Unlike in the movie Field of Dreams, when it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM), year after year, users have proven, “if you build it, they won’t (necessarily) come.” CRMs are known as the lifeblood of every sales organization. The dollars and time invested by admins and ops teams is significant — and yet, nearly every organization struggles with CRM adoption amongst their sellers.
Sure sellers will login. But getting them to use CRMs consistently is a huge challenge. The question is why, and more importantly, how do we fix it.
Let’s start with the why:
The CRM market is massive, projected to grow from $71.06 billion in 2023 to $157.53 billion by 2030. Ninety-one percent of companies with 10 or more employees invest in a CRM tool. However, despite the sizable financial commitments organizations allocate to their CRMs, it’s a tool that’s failing sales teams and one that B2B organizations constantly struggle to maximize the value of. There are myriad possible reasons for this. Seventeen percent of businesses say that manual data entry is their biggest challenge in using their current CRM, and another 17% say that a lack of integration is their biggest challenge.
The reality — CRMs were built for sales leaders and revenue back office managers — not for sellers. Instead of helping sellers do their jobs more effectively, sellers often view CRMs as barriers to doing their jobs. Gartner estimates that only 10%-20% of sellers use legacy technologies like CRM daily, compared to seller-first tech which they estimate 60% of sellers use daily. As a result, CRM data is often flawed, outdated and incomplete. Too often CRM data isn’t trusted, leaving revenue teams with more questions than answers.
And now to the how:
Year after year, improving CRM adoption rates is a top priority for sales management and sales ops. Often they attempt many “quick fixes” but most don’t look at CRM challenges from the proper lens and fail to improve CRM adoption.
It’s 2023. Today we have the technology to ensure CRMs are used effectively to drive company strategy and revenue growth. It’s finally time to solve the challenge once and for all. First it’s important to get alignment on what CRM adoption truly is, and what it is not.
CRM Adoption is NOT simply counting log-ins. That would be like getting in your car, but never turning on the ignition or driving to your destination. Ultimately, what’s the point?
CRM Adoption is also NOT C-level mandates, having admins enter data or inputting information only to make a rep eligible to collect their commission. While slightly better than the first scenario, users are still only adding the minimum amount of information necessary and they are doing it after the deals cycles are complete—so there is no impact on the deal, no visibility for forecasting or pipeline management, and very few details that will help in the future around customer success and renewals. Here, you’ve started the car and are in motion, but you’re stuck in traffic jams, wasting time without improving the outcome.
To get the most value out of your CRM investments, CRM Adoption should be judged based on consistent interactions that deliver value back to the user—most often the rep. To improve adoption organizations need to make their CRM work for sellers – it needs to be trusted, easily accessible, intuitive, ultimately helping them win deals.
This means not just serving as a repository where reps manually input, store data or run reports, but rather a tool that understands what’s already there, what’s missing and how it all works together—then provides sellers with valuable information on how and when to engage the deals they’re working, or deals they should be working.
This definition runs counter to many of the tips that have been shared for many years, but the reality is more training, more mandates and more forms aren’t going to work. Instead, to get more out of your CRM and ensure your sales team truly adopts it you should:
- Personalize the view. Prioritize the interface and experience based on what matters most to each individual sales rep. Just like your search engine knows what you are looking for or Netflix knows what you’ve watched recently and displays what you are most likely to want to see. Provide your sellers a “weekend experience” when using your CRM. It should be as intuitive as possible so your reps get what they need with minimal clicks. Your CRM should surface relevant data to reps, based on what they typically like to see, instead of making them go search for it.
- Automate data entry. Remove reps from the data entry game. Forrester found reps only spend 23.3% of their time in core selling or direct engagement selling activities. Use native integrations to connect activities that happen in other sales tools to your CRM, and give sellers more time to focus on their deal rather than manually entering data. Automatically pull in important details from email, calendars, LinkedIn, messaging, sales content management tools and more. Sync this data back to your CRM and make sure it’s available to you and your reps at any time, for any purpose. Your company’s data should not be in siloed tools, but instead in a centralized data lake, integrated with your CRM so it captures data from every interaction buyers have with your organization, with or without sellers. As more data gets pulled into the CRM the more trusted the data will be, and the more it will help sellers win. Understand what is there, as well as what is missing—and track changes over time. Each of those elements can make a big difference in deal trajectory.
- Integrate essential tools. One of the easiest ways to get your reps spending more time in the CRM is to add more functionality. For example, your sellers are sending content to buyers daily. Rather than having them toggle into different tools, integrate your sales content management solution with your CRM and make the content discoverable, accessible and shareable from directly from your CRM. Your reps will be happy, as will your managers. Win-win.
- Embed actions. Now that you have better insight into your opportunities as data is automatically added to the CRM as well as easy access to content, embed actions for each rep that mimic your sales process. Your CRM, using insights from the single data lake, should give reps their own daily list of steps that will move deals forward. Make sure tips are intelligence-based and only suggested if it’s actually an action the rep has yet to take. Lastly, make sure your sellers can execute on those tasks right from the CRM. They don’t want to continuously toggle between applications – they want to sell. Harvard Business Review found that the typical employee switches applications 1,200 times per day – coining it the toggling tax. Everyone welcomes helpful hints, especially if they are based on proven best practices, and they can execute them right away. These tips will help effectively scale successful behaviors and speed up ramp time. This can even be done with Generative AI tools like Iris.
- Capture activities from all go-to-market roles. Alignment between sales, marketing, customer success, and other revenue functions has never been more important. More and more we’re seeing traditional functions like sales enablement and sales operations re-branded to revenue enablement and revenue operations. This shift is not just a name change, it means revenue teams using the same data, and aligned goals designed to create a seamless customer journey. Reps don’t win deals alone. Marketing makes content, customer success ensures customers thrive with their purchase, finance makes the numbers work. Make sure deal data is collected from and readily available to anyone that touches the deal. If they are engaging with your prospects or existing customers – directly or indirectly – they should be operating from the same playbook, and working towards the same outcome.
- Correlate behaviors to outcomes. The era of gut feel sales is over. Sellers need to know what really works, and what really doesn’t and that information needs to be rooted in real-life data. Today, we have the technology to arm sellers with this information at every turn. Apply machine learning and other analytics to measure what’s working and what’s not at every engagement with every buyer. Then adjust fields in your CRM and steps in your processes on the fly to help improve pipeline velocity. Use the data to continuously optimize the suggestions your CRM makes to sellers to scale the behaviors you know work.
When the data is accurate and complete, your CRM starts working for your sellers—rather than them working for it. It’s like getting in your car and taking the most efficient route to your destination, as your car makes recommendations to you about things you can do on the way to make your life easier. No surprise traffic, construction or detours, and helpful recommendations to make the trip as effective as possible and save time.
Ready to get started? Request a demo and let Mediafly help you make the most of your CRM investment and increase CRM Adoption with embedded actions, content designed to work with data on what we know works for each buyer persona, and trusted insights from every buyer interaction that will help sellers move deals forward right from your CRM.
If you want to learn more about CRM adoption check out “CRM in a Hybrid Selling Environment: How to Increase Adoption to Maximize Your Sales Effectiveness” on our website!