Strengthening the Link between Sales and CRM Software

22 Apr 2024

Graham, our MD, wrote this article a while back. It is all about getting your sales team on board with your CRM system. He discussed 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 sales team! You want the whole business 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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Why isn’t my team more excited about CRM?

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

It’s easy for people to think of a system at work as something that is inflicted on them by management. And notice I didn’t say salespeople—we’re all guilty of it from time to time. 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, you import data, create fields, and customise templates. Everyone must learn how to use it, and your teams must incorporate it into their tried-and-tested processes.

All of that takes work, time, effort…and, of course, a dedicated CRM strategy.

But the payoff after this bedding-in period is huge. You’ll gain increased efficiency, improved productivity, and, ultimately, a better bottom line.

You need your team to feel that the system is as much theirs as it is management’s. Then, they’ll feel that those benefits also belong to them. You need your team to fall in love with your new CRM system for its many benefits rather than loath using it just because it’s ‘different’!

In other words, they will benefit when the system works, and it is, therefore, in their best interest to make it work well. This can sometimes be a tricky sell, but as long as you draw that highlighter pen through those benefits on paper, the understanding will be present, and the good folks using the system will want to make it work!

How do I encourage ownership?

As mentioned in Graham’s blog, bringing your team into the initial searching and configuration will help. You could also include them in regularly reviewing. But there are other things you can do…

Automated Reporting and Helpful Dashboards

Letting the team see the real-world 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. This will (hopefully) encourage them to help by adding that rich information. They should understand the value of accurate and up to date data. Once they do, they will always strive to make sure the system stays that way.

Scheduling weekly or monthly Reports will show your sales team the progress of their ongoing Opportunities right from within the belly of your new CRM system. Similarly, adding graphs of their pipeline to their dashboard will let them get up-to-date information in an easily digestible format. As salespeople, we always keep an idea of our monthly targets and where we are with them in our heads. But having that definitive data presented in a way that can be understood at a glance is priceless!

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 management’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 can discuss all that significant 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.

You may need to make changes and adjust the system to fit your business better. And by having those regular meetings and analyzing your data and processes, you can either change your processes slightly or customise your CRM system to fit your business better. (All the more reason to opt for a customisable CRM product…like OpenCRM)

This all sends a message to your sales team that this new CRM system is being implemented for their benefit as much as yours. They’ll start to think about other ways to improve how they use it. Once you start to see that, you know the guys and girls using it are really starting to take ownership.

Encourage Problem Solving

Sometimes, your team will have questions about this new system you’ve implemented, and the first place they will come is to you. And that’s great, but what about the instances when you don’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. Again, that is all the more reason to go with OpenCRM! We have a chat widget throughout the whole system. If you get stuck with anything, it’s as simple as clicking the widget and saying hello. Our wonderful support techs will take the lead from there!

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.