Strengthening the Link between Sales and CRM Software

14 Oct 2019

A few weeks ago, our MD wrote an article all about how to get your sales team on board with your CRM system. He talked about why there is often such a disconnect and gave some practical advice on how to address this.

Once you’ve implemented these tips and have your sales team happily using your CRM system, that’s the end of the battle, right?

No, of course not!

You don’t want to stop at your teams just USING your CRM system. You want them to engage with, improve the usage of, maximise the data within, and think about the best ways to implement the newest features of your CRM.

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Yes…why isn’t my sales team more excited about CRM?

In my opinion, the way to get your team excited about your CRM solution (or really any new system) all comes down to ownership.

It’s easy for people (and notice I didn’t say salespeople—we’re all guilty of it from time to time) to think of a system at work as something that is inflicted on them by management. Because there’s a learning curve involved, it can feel like a chore to start using it. Then, instead of focusing on the benefits, they only see the work involved in getting there.

When you invest in a new CRM system, there’s data to import, fields to create, templates to customise, and everyone must learn how to use it. Your sales and other teams also have to incorporate it into their tried and tested processes.

All of that takes work, time, and effort (and a dedicated CRM strategy).

But the payoff after this bedding in period is huge—increased efficiency, improved productivity, and (at the end of the day) a better bottom line.

If someone feels that the system is as much theirs as it is management’s, then they’ll feel that those benefits also belong to them.

In other words, they will benefit when the system works, and it is therefore in their interest to make it work well.

How do I encourage ownership?

As mentioned in Graham’s blog, bringing your team into the initial searching and configuration will help, (as well as including them in regularly reviewing) but there are other things you can do…

Automated Reporting and Helpful Dashboards

Showing people the actual results of their hard work is a big step in giving ownership. It lets them see the benefit of having rich data in the system…which will hopefully encourage them to help by adding that rich information.

Scheduling weekly or monthly Reports will show your sales team the progress of their ongoing Opportunities in your new CRM. Similarly adding graphs of their pipeline to their dashboard will let them get up to date information in an easily digestible format.

These are just two examples of ways you can show your sales team the benefit of all of their hard work. And the best news is that both require them to use your CRM system. Suddenly, that system becomes a tool that they can use to keep track of their progress, instead of a chore for someone else’s benefit.

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Make it part of Regular Meetings

If you include the use of and the results from your CRM usage as part of your regular sales meetings, you be able to discuss all that great data. But perhaps more importantly, you will hear about any frustrations your sales team has with using it.

Some of these frustrations will be your normal “I don’t want to do this at all” complaints. And those aren’t the point of this exercise.

But the complaints and frustrations that highlight places where your processes don’t mix with your new system or where there isn’t a good place for certain types of data…that is useful.

Because you can make changes and adjust the system to better fit your business.

This all sends a message to your sales team that this new CRM system is something that is being implemented for their benefit as much as yours. They will start to think about other ways they could improve the way they interact with it and that is a big part of taking ownership of a thing.

Encourage Problem Solving

Sometimes your team will have questions about this new system you’ve implemented and the first place they will come is right to you. And that’s great, but sometimes you won’t have time to answer their questions…or even cases where you don’t know the answer.

Instead of acting as an intermediary all the time, why not encourage your team to chat with your provider when they’ve got a quick how to? This can help them feel like it is their system they are asking about.

The added bonus is that they’ll be gaining knowledge they can share with the rest of your team, making them feel good about their usage of the system.

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All of the above advice has come from my experience as someone involved with supporting our customers, being part of a team adopting new technologies, and helping our own new starters build confidence in the tools that we use here at OpenCRM.

I’m not an expert by any means, so if you have any other tips and tricks you have found useful, please just click the chat button below to get in touch. We’d love to hear your ideas.

Ashley Tallyn
Ashley Tallyn
Although I originally hail from northern California, as soon as I arrived in Yorkshire I knew it was the place for me! At OpenCRM, I started out in the Business Development team, and then moved into compliance and Q&A because I love telling people what to do...ok, that's not the real reason, but it makes for a good bio one-liner. When I’m not in the office, you can usually find me tramping through the dales, crafting, gardening, or with my nose in a book.