Implementing customer relationship management (CRM) software can be a challenging process. But many wholesale distributors and manufacturers decide to take this challenge on to reap the many benefits of sales force automation. With that in mind, an article on the Industrial Distribution website offers some advice on overcoming the barriers to a successful CRM implementation.
Most salespeople will push back against a CRM implementation for several reasons. For top performers, resistance comes when existing and successful processes are tampered with. Some resist due to a discomfort with using technology. And many are resistant because they don’t want to be micromanaged with CRM.
“Barriers will come up. Plan for them, knock them down and trumpet successes. Prove that CRM is delivering results,” writes Mark Dancer, the president of a management consulting firm, in the Industrial Distribution article.
Here are five ways to overcome the barriers to successful sales force automation.
- Get the support of leaders: Without support from management, the sales force will not sign off on any new system. Let your sales team understand the benefits of CRM.
- Develop an in-depth training plan: Training should start before implementation and continue throughout the process. “In fact, CRM training never ends because sales training never ends,” Dancer writes. Include training in a face-to-face environment as well as options for online and telephone training. This allows for training sessions both large and small to be frequently available to new and veteran sales staff.
- Create a sales process and make sure the CRM system matches it: Whether you have a process in place before implementation or develop it during the implementation, make sure the CRM system is an integral part of that process, and that the sales staff is trained and uses that process. Properly planned sales force automation improves sales results.
- Foster confidence among users: Get your top-performing salespeople to be champions for your CRM system. Sharing success stories gives your sales team confidence that the CRM software is going to help them be more successful and not just monitor their every move.
- Roll out CRM in phases: Sales force automation takes time and effort as well as a significant cultural change within a company. Get a small group of users to work with the system during implementation before rolling it out to a larger set of employees. “Modern CRM systems offer a wide range of features and benefits, but it is often a mistake to try to do too much, too fast,” Dancer notes.
Before you implement your CRM system, speak with one of our experienced implementation staff members to see how you can start benefitting from sales force automation quickly and efficiently.
Source: Industrial Distribution, 2014