it and pushing for continual improvement.
Clearly convey the benefits of CRM to your staff, highlighting how the combination of their sales experience with an intuitive CRM solution will reap dividends both for individual and company alike.
By bringing CRM data into sales meeting and internal discussions this technology will quickly become part of your company’s culture.
As part of the process to drive change and demonstrate that CRM isn’t optional, when it comes to reporting and recognition sales leaders often take the view that if data isn’t stored in CRM, it doesn’t exist.
Choosing the right product, ensuring users receive sufficient training, and shifting the company culture are three primary challenges when you implement a new CRM tool. Adequately address these and you’ll give your company the best platform to quickly achieve payback from your investment.