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Joe The Salesrep and CRM User Adoption

Lee Allgood, a colleague from my days consulting with ERP provider MAPICS, sent me an email referencing a March 2008 survey performed by Sand Hill Group and Neochange.

Although the survey looked at enterprise software success from the software company’s perspective, some of the findings resonate with what we know about process alignment and user adoption related to CRM and Sales 2.0 implementations.

This is from the press release:

When asked how to best define “enterprise software success,” both providers and buyers agreed that the top indication is value realization for the company. 70% of buyers and providers believe that “effective user adoption” is the primary driver to realize the full business value.

And this is from the report:

This is not really a surprise.  One of the reasons that CRM software hasn’t reached its full potential is the lack of effective user adoption.  The software designers didn’t put themselves in the position of the Joe the Salesrep. 

Another point.  Process alignment is another factor in realizing value.  CRM is not a replacement for a sales process.  We’ve said it again and again.  Build your sales process.  Test it.  Train your team on its use. Run it for a while.  Adjust where needed.  Then look at a CRM solution that can be adapted to your process.  CRM should help salespeople sell more, not waste their time.

My advice on the adoption issue?  Before investing in any Sales 2.0 or sales-enablement technology, get your Joes and Janes to be part of the evaluation team and please, answer the question, what’s in it for them?

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3 Responses

  1. getting the rep’s involved is only part of the overall success or failure that comes along with implementing a CRM solutions This in it self is a process start out with the Top ten things they do on a daily basis and move forward from their Secondly thur work flow and automation’s your will be able to keep your process in line the end users is only a data entry point so the heavy lifting must be done by the technology I have to offer on this subject but time is limited today
    remember Think Big Start small scale fast

  2. Sometimes I find it funny how a manager would go out and shop for a CRM, and thinks he/she found the perfect one. Only after paying for the CRM and about a month of disasters that they realize that they were wrong.

    Getting sales reps involved in the search for a CRM does help the adoption rate, but it is not a sure win. You can tell the reps that using a CRM will increase their productivity, but they can still be hesitant. I have seen some managers offering incentives to encourage the sales reps, and that helps push the adoption rates in most cases.

    I have to agree with Matt Zimmerman’s closing thought: Think big. Start small. Scale fast. Start with a set of simple tasks in the CRM that the sales reps can integrate into their routines. With smaller pieces, sales reps may be more willing to adopt and/or adjust. Then, start introducing addtional tasks once sales reps are acustomed to the previous set of tasks.

  3. Dave,

    Joe the Draftman would never put up from his CAD vendor what Joe the Salesrep is forced to endure from CRM vendors, software that doesn’t help him do his job.

    Can you imagine Joe the Draftsman using a CAD package for more than a hour if the CAD software package didn’t help him create, design and draw new products? Of course not.

    But CRM vendors struggle with why sales people don’t use CRM? The answer is simple. CRM systems don’t help him sell.

    CRM systems don’t help him find new opportunities. They don’t shorten the preparation time for a big meeting. They don’t improve the substance or quality of the presentations. They don’t shorten the sales cycle. In short, CRM systems don’t help him sell more

    Want proof? Show me one, just one, sales person who ever pointed to his CRM system as the reason he closed a big deal? There isn’t one because CRM systems aren’t designed to help him. Their purpose is to aid management not Joe the SalesRep.

    Until CRM vendors find a way to create an environment that coaches and guides a sales person through even the most complex sales process as well as harnesses the collective knowledge, experience and expertise of the organization to inform and speed that sales process, CRM will not be used by salespeople and CRM project will fall short of expectations.

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