By Pat Hinds
I am huge fan of SalesForce.com. I know the value of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as a sales and marketing tool, but the majority of sales people have a tough time seeing the work they put into a CRM translate into a tool that helps them close business. As a result, companies struggle with the broad adoption of CRM by it salespeople. In contrast, I have two daughters and they love Facebook; they have no problem adding content to their Facebook page and using it to communicate with their friends. As a sales manager you have to ask yourself, how do you get your sales team to feel the same way about a CRM as my teenagers feel about Facebook?
If you have implemented, or are considering the implementation of a CRM and looking to maximize its adoption, my first piece of advice is to invest in a web-based CRM. The goal of social networking is to share information; client-based CRM packages make it possible to share information in the same way a social networking site does. I found one article on the web that provides some ideas on why Facebook is popular; these ideas can be translated into improving your CRM experience to emulate a social network site at: http://www.socialcomputingmagazine.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=458.
Some useful ideas include:
1. Collecting: Take your CRM beyond the simple collection of company, contact and opportunity information. Let the salespeople display information that reflects their style of sales, and let them share that information with their sales colleagues. Create an environment that invites sales colleagues to want to collaborate with one another.
2. Not invited to the party: Allowing other people to see the progress a sales person is making within an account will motivate the entire team to meet or exceed that person’s accomplishments. Create a CRM experience that goes beyond a salesperson and sales manager relationship and includes the entire sales team.
3. Twitching curtains (Curiosity): Let the sales team see all the sales activity; this will allow people to compare how they are doing in relation to their peers.
4. People like us: Salespeople all face the same challenges: motivation for prospecting, customer support issues, competition, etc. Provide a forum that will allow the sales team to share these challenges with like-minded people.
5: Autobiography: Let salespeople see the progression of a sales cycle. Keep the history of events as this is a foundation for sharing best practices.
6: Expansion is quick, easy and free: Make the CRM easy to use.
By implementing some of these ideas into your CRM experience, your sales team could be drawn to it as a useful tool in the same manner as my daughters are to Facebook!