I’m a Sales Manager But My Team Won’t Use Salesforce. Help!

Salesforce Help for Sales ManagersIf we only had a nickel for every time we heard this, well… we’d have a lot of nickels. (I know, old joke, but still makes me smile). So, if you happen to be a sales manager reading this and think, yeah, that pretty much sums it up for me, the glass half full side of this story is, that you’re not alone. The glass half empty side of the story, sadly, is that you still don’t have your sales people taking advantage of what can be a fantastic tool to support business development and sales.


Consider these frightening statistics;

According to the CSO insights 2015 Sales Performance Optimization survey of more than 1000 Chief Sales Officers in companies worldwide.

  • 79% of firms have implemented a core CRM system
  • Of those firms that have a core CRM system, a paltry 23% have an adoption rate greater than 90%.

And yet,

  • The average spend on training per sales rep/per year was $1,947

So, where exactly are all those training dollars going if people aren’t using what’s perceived as one of the fundamental aspects of effective selling today – proper adoption of Salesforce.com? And if you’re one of those sales managers working with one of the companies in the ‘other’ 77% bucket, what are you going to do about it in 2016?


Sales Managers – Salesforce Adoption Begins…and Ends with You

Well, here’s the thing. If you think that this is really something that the senior executives need to take an active roll in, and roll up their sleeves and start using Salesforce everyday and demand that other’s do too, well, you’re partly right. They do. But guess what. They probably won’t. (Except for the demanding part). And we both know that the sales people aren’t going to immerse themselves in hours and hours of Trailhead, or You Tube or Premier Support and self-teach themselves. Oh, a few of them will, and they’ll get good at it, but they’re not likely to share their new- found Salesforce knowledge with others. Something about good sales people being slightly competitive.


So now, that leaves guess who. That’s right. You. The front line sales manager. (Substitute Marketing Manager, Client Service Manager or any other front line manager title you want who’s team isn’t using Salesforce).


Yep, you’re the one who needs to drive change. And this isn’t just for you sales managers working for companies that won’t bring in a consulting or training firm to help. No – those firms who bring us in – we tell them the same thing. Greater Salesforce Adoption has to start with management. And here’s why.


Your team isn’t going to do it on their own. You need to train them. (We’ll get into what ‘train’ means shortly). The executives won’t do it on their own. They’re too busy, and believe it or not, (right or wrong) it’s not on their priority list. So that leaves you. Fortunately you probably have some help. Your Salesforce Admin. Tap into their vast wealth of knowledge about how the system works and what it can do for you to help you grow sales. Want that report on new leads? Ask the Admin to build it. Want that Monthly Performance Ranking dashboard for the team? Ask the Admin. Want new fields? Admin. Want training support? OK, I think you get the point. A good Admin is there to support your every Salesforce need, and help you shape Salesforce to support your sales management process. (You have a sales management process, right?)



The Three-Step Salesforce Adoption Roadmap

OK, very simply put, here is a three-step plan to get your team to buy into Salesforce.


Step 1: Train your team.

How? Well, that depends. What’s the budget? If you can afford to bring in a professional training company, like Salesforce Training, or Stony Point, it is highly recommended. Not only do they have the experience and the resources, they have qualified trainers who can keep a room full of eager, and sometimes technically challenged, sales people engaged. But if you can’t afford that, check with your Admin to find out which of the numerous free options can work for you.


Brilliant Idea #1 – splurge on professional training for one or two of your top sales people (both in terms of technical savvy and sales production), and incentivize them to train everyone else. Perhaps create a team lead role where this is seen as a promotion.


Make sure to include plenty of one-on-one follow up sessions. This is essential for the slower learners who are perhaps too anxious to ask for more direction in the larger class. It is essential that everyone understand the core Salesforce concepts of how Leads convert, how Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities interact, how List Views support data access, how Activity Management supports productivity, and how to log calls on your iPhone in the car. One-on-ones should give the learner an opportunity to demonstrate their newly learned skills and ask questions where they need.


Step Two: Integrate Salesforce Into Sales Meetings (and by extension, into the Company’s Playbook/Culture).

Immediately after the training is over – DO NOT hold another sales meeting without Salesforce as the reporting mechanism. Every sales meeting, whether team meeting, or one-on-one, should utilize Salesforce as the mainframe for the discussion. Opportunity Pipelines, Forecasts, Top Accounts – whatever the discussion – it has to be supported with data in Salesforce. Will the first couple of meetings be a little wonky? Yes, of course they will. But the message will be sent – we are using Salesforce and it’s not going away. By the third meeting it should be clear – If it’s not in Salesforce, then it clearly didn’t happen.


Brilliant Idea #2 – Have some of your Salesforce Power Users attend the first meeting, and have them pull out their up to date Salesforce reports and demonstrate to other team members just how detailed and efficient they look. Show others that instead of creating more admin work, that Salesforce actually bought them more time because they didn’t spend time creating manual reports with Excel.

Rich Schulte, co-founder of Salesbroom adds to this.  Have those Power Users pull out their Salesforce Lead Report with “key intelligence” data fields up to date that demonstrates to other team members how much faster and effective they are with prospecting by having a list of exactly who to call sorted by “easier-to-win” down to “harder to win”.  Every sales person will scream for that report!


Step Three: Collaborate on Salesforce with the Management Team

This one is equally as important, and easy to be overlooked. After everyone is trained, and you’ve started to use Salesforce, it’s tempting to think that the job is complete. It’s not. In fact, it’s just started. Salesforce is vast, and it can do a ton for your business. But you need to be able to figure out what exactly it is that you want Salesforce to do for you. Meetings with other management team members, solely to discuss how you can Salesforce improve the user experience, are vital. Once a month at a minimum. Watch how your teams use Salesforce on your ride alongs. Solicit input from your teams in meetings. Make sure to invite your Admin to your manager meetings.


Brilliant Idea #3 – Spend time collaborating on how to send reporting upwards to the executives. Find the best and most useful reports and dashboards, and schedule them to land in the Inboxes of the execs before they ask for it. Getting better Salesforce adoption means showing people value, including execs. Get them the data they need to make better decisions regarding resource allocation, and you my friend, will be on the fast track to the corner office.

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