Despite the enormous upside of implementing a CRM solution, we are still seeing adoption rates that are surprisingly low. The main factor is that companies are not integrating their CRM systems into a comprehensive technology stack, and so are failing to leverage solutions that are designed to make end users’ jobs easier and their performance more efficient. This topic came up recently when I shared five ways to ensure CRM success with James Obermayer on CRM Radio. Here is a snapshot of my five tips:
1. Integration is necessary for full visibility. While CRM is a vital component of the sales technology stack, it needs to integrate with other tools to reach its full potential. It can be extremely hard to get the full picture if your CRM system doesn’t have the capacity to integrate with other tools like sales activity management, sales enablement, or pipeline management tools. Without fully comprehending the buyer journey, it can be nearly impossible to plan ahead.
2. Stakeholder buy-in is key. CRM data can be used widely across an organization; however, the analysis is only as good as the data users put in. This makes buy-in at both the organizational level and the user level critical.
To cater to the organizational level, it is important to highlight the value of the system for each team in order to get their buy-in. An example of this would be delivering campaign insight to the marketing team so that they can determine where best to allocate time and money.
In order to maintain happiness at the user level, it is necessary to separate users into those who are leveraging the CRM system to develop better business processes and those who are working in the system all day. Sales operation users, for example, use CRM systems for process, workflows, forecasting, and strategy, so they rely on accessible, actionable data and insights. A sales rep, on the other hand, wants confidence that they are getting lead assignments in a timely fashion and are prompted to follow up with opportunities at the right time.
Due to the flexibility of CRM systems, it is imperative that stakeholders are aligned on desired outcomes and necessary processes that need to be put in place. Without buy-in from each stakeholder, the impact of CRM will be weakened.
3. CRM systems are only as good as the data they hold. As with many other aspects of life, with CRM, you get out of it what you put into it. If your CRM system is consistently updated with an abundance of rich, high-quality data, sales professionals will be able to extract deep insights that can be leveraged to better serve customers. Accurate lead integration turns your CRM system into the pulse of the sales organization by serving as a consistent source of data with the ability to prioritize sale activities and optimize lead distribution.
4. Align CRM with sales activities to gain control of sales workflow. Nearly all organizations use CRM systems, but not all CRM systems actively drive sales processes. In order to drive adoption, make sure that your CRM system is closely tied to your sales process. By monitoring activities, sales managers can create an optimized workflow that prioritizes sales activities and distributes leads in a way that makes the most sense for your company. After all, every business is unique.
Creating a sales process that fits your specific needs helps to save time and guides reps in the right direction—acting on the right types of leads, doing the right activities, and following up in the right way. Aligning CRM with sales activities and workflow ensures that leads are moving through the cycle in a timely manner.
5. Keep stakeholders aligned and engaged with regular reporting. The icing on the cake for CRM success is reporting and insights. As a best practice, it is important to incorporate reporting as part of your standard process because it can help you make more strategic business decisions for the future.
The world of sales is evolving rapidly, and in order to meet the expectations of today’s buyers, it is critical to get the most out of your CRM system. Leverage these best practices to help drive adoption and get the most out of this tool.
Matt Reid is the vice president of marketing at Velocify. With more than 15 years of marketing, strategy, and management experience at Fortune 500 and early-stage technology companies alike, Reid oversees marketing, sales development, and growth strategies for Velocify’s complete solution portfolio.