As head of sales, you surely know the benefits of using a CRM. By streamlining sales processes, CRMs ensure that your team meets its targets and drives more revenue for your company. Several studies even claim that over 45% of businesses that successfully adopt a CRM see an increase in revenue!
But there’s another side to the coin.
Today, over half of CRM projects fail due to slow user adoption, directly leading to a decrease in productivity and revenue. That’s quite a concerning number for companies that rely on their sales team to drive more growth. This means that businesses shouldn’t just buy a CRM and expect their teams to use it. Rather, they should customize it to suit their salespeople’s processes and needs. If not, these teams may be discouraged to use the tools that you put at their disposal, affecting earnings.
Read on if you're affected by low CRM user adoption and learn more about the benefits of a successful CRM implementation.
Table of contents
- How CRMs boost sales
- Why some CRM implementations fail
- What successful CRM implementations look like
- Where to go from here
How CRMs boost sales
There are numerous benefits to using a CRM for sales teams. By centralizing all customer data and interactions, CRMs allow sales reps to track leads and deals more effectively, automate routine tasks, and personalize their outreach. In turn, this translates to shorter sales cycles, a better customer buying experience, and higher revenue for your business.
Furthermore, many CRM systems come with analytics and reporting features, enabling sales managers to monitor team performance and make data-driven decisions. So, it’s clear why 92% of businesses claim that CRMs are important in achieving their income goals: well-implemented CRMs can help your sales team operate more efficiently, and give them a competitive edge.
But despite these benefits, these days, adoption rates are disturbingly low. Why is it?
Why some CRM implementations fail
Taking into account all the advantages of adopting a CRM, you’d think that salespeople's performance would immediately improve and revenue would increase. But the reality is different. According to various studies, up to 50% of CRM projects fail to meet expectations or get fully adopted!
And while numerous factors can explain this, most studies of CRM user adoption failure point to the same reasons:
- Little aid from stakeholders: Without support from executives, sales managers, and end-users, a CRM project is likely to falter.
- Poor planning and lack of strategy: Implementing a CRM is not just about installing software; it requires a well-defined strategy, process, and team to execute it properly. Skipping steps, underestimating the effort, or failing to involve key stakeholders can all lead to suboptimal results.
- Insufficient onboarding: To fully realize the benefits of a CRM, sales reps need to be trained on how to use it, and provided with ongoing support to address their questions and concerns before, during, and after adoption. Failure to invest in proper training and support can lead to frustration, low adoption rates, and ultimately, project failure.
- Focusing on technology, rather than people: Some companies seem to think that the sales workforce should adapt to CRMs, seemingly disregarding their employee's unique needs. In turn, these teams lose confidence in the software and have trouble adopting it.
And the list goes on. There’s also the issue of poor data quality, lack of alignment, and more. But, for now, the main points have been covered. What remains is finding out the solution.
What successful CRM implementations look like
It’s worth remembering that many companies achieve successful implementation and, of course, enjoy the benefits. So, what does it take to properly integrate a CRM into your sales reps' processes? Here are the key factors to consider.
Well-defined goals, strategy, and processes
Let’s be honest. This applies to every aspect of a company. Without clear goals, strategy, and processes, integrating a CRM into your salespeople’s processes can quickly become overwhelming and lead to frustration and resistance from team members. So, you should always have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, how you're going to achieve it, and the steps required to get there.
Start by identifying the specific goals you want your sales team to achieve with your CRM. Do you need to increase sales? Or are you looking to generate reports faster? Then, define your strategy, your sales process, metrics, procedures, and follow-ups, making sure your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Most importantly, keep your team informed and involved! This will help everybody stay focused, set priorities, and work towards a common goal.
Proper executive management
Like well-defined measurable and realistic goals, buy-in from executives and senior leaders is critical for CRM success. Proper executive management involves providing direction, resources, and support throughout the implementation process.
With clear communication, you’ll ensure that everyone understands the benefits of the CRM implementation. Also, don’t forget to allocate the necessary resources for your team’s unique needs! You’ll probably need funding, personnel, and time. Overall, executives must provide strong leadership to guide the sales team to get them ready for these changes, so that they can rapidly and comfortably adapt to this new technology.
Choosing an expert agency
If you lack in-house expertise, you should find an agency that specializes in CRM implementation and training.
To choose the right one, you should look for expertise in CRM integration and a deep understanding of your industry and sales processes. Most commonly, fit agencies should be able to provide references. Now, if you’re looking to adopt a specific CRM, you should look for agencies that have strong partnerships with said CRM, like Certified HubSpot Agency Partners. Equally important is making sure to find agencies that offer customization and flexibility in their approach to CRM integration.
Adequate onboarding, training, and support
Whether you choose an agency or not, you’ll need to invest in comprehensive and customized onboarding for your sales reps. Think about it like this: A CRM can be a powerful tool, but it's only as effective as the people who use it!
Without proper training, your sales team may struggle to adopt the new system and may not use it to its full potential. In contrast, with a full onboarding tailored to your team’s processes, your workforce will be well-equipped to drive growth and success for your business. Just make sure to clearly communicate the benefits of the new system to get everyone excited. Additionally, try finding ways to provide ongoing support, like regular check-ins, continued training and education, and a dedicated support team to help with any issues or questions that may arise.
Make sure end-users are involved
Implementing a CRM should be a company-wide initiative, meaning everyone should be involved in the implementation of these changes.
As we said before, it’s easy to expect sales teams to adapt to CRM systems. But remember: every team is different! So, it should be the other way around. You must customize CRMs to your teams' needs. This means addressing their concerns and feedback so that they feel involved in this change.
In this way, they’ll have a better idea of why this system is so important and, thus, feel more motivated to use the new technology. As an example, one way of encouraging commitment from the sales team and incentivizing the adoption of the new system is by providing regular updates on progress and successes as well as celebrating milestones and achievements.
Alignment between marketing, sales, and services teams
A CRM system is most effective when it's used across multiple departments and teams. Just think about it. When Integrating your CRM with other systems and tools used by marketing, sales, and service teams, you’ll allow team members to share information and insights more easily. In turn, this will bring several advantages for all the teams that will not only improve communication and collaboration across departments but also create a seamless and streamlined experience for customers.
Where to go from here
CRMs can be a powerful tool for your sales team, and although their implementation demands time, dedication, and investment, it is worth doing. The reason why is quite simple. When your sales team feels comfortable using sales technology, you’ll experience an increase in productivity that will translate into more revenue.
What’s left is deciding who can help you achieve CRM success. My Creative Mark, a certified Gold HubSpot partner, has extensive experience in offering comprehensive and customized CRM onboarding. So, if you’re looking for someone that can guide you through identifying bottlenecks and tailoring your CRM to your sales team's unique needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!