Avoiding “3 Bags Full” response to your CRM Adoption.

We have all been there. We are asked, or we ask our team, to do something that we know is poorly thought out, has minimal benefit, but has lots management passion – welcome to CRM adoption.

Given the emphasis from management many of us mentally respond with “3 Bags Full” which loosely in the military slang means: I’ll do anything you ask.

But wait – 3 to 6 months later – the CRM solution is not delivering on its promised nirvana. Sales growth, enhanced customer service, forecast accuracy, and overall happiness of your sales team hasn’t materialized. Avoid the easy answer (blame) that the sales team are “not doing it right.”

What not to do? My experience in dozens of CRM adoption projects has taught me to avoid the classic ‘command & control hammer’ and force usage. A classic example is where the head of sales, CEO, or top alpha dog sends the edict that everyone in sales will use the CRM system “or else.” Result: “3 bags full” – usage will go up in the short term, but actionable data quality and results will plummet.

Suggestion: Align mutually beneficial outcomes from front-line sales to top level executives. Every client we have has established some variance of the following WIIFMs (what’s in it for me) by group:

  • Sales: visibility (lead to cash); quality, volume and velocity of deals; and increased selling time
  • Operations: DIFOT (delivery in full, on-time); optimized efficiency; and minimized rework
  • Executive Management: growth; profitability; and retention (clients and staff)

Make sure the data and attributes of your CRM system align to the key WIIFMs of your key stakeholders. Give each teammate the tools, that when used properly, will deliver results they care about.

Step 1: Measure twice, cut once. Talk to each of your key stakeholders across sales, operations and executive management. Focus requirements more on those teammates who must use the system day in and day out. Interview extensively, document business requirements, and actively listen. Develop a list of cross-correlated attributes that will motivate and drive adoption. Create and publish inter-team dependencies.

Step 2: Make your CRM platform the ‘single source of truth’ for forecasting, pipeline reviews, one-on-one coaching and executive report outs. If it is not in your CRM platform, it doesn’t exist.

Step 3: Continually analyze and evolve the value of your CRM platform to your users. Communicate the value openly by user type. Consider giving front-line sales something that they would not expect. Example: pay your sales people faster. Yes, you read that right – pay them their commissions faster. Note: this has zero risk. If sales teammates put in the correct data, opportunities flow through the funnel at the right stage, and ‘lead to cash’ will accelerate. Voila: sales people will be paid faster.

Let’s summarize. Establish the real and tangible value your team will derive from your CRM platform. Communicate the criticality of running the entire organization on one ‘single source of truth.’

Follow these three simple steps, and you will see higher usage and return on your CRM investment.