Here’s a stat for you: 63% of CRM initiatives fail.
Now, normally this is where I’d expand on the data and try to provide a little more context, but… yikes. 63 percent? That is HIGH.
OK – maybe we should back up just a little. Obviously, the definition of “failure” is somewhat subjective, and this particular stat comes from a single 2013 survey. But still, the fact that any study would return such a high number is pretty disturbing.
CRMs (like Salesforce.com) aren’t exactly low-cost, light-weight investments. If you’re implementing a CRM, you have a good reason, and you certainly want to see that investment pay off.
The CRM adoption problem
CRM adoption has been a problem for B2B organizations for as long as there’s been CRMs. The challenge (in a nutshell) is getting users/salespeople to use the system often enough and in the right way. In other words, to “adopt” it as part of their sales process so that the company can see the ROI they expect.
“CRM has suffered from a reputation of being an oppressive hindrance in the lives of salespeople,” writes Liz Young in a recent post for QuotaFactory. “If the main business team that you want to use the system is your sales force – and this is the case for the majority – you need to be focused on the end results and [be] realistic with your expectations.”
In that vein, there are a lot of ideas out there for ways to increase CRM adoption, such as:
Training – “Implementing a new CRM software will not do much to increase productivity. Budget and plan for comprehensive training sessions and make sure your staff understands how the CRM software fits the company’s overall strategy.” (Maximizer)
Measure and reward – “Set organizational, departmental, or even individual milestones and reward those who reach these metrics. Ensure adoption and support of the new system by calling out your ‘Champions,’ who led by example.” (Bluewolf)
Ongoing Support – “Be extremely responsive to the sales reps’ questions and challenges, and try to support them in real-time.” (RingLead)
There are lots of lists with tips like these that anyone find with a simple Google search. But what about technology? Sales enablement is a high priority for a lot of companies right now. Can the same technology you use to increase sales productivity also increase CRM usage? In other words…
Can sales enablement help drive CRM adoption?
Another barrier that keeps reps from embracing the CRM is that they don’t always see it as a valuable resource.
“[Salespeople] may have a tenacious belief that CRM is nothing more than a tool for management oversight and a waste of time spent filling in data (translation: wasting time),” writes Young in the same QuotaFactory article. “You must be able to demonstrate, repeatedly, the cultural value of the new system.”
One way to prove value is by actually adding more to it. Consider some of the key features of a sales enablement solution: formal training, just-in-time learning, easy access to sales content for prospecting and buyer engagement, and analytics to see how sales activities affect outcomes.
Each of these on their own help increase sales productivity, but the real kicker is the ability to create a single “sales hub” for all of this to live. If you can integrate your sales enablement solution with your CRM, you can create that hub with all these great resources that help reps sell better, while also making your already valuable CRM an even more valuable place for reps to spend their time. In other words, the more incentive you can give reps to work in the CRM, the more likely they are to do so.
That’s why CRM integration is fast becoming a critical component for those looking to invest in sales enablement technology. As Fritz Mueller recently wrote for DestinationCRM, sales enablement tools need to “play nice” with your CRM and marketing automation systems.
If you’re a Salesforce user, this short video takes a closer look at how the right sales enablement solution can help drive CRM adoption.
Looking to increase sales productivity? The Brainshark Sales Accelerator enables reps with the content, training and analytics they need – right in Salesforce.com.