The Response You Don't Want
Push even a mildly stubborn employee to do something he doesn't want to do, such as use a new CRM system, and you might hear "Or else, what?" If you're not careful, an uncomfortable standoff may ensue. An undiplomatic manager, in response, might do one of two things: blurt out a coup de grace in the form of a job-threatening ultimatum, or slink away in an embarrassing retreat. Neither fosters much professional respect, so managers understandably try to avoid this kind of confrontation. The challenge, though, is to persuade employees to buy in to something they want to resist.
There are myriad reasons why employees initially resist a new CRM system, one of which is resenting the additional work it brings. Anyone who's had success with a CRM system knows it's nothing without good customer data, but when employees are prompted to regularly enter their contacts' information into the system, they balk, thinking if a CRM system is supposed to help make life easier through automation, why am I required to do this extra work?
The editorial side of publishing is not a typical sales or service environment, but I can relate to the resistance. I use a CRM system for various reasons--one of them is to send out an email blast to PR and marketing professionals who want to be notified of stories we are writing for upcoming issues of CRM magazine. The problem, though, is that before I send out the current blast, I have to add all the associates who have requested to be added to the editorial preview list since the previous blast. Entering this data often takes a few hours, and it's boring, mindless work. If I didn't know any better, I might argue that this is a complete waste of time, time I could use for editing, writing, answering emails, or meeting with employees or industry associates.
But because I understand the need for the CRM system and the value it brings to me, I'm able to accept the time I spend entering the data. If I didn't send the blast out, I'd be incessantly bombarded by phone calls and emails inquiring about the same information I include in the blasts. The amount of time it saves me is well worth the monthly effort required to update the system.
I get this, but I do partly because I've been writing about the CRM industry for years. Many business professionals, however, still need some convincing when it comes to using CRM technology. That's why Senior Editor Marshall Lager's cover story discusses the difficult issue of getting sales end-user buy-in. Invariably, there will be difficult employees who will not sign on, despite your best early efforts at coaxing them. The article offers good advice on how to gain these employees' cooperation. Go ahead, "try it, you'll like it."
We've been pretty busy lately. In addition to preparing for our first industry conference, destinationCRM 2006, which runs September 17--19 (see page 27 for more details), in June CRM magazine's parent company, Information Today Inc., acquired Speech Technology Magazine
(www.speechtechmag.com) and its related products, including the SpeechTek conference. This year's east coast conference will be held August 7--10, at the New York Marriott Marquis (for more information visit www.speechtek.com). The editors of CRM magazine have long been following the growing speech technology market and the acquisition will enable us to share our valuable resources, benefiting readers of both publications.
And despite how busy we've been I am pleased to announce that the CRM magazine staff recently won four 2006 APEXs (Award for Publication Excellence)--three editorial and one design-and-layout award--and a 2006 Tabbie (Trade, Association and Business Publications International) Award honorable mention for design. These awards are a testament to the CRM staff's hard work and talent, for which I am very grateful.