Is Your Sales Team Slow to Adopt Salesforce.com?

Is your sales team reluctant to adopt Salesforce? Here are some best practices employed by companies leading the way in Salesforce.com utilization.

Creating reports and dashboards that reflect opportunity information may help. Sales people are driven by numbers and they want to be on top! Creating a dashboard that shows the “leaders” based on opportunity numbers may drive them to update their records so they can be on top.

We’ve always been an advocate with getting connected with your team if you can. Send out a quick survey to your users and ask if there is anything they think you can do to make their life easier. Maybe a simple workflow rule to automatically update a field will help! Making them feel like they have a say in the process, and knowing that you care about their opinion may encourage them to make accurate updates.

Finally, it is very helpful when the CEO and/or department VP is on board. If they use the information in Salesforce to do performance reviews it will surely encourage the team to make the proper updates. “If it’s not in Salesforce, it didn’t happen!”

This is common with new implementations and we’ve experienced the same adoption issues with many clients. To solve the problem, we encourage them to implement two things. First, you need to create a value proposition for the user — what motivates the user to update information in your SFDC – show them the “What’s In It For Me”. And secondly and closely tied to the first, leadership buy-in – does the VP of Sales require input for incentive tracking or other reporting. If you have both of these areas covered, you may have a training issue. In any case, we would recommend a meeting with the users, or at least a survey, to better understand what’s impeding adoption.

Another thing we’ve done is to review the information we are asking our sales people to capture and narrow down to what we really need for our reporting purposes. Let’s face it, sales people don’t want to do data entry, so the easier you make it for them the more adoption you will have.

We also strongly encourage you to have all the commission data in sfdc. It should only be available in sfdc and the data framed in an sfdc window.

Putting everything that they need in sfdc really generally works very well. Quotes, contracts, contract cover sheets. If they cannot quote the job or close the job then they have to use sfdc.

Attack the problem on different and multiple levels:

1. Who is delinquent? Make the CRM tell you.
Make sure that you are checking this vital metric…everyday. If your reps aren’t using Salesforce, you’ll know pretty fast.

2. Make it easy and take away excuses
Reducing the number of fields, and especially MANDATORY fields. Don’t make it a PITA (pain-in-the-…) to enter information. Sales managers don’t require a thesis. They want to know the critical pillars of a deal: i.e. Close date? Probability? Amount? and Sales Stage? Each sales organization has a set of stages that becomes part of their “language” especially in sales meetings. Placing each deal within these stages is critical. Only make mandatory the 4 critical fields that build the forecast in the CRM. The rest is gravy.

3. Have the Manager shift the one-on-one sales meeting from “info gathering” to “next steps” strategy.
This is key reason we implement SFA. Managers can’t help reps if they are constantly asking where things are in deals. If they can see everything in a reps pipeline BEFORE THE MEETING, then the meeting changes to “here is what we can do next to help you hit that quota”. If the pipeline is empty then that is a very different meeting isn’t it? If I can tell you now that you are going to miss July wouldn’t you want to know that? I’m your manager and together we now have 60 days to make a difference – together! Make sure the reps understand this. The CRM can help me help you. If you leave it empty, then we both are blind to our future.

4. COMPARE and Measure.
Sales is a competitive field. Reps want to be #1. They want to be ranked. If they don’t – you have mis-hired. Use the CRM to rank and compare reps in real time. Publish daily ranking on the activities your value, like closed deals, cold calls made, meetings booked, service up-sold etc. Even better, connect the data to digital signage and hang the monitor on the sales bullpen and publish the rankings in real time. Watch how reps enter data instantly to make the results change on-screen (especially the ones near the bottom). (bad reps avoid their dashboards because they don’t like what they see) make the results unavoidable. Does your services department know who the best rep is? They should.

5. Find a champion.
CRM, especially Salesforce is the lazy (or the more politically correct “busy”) rep’s friend. It makes their life easier, allows them do to more, faster with less effort. Show a rep how he can email contacts faster.., build quotes quicker, assemble presentations faster using your CRM. Find a successful rep that is using the system and have them discuss a recent win and how using the CRM helped. This helps make usage contagious.

6. Embrace Non-Opportunity usage! (and get out of email!!!)
Force (OK, strongly encourage) your other departments (usually more tolerant then those pesky reps) – HR, Marketing, Admin into using the CRM to do their jobs. STOP SENDING EMAIL FOR EVERYTHING. Use CHATTER to talk about to collaborate and update. Make HR forms available in the CRM, in a workspace, or an HR application. Make expense submission happen in the CRM, etc. If most of what I need to do on a daily basis is in the CRM, and therefore I have to be in the CRM for other reasons, clicking over to an Opportunity and entering an update is simple because I’m already there. If I have to log on, navigate to the Opportunity, then enter it, then maybe I won’t.

7. Engage Salesforce MOBILE.
Reps love their devices. Salesforce mobile is free. Sound like a match? Show your reps how to log on from their iPhone, Androids or Blackberries to update that Opportunity from the customer lobby, the car, the dock, etc. (OK, maybe not the dock!)

SalesForce Training & Consulting is a professional services firm and Salesforce.com training firm based in Toronto, with training centers in Boston and Chicago, helping sales teams develop and use the right tools for the job at hand.

by   Mark Christie