5 Strategies For Successful Sales CRM Adoption Amongst Your Team
You just purchased a new CRM and you're pumped.
It has cutting-edge features. It integrates with all of the other tools you use every day. And everyone who already uses it says it's the best tool on the market. Heck yes!
You can't stop daydreaming about all the new sales your team is about to make—and the personal success that's bound to follow. Who knows? You might even score a fat raise.
There's just one problem: the sales never come. In fact, a few months after you purchase your shiny new CRM, you notice that your team is closing less deals than they were before.
What gives? It sounds like you might have an issue with CRM adoption…
It doesn't matter how amazing your CRM software is. It won't benefit your company if your sales team doesn't use it. (Actually, it's worse than that. Unused software actively harms small businesses because they end up paying for tools that act as digital dust collectors.)
I don't want that to happen to you, which is why I put together this quick guide to CRM adoption. Keep reading to learn how to integrate your new CRM into your team's workflows.
The Benefits of CRM Adoption
Before I cover the tips, tricks, and best practices you can use to ensure CRM adoption, I want to talk about benefits. Why should your sales team make this topic a top-level priority?
Truth is, CRM adoption is essential to the success of your sales department. When your sales reps buy-in and actually use the tools you've purchased for them, you'll experience:
Higher Productivity Levels
CRM adoption almost always leads to greater productivity.
Once your sales team decides to use your CRM, they can source customer data from one central location rather than searching for it through an endless pile of emails.
Depending on the CRM you invest in, they'll be able to build automated sales workflows, too, which will help them close deals on autopilot.
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CRM adoption will help your sales reps master the art of communication, too.
How so? Most CRMs include email and text messaging functionality, allowing salespeople to strike up conversations with external parties, such as qualified leads.
CRMs can be used to facilitate internal communication as well. Again, depending on your CRM, your reps might be able to message each other inside your CRM system. At the very least, they can share sales notes, simplifying the sales process.
Better Decision-Making Processes
Your CRM platform is loaded with data.
How many prospects do you have? Which stage of the sales funnel are they in? How many are likely to convert into paying customers within the next month? Oh, and which sales activities are the most successful? A quick look at your CRM metrics will tell you these things.
You can then use the information you uncover to make better decisions. For example, you might find that X number of prospects are in the final stage of the buying process. If your reps focus on these prospects, they'll likely close more deals and drive more revenue.
You might also discover that a specific sales activity (such as cold calling) produces above-average results. By doubling down on this strategy, you might make more sales.
Greater Revenue Numbers
All the things we discussed above—higher productivity levels, streamlined communication, and better decision-making processes—will result in more closed deals.
It's inevitable. If your reps accomplish more things in less time, can easily communicate with leads and colleagues, and always know which prospects to pursue, how could they not make more sales? And if they make more sales, your company's bottom line will improve.
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3 CRM Adoption Challenges
If CRM adoption is so beneficial, why can't you get your sales reps to buy in?
There are many reasons why this might be the case, ranging from "you employ ‘lazy’ sales reps" to "you picked the wrong CRM" to "you need to invest in training resources."
Let's take a closer look at each of these three CRM adoption challenges:
Your Reps Are "Lazy"
Your salespeople have specific workflows. A new CRM will disrupt these processes and force your team to reconsider how they close deals. Most of them won't want to do that—even if you pinky swear that the result will be worth the trouble at the front end.
After all, adopting new software is hard work and will almost always lead to lower productivity at first. This transition is a tough pill to swallow when reps already feel crunched for time 24/7.
Your CRM Is a Bad Fit for Your Sales Team
Your user adoption problems may stem from the tool you purchased.
For example, if you manage a small sales team, you probably shouldn't invest in an enterprise solution like Salesforce. Doing so will overwhelm your reps. (It will also force you to spend way too much money with your CRM vendor. But that's a whole other discussion.)
The right CRM for your organization will fit your team's unique sales strategy. It will also integrate with the other tools you already use. If it doesn't, your reps will never adopt it.
If you have no extra funds for a CRM, our guide has you covered–learn how to construct a personalized CRM for sales rep self-management.
You Haven't Trained Your Reps to Use Your CRM
Poor training can lead to CRM adoption issues as well.
Do your best to create an engaging onboarding process for your sales reps. That way, they'll learn exactly how to use your CRM, and actually enjoy the education process.
Once your reps learn how to navigate the CRM solution you've purchased, your CRM user adoption rates will rise because they'll know how to deploy the tool and close deals.
How to Measure CRM Adoption?
CRM adoption is obviously beneficial, despite the numerous challenges it presents.
The question is, how do you measure it for your organization? It's actually pretty straightforward. Just track a few key metrics, such as:
- CRM usage: How many sales reps actively use your CRM? You can answer this question by examining your team's login rate. The higher it is, the better off you'll be.
- Behavior: Login rate will tell you who logs into your CRM, but it won't tell you what they do once they're inside. That's why you need to monitor behavior metrics, too. Record creation, task completion, number of emails sent, etc., fall into this category.
- Feedback: Another way to measure CRM adoption is to simply ask your team members about the tool. Are they using it? Do they like it? What can you do to improve the user experience with your CRM? Just make sure that you take their opinions seriously. Don't ask them for suggestions, then completely disregard their feedback.
- Data quality: Your reps might enter data into your CRM. But if said data is entered incorrectly or sloppily, it won't be useful to your sales team. This might also be a sign that your reps aren't keen on your new system of record. If they were, they'd probably complete data entry tasks more often. To measure data quality, check key metrics regularly.
- Team effectiveness: Finally, do you feel like your team is better off since you invested in this CRM project? Are they closing more deals? Has team morale hit a new high? If the answer is no, you haven't achieved true CRM adoption.
5 Strategies for Successful Sales CRM Adoption
Whew! We've covered a lot so far.
Now it's time for me to share five tips you can use to build an effective CRM adoption strategy.
To help out with this section, I asked my buddy, Sam Queen, a noted sales strategy and customer relationship management expert who's built upwards of 60 CRM accounts for clients to weigh in. Sam really knows his stuff. So sit back, relax, and bask in his knowledge!
1. Lead Your Sales Team
Sam says there's a big difference between leading a sales team and managing one. "Leading your sales team is making them a part of the process. It's letting them get their hands dirty with you and making them feel like it's their decision as well."
In other words, don't tell your sales reps what CRM you want them to use. Ask them to help you narrow down solutions, then choose one that best supports your business processes.
Your salespeople will be more likely to adopt a new CRM if they helped select it.
On a related note, Sam recommends getting buy-in from your department's top performer before you announce software changes to the rest of your team.
He says, "Of course, business owners and sales managers have influence over a company. But when it comes down to it, usually your top performer has the most influence."
If you and your top performer are on the same page, that person will back you up if/when other reps question your new CRM. If you and your top performer aren't on the same page, they'll question you, too, which will sow seeds of doubt throughout your entire team.
2. Create Onboarding and Training Materials
In Sam's experience, "People love to roll out new tech without creating supplemental resources, loom videos, walkthroughs, SOPs, etc." This is obviously a terrible idea.
The problem is you might not know which training materials specific to your organization to create at first, especially if you're not familiar with the new CRM you just purchased.
To start, Sam recommends creating a systems overview document.
"Here's how you connect your email account. Or set up your phone number and voicemail. Here's how you grab an API key for your dev team. Here are the CRM features available in your lead profiles. Here's how to create custom activities for each stage in the sales process."
Once you create your systems overview document, you should store it in an easily accessible place. That way your reps can read through it whenever they need to. Sam likes to use a productivity tool to keep these in, like Monday, Notion, or Asana, but it's your call. Just do you.
One last point: Sam recommends some kind of testing regimen after reps complete the onboarding process for your new CRM, but before they're allowed to use it to make sales. This step ensures every rep understands the new tools at their disposal, which will boost adoption.
3. Ensure Clean Data and Process Adherence
Clean data is crucial to the success of your sales department. Without it, your sales reps won't know what to do, which means they'll probably end up doing nothing at all.
Bottom line: you can only collect clean data if your reps fully adopt your new CRM tool.
Fortunately, there's an easy way to ensure clean data and process adherence: show each of your reps how these things affect their time and the amount of money they can earn.
For example, when your sales reps record prospect objections in your CRM, this information can be seen by your company's marketing team. Marketing can then create content at the top of the funnel to address objections before prospects ever get on the phone with sales reps. The result? Reps can close deals faster because they have fewer objections to overcome.
Of course, for this to work, you need to structure your CRM correctly. In Sam's own words, "If your CRM isn't structured the right way, and your team isn't committed to following that structure, you won't have the data you need." So, pay special attention to your CRM structure.
4. Invest in Sales Workflow Automation
Automation potential is another way to help ensure CRM adoption.
If you give your reps an easy-to-use tool that automates parts of their day-to-day workflows, freeing them up to complete higher-priority tasks, their CRM use rate will naturally go up.
So, what can you automate inside your new CRM? Every platform is different. But when Sam works with clients, he aims to automate as many things as possible, including email message sends, elements of his Facebook ads campaigns, and even entire sales sequences.
Close, for instance, offers the Close Workflow feature, which streamlines and automates lead management, communication, and task assignment, leading to increased productivity and efficiency in your sales team.
Per Sam, this automation leads to an average "20 percent lift in output," for people who either, "Don't use a CRM at all, or use a CRM the wrong way." That's a major upgrade!
5. Build (and Use) Email and SMS Templates
Finally, email and SMS templates can make CRM implementation less intimidating.
Instead of asking your reps to learn a new piece of software and write a dozen messages from scratch, you can simply teach your reps to adjust the templates you've already built, then add them to one of their automated sequences so that they send at appropriate times.
What can you create templates for? Almost anything: to connect with leads who recently viewed your company's website. To send resources after a sales call. To follow up with prospects who were once interested but have recently gone cold. You name it.
One tip Sam shared with me is to "make sure you're very good with naming conventions. That way, your reps can easily find the right templates when they need them."
Get the Most out of Your CRM
Your new CRM is an incredible tool. But it will only benefit your sales team if your reps actively use it. To make sure this happens, focus on boosting your CRM adoption rate.
The five strategies we discussed in this article will help. You just have to lead your sales team (instead of only managing them,) create onboarding and training materials, ensure clean CRM data, invest in sales workflow automation, and use email and SMS templates.
Still looking for a reliable CRM for your sales team? Try Close free for 14 days.
Our platform is perfect for startups and medium-sized businesses. Why? Because it's easy to use but still includes advanced features to solve your sales-related business needs.
Here's the best part: if you want to get the most out of the Close CRM, hire Sam Queen to structure your system and train your team to use it in the most effective way. The upfront investment will be worth it when your team consistently crushes its quotas!