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How to Get Your Sales Force to Use the New CRM System

User Adoption is Key to SFA Success

When your company implements a new customer relationship management (CRM) solution, you may find that your sales force doesn’t immediately jump on the bandwagon.

But, widespread acceptance and use of the system by your sales force is critical to the success of your CRM initiative. Without it, you’ll be challenged to realize the system’s full potential, and achieve rapid return on investment.

So, how do you ensure the highest possible user adoption rates among sales force members?

Obtain Buy-In Right from the Get-Go

In order to get your CRM project off the ground, you must define your requirements and select the solution that will best address them.

Make sure your sales force plays an active role in any needs assessment you conduct, and get them involved in vendor evaluations. Once you’ve chosen a package, engage them in the consulting and implementation process, so any customization is built around specific sales force needs and the solution is designed with their ease-of-use and convenience in mind.

Allow for Personalization and Customization

Just because your sales force participated in the evaluation and implementation of your system, doesn’t mean that a “one size fits all” approach will work. Reps will need to be able to tailor the solution in the way that will work best for them. Make sure each member of your sales force can personalize the interface, data views, and other properties to enhance their own unique selling style and methods.

Give Them Anytime, Anywhere Access

Your sales force is rarely in the office. So a solution that makes it difficult to retrieve important and timely information on the way to a client site, or won’t allow them to add new information into the system immediately after a prospect meeting, will have limited value.

Make sure your sales force can access and utilize the system at any time, even when they’re on the road.

Offload Data Entry

Any member of any sales force is likely to balk at the idea of spending hours keying customer information into a new application. Additionally, you want to keep your sales people free to do what they do best – engage prospects and close deals. Make sure you have the appropriate support mechanisms in place to minimize the impact of data entry on your sales force.

Provide Ongoing Training and Support

By offering in-depth training as soon as your system is installed, you can help your sales force feel more comfortable with your new CRM solution.

This, in turn, will increase the likelihood that they will begin using it immediately, and ensure that they will continue to use it on a regular basis. Provide your sales force with the education they need to get up-and-running quickly, and give them responsive and ongoing support for any questions or issues that may come up down the road.

Keep the Feedback Loop Open

New ideas for changes and improvements are likely to arise as your sales force becomes familiar with and uses the new system. Make sure you put a plan in place that facilitates continuous system upgrades and enhancements, so you can quickly adapt as sales processes change, or as the needs of your sales force grow.