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SPI Insight: Driving CRM and Sales Enablement Success

This piece is centered on how to ensure that your CRM system is contributing to your success.

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SPI Insight: Driving CRM and Sales Enablement Success

  2. 2. 2© Sales Performance International, Inc TABLE OF CONTENTS DRIVING CRM AND SALES ENABLEMENT SUCCESS 01: ALIGNING CRM WITH SALES IMPROVEMENT IsYourCRM System Helping OrHinderingYourSales Improvement Initiative? (Pages 3-4) 02: WHO SHOULD OWN CRM SUCCESS? An Overview Of Stakeholders, Roles And Responsibilities (Pages 5-6) 03: RECOGNIZING AND RESCUING A FAILING CRM SYSTEM 5 Keys To Driving BetterAdoption And Value (Pages 7-8)
  3. 3. 3© Sales Performance International, Inc ALIGNING CRM WITH SALES IMPROVEMENT IS YOUR CRM SYSTEM HELPING OR HINDERING YOUR SALES IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVE? By Ken Cross, Director, Sales Enablement Practice, SPI Launching a new sales improvement initiative is no small undertaking. Tinkering with the revenue engine of your company always entails some degree of risk. Introducing anything new to your sales team requires forethought and planning to ensure that all goes smoothly. We have observed that many of our clients misunderstand and underestimate how changes in sales processes, methods, rewards, training, or enablement tools can affect the successful use of customer relationship management (CRM) applications. They sometimes forget to plan for adjusting CRM to align with these changes. When there is misalignment, salespeople often stop usingCRMbecauseitbecomesanobstaclethanahelptotheirsuccess.Additionally, they are unlikely to fully adopt the changes in behavior that you are seeking because CRM supports old habits. According to a study by the Gartner Group, companies are spending nearly $20 billion on CRM annually, yet the adoption rate, as measured by regular use of the system, is less than 50 percent. Other studies have been even more pessimistic, showing CRM adoption rates as low as 26 percent. By Gartner’s calculations, this means that about $9 billion is essentially being wasted on CRM solutions to underutilization and related costs. You can’t afford to let this happen in your organization. So what does it mean to align CRM with sales improvement initiatives and how do you do it to drive higher adoption rates? We’ve put together a CRM Alignment Checklist to help you. Then, consider these four lessons that we’ve learned from working with our clients: 1. Align sales process language and behaviors with CRM workflow Plain and simple, your CRM system must support reality. You must use the language in your sales processes to describe your stages, activities, and verifiable outcomes consistently in your CRM system workflow. YouneedtoinvolveyourCRMteamasearlyaspossibleinanysalesprocess enhancement initiative, so they can develop a clear understanding of expectations and timing for implementation. Making these changes often seems straightforward, but there are often unexpected domino effects that impact reporting and integration with other systems. Your CRM team needs sufficient time to realign, reconfigure, and test your systems. 2. Illustrate your sales process visibly in CRM Most companies represent their sales processes as a series of steps that indicate the high-level stages, flowing linearly from identification to close, and then sequentially list the activities that support each stage. Unfortunately, too many companies show their sales processes only as textual menus, tabs, and links in their CRM system, which can be overwhelming and confusing to users. About 65 percent of us are visual learners, so we recommend representing your sales processes visually in your CRM system to make them easier to learn, understand, and use. If you represent your sales process as a visual flow diagram, your sellers will have an easier time navigating the process as they work in opportunities, 1
  4. 4. 4© Sales Performance International, Inc and thus, execute good sales behavior more consistently. If your CRM system can’t support visual representations of your sales processes, there are relatively inexpensive plug-in applications that can help. This small investmentwillpayoffalmostimmediatelybyencouraginghigheradoption. An example of a visual sales process in CRM 3. Embed sales process coaching and tools into your CRM workflow Sales professionals will gladly leverage new techniques and tools if they help them to sell more with less risk and effort. Your CRM system should become the central hub for sales rep activity and provide access to tools and resources that improve their day-to-day productivity. Make this easy by embedding links to supporting resources and tools in CRM, eliminating the need for a salesperson to search elsewhere when they really need them. This is especially powerful when you bring your sales process to life visually in your CRM system. For example, if your sales process requires the use of tools such as a call planner or opportunity evaluation checklist, then provide those tools at the point of the process when they are needed. If there are coaching tips or examples that make a particular activity in the sales process easier to execute, then link to those from the recommended activity in CRM that the coaching impacts. These links can be connected to help in many forms besides text, such as PDF documents, podcasts, recorded webinars, and YouTube-style videos. 4. Build more flexibility and responsiveness into your crm system As we describe in our latest book, The Collaborative Sale, buyer behavior has been changing rapidly, and you should continuously improve your sales processes to reflect these changes. Maintaining alignment of your sales processes with buyer behaviors is key to CRM usage. Fortunately, there have been many innovations in sales technology that help to support rapid system changes and easy embedding of new coaching and tools. Download our CRM Alignment Checklist, and let us know if you would like to learn more about how we can help you ensure that your CRM system aligns with your sales performance improvement objectives.
  5. 5. 5© Sales Performance International, Inc WHO SHOULD OWN CRM SUCCESS? AN OVERVIEW OF STAKEHOLDERS, ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES By Ken Cross, Sales Enablement Practice Leader, Sales Performance International More than a few of our clients have asked us to help them to fix failed Customer Relationship Management (CRM) initiatives. When we investigate what wentwrong,weoftenfindthattheCRMprojectteamwasincomplete.CRMsystems touch many stakeholders in an organization, both within and outside of the sales function. Unfortunately, many organizations implementing a CRM system forget to include the right people in the planning process, and therefore, miss important considerations that impact the overall success of the initiative. When this happens, ideas aren’t fully thought out and chaos can reign at rollout. We’ve outlined the major players that we are convinced should be involved in a CRM project team, and we offer some advice for when they should be engaged in order to use their time most efficiently. 1. Sales Operations (Project Leader) Typically, CRM implementation and optimization should be led by sales operations. Depending on the complexity of the project, they will oversee the detailed implementation plan and manage the implementation resources. They are involved throughout the project from conception to rollout and ongoing performance improvement. Depending on the size of the sales ops function, there will be power users who will take the lead in training and supporting end users through rollout. 2. Sales Leadership (Executive Sponsor) Ideally, sales leadership is the executive sponsor of the system and project in the organization. Sales leaders should be involved in the early stages of the project to ensure that the system aligns with their vision for how they want the sales function to work and salespeople to sell. Implementing CRM system and process changes can be disruptive, and the last thing the sales leader needs is a flood of calls from salespeople and salesmanagerswhocan’tenteranorderoraccessthesystematimportant times of the year. The sales leader needs to know when the changes will occur, resources necessary to bring the changes to life, timing to go live, and any special preparation or training that the sales team will need. The sales leader can use the release schedule as an opportunity to reinforce the importance of the system to his or her team and the organization. Sales leaders must also know the costs involved, since they usually fund the system from their budget. 3. Sales Management Sales managers rely on the CRM system to manage their teams and generate the necessary reports to roll-up to sales leadership. They must understand and buy into how the system works and produces the information that they need to perform their job. Sales managers play a critical role in the successful adoption of the system, and a representative number of sales managers should be involved throughouttheprojectto createa senseof ownership.They shouldalsobe involved more intensively when changes directly impact functionality and the reports that they frequently use. 4. Salespeople, Account Managers, Sales Engineers 2
  6. 6. 6© Sales Performance International, Inc Salespeople should be involved early in the requirements development process to give feedback on how the solution’s currently configured and how it needs to evolve. They should also be involved in the testing process toensurethattherevisedsystemworksasexpectedandtoidentifytraining needs in preparation for full rollout to the team. You will require different sales representations, depending on the processes in CRM that you are optimizing. For example, if you’re optimizing an account management process in CRM, then you would want to involve account managers. 5. IT Staff Most SaaS CRMs and sales enablement applications require far less involvement from IT than previously. However, IT may get involved in the actual implementation of the solution and program management. They are definitely involved with data security and integrity, integrating CRM into other systems, and testing systems. IT may also provide or manage resources needed for custom programming or reporting. 6. Supporting Functions: Marketing, Customer Service, and Finance Supporting functions are responsible for ensuring that they provide information on what the business needs in order to get the necessary information, such as reports, visibility, analytics, and data. You need to ensure that those are in sync with the rest of the project. These roles can vary depending on the scope of the project, but their involvement in the planning of a CRM implementation is critical. Although it may seem like there are many roles involved in the CRM optimization andimplementationprocess,arepresentativegroupofstakeholdersisimportantto projectsuccess.Takingdifferentperspectivesandneedsintoaccountupfrontinthe planning process prevents the costly re-work and chaos of a poor implementation. If you need to make your CRM system easier to use and more productive for your sales team, we can help you. Please contact us for a risk-free consultation and download our white paper on effective sales enablement.
  7. 7. 7© Sales Performance International, Inc RECOGNIZING AND RESCUING A FAILING CRM SYSTEM 5 KEYS TO DRIVING BETTER ADOPTION AND VALUE By Ken Cross, Sales Enablement Practice Leader, Sales Performance International CRM systems have come a long way since the early, nightmarish days when project failure rates were between 50 and 80 percent. According to a recent study by Capterra, now over 70 percent of users of CRM systems are satisfied with their software. However, organizations still face some significant challenges to get implementation right. Some of the most common reasons for failure include: • The CRM system is not aligned with how your business runs Youhaveasalesprocessandnomenclaturethatistailoredtoyourbusiness, but your CRM system uses a different process and language. This causes confusion, frustration, and workarounds. • The CRM system is cumbersome to use CRM companies have greatly improved usability but there are always opportunities to improve. Some concerns can be handled through user training while some are more difficult to fix. • Leadership and sales management haven’t embraced the system Ifyourleadershipdoesn’tseevalueintheCRM,neitherwillyoursalespeople and sales managers and therefore, won’t use the system. How to get your CRM implementation back on track: 1. Determine alignment with company goals If your CRM is not supporting the business objectives of your company, your first task is to determine how to regain or achieve alignment. CRM can be modified in ways to drive behavior that aligns with your organizational strategies, whether that is increasing market share, maximizing certain types of revenue, raising profitability, or other similar goals. Download this CRM Alignment Checklist to determine how susceptible your current system is to business misalignment. 2. Survey your stakeholders If your CRM initiative isn’t getting sufficient traction with your sales team, figure out why. Start by asking a sample of salespeople, sales managers, and sales leaders what they like about the system and what they would like to see improved. Also, ask open-ended questions about the value they see in CRM (if any), and to describe any benefits that they’ve received from the system. Leverage insight from your interviews to develop a survey that can be distributed to a wider user group so that you can then prioritize changes to improve adoption and value. 3. Synthesize your findings and prioritize your recommendations Based on the stakeholder survey, prioritize the improvement opportunities that are most critical for getting the CRM system back on track. Categorize each opportunity as either a design, functionality, feature, training, integration, or other issue. Also, figure out the potential fix and associated costs and efforts. Then, synthesize the value and benefits that people are realizing from the system so far. At this point, you should be able to determine if your current CRM system can be saved or if you should start over. Use the insight from your survey to make an objective decision. 3
  8. 8. 8© Sales Performance International, Inc 4. Regain leadership and management commitment Present your findings and recommendations to your leadership team. Revisit the objectives that they set when they originally implemented the system and make sure that they are still valid. Then, ask for the resources you need in order to ensure a successful initiative. If you don’t get the commitment you need, inform them of the risks of complete failure and ask again – without leadership commitment, the project is doomed. 5. Get some quick wins, communicate success, and follow through Once you have commitment and resources to move forward, don’t feel like you need to make a big announcement and draw a lot of attention to you and the initiative. Document your plan and start executing. Develop a regular communication cadence to announce new improvements and wins, big and small. When possible, use quotes and data from your survey to demonstrate that you listened and acted on stakeholder input. Develop a regular training cadence as well, recording and archiving sessions when possible. Finally, hold your leadership team accountable for their commitments. Recognizing and rescuing a failing CRM implementation takes a lot of will, some finesse, and maybe even a bit of pain. However, it isn’t nearly as painful as blowing up an entire CRM initiative and either starting over or shelving it entirely. If you need assistance making your CRM more relevant to your business, we can help. Please contact us for a further discussion of your needs. Start by downloading this handy CRM Alignment Checklist to validate how well your system supports your sales team and your business.
  9. 9. 9© Sales Performance International, Inc ABOUT SPI Sales Performance International (SPI) is a global sales performance improvement firm. We help the world’s leading companies drive predictable revenue and profitability growth by optimizing sales organization performance. Founded in 1988, SPI has been the leader in helping global companies apply process and methodologies to transition from selling products to marketing and selling high-value, customer-focused solutions. Our extensive sales performance expertise, deep industry knowledge, global resources, and verified results uniquely position SPI as the go-to firm for organizations seeking to gain a competitive edge by how they sell. SPIhasassistedmorethan1,500,000salesandmanagementprofessionalsinmore than 55 countries and 15 languages to achieve higher levels of sales effectiveness. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ken Cross is SPI’s Director of Sales Enablement, focusing on advancing sales technology and process automation. Ken is a frequent contributor to this blog and to industry publications and forums. WHERE TO DOWNLOAD ASSETS? 01: FREE CHECKLIST Ensure That Your CRM System Helps, Not Hinders, Your Sales Performance. 02: FREE WHITE PAPER Sales Enablement in the Era of Buyer 2.0 03: FREE CHECKLIST Ensure That Your CRM System Helps, Not Hinders, Your Sales Performance.
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