A customer relationship management (CRM) system can give you insights about your business you never imagined. It can help you forecast more accurately and earlier than ever before — and scale tall buildings in a single bound.
You get my point. CRM has the potential to be an organizational game changer, but there is a catch and it’s an important one: The value of a CRM system isn’t in the product or the features it offers. It’s how it’s used. And just like anything of value, this takes time.
If you want to get the above results and more, you have to first establish a training program for your sales team: one that helps them create the muscle memory necessary for using and getting the most out of your CRM system. The managers that do this best think of it as one “muscle” at a time, and don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to build each one.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Say you want to run a marathon. You don’t go out and log all 26.2 miles immediately, unless you possess the kind of superhuman strength mentioned in the first paragraph. You start with a few runs a week, a few miles at a time, and gradually increase your distance.
Or say you go to a golf pro for help with your swing. He or she may see 20 things wrong with it, but will have you start by fixing only one of them. The mistake sales managers make all too often is introducing a CRM system in its entirety and expecting success.
Just as with running a marathon and learning a golf game, you need to take an incremental approach to training your salespeople on CRM. This makes the system not only much easier to adopt, it’s how you get your management team the consistency and visibility into the business you’re after.
Where to begin the training
To reach that utopian CRM state, first start with the basics. Have your salespeople focus on logging their prospects in the system from day one. This can be as simple as keeping four or five opportunity fields up to date for several weeks.
Once this becomes automatic for them, and you can see the muscle memory developing, have them start working on the next area. Chances are your salespeople will also begin to see how CRM makes them more productive, which will feed the adoption you’re after.
CRM features are only getting better. Salespeople can sell smarter and faster than ever before. Sales leaders have access to data science that helps them forecast near perfectly. But no matter how innovative CRM technology gets, that big ROI is still dependent on how it’s used. Give your reps the training they need to build these new muscles in your business.