3 Big Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make When Deploying a CRM Solution for Salespeople

In all my years of helping customers select and implement complex software it really pains me when I see projects fail despite the customer having bought a perfectly good solution. There are many reasons for project failure. They range from inadequate budget, lack of change management, poor executive sponsorship etc. With regards to CRM deployments for sales teams I am going to focus on what I see as the top 3 no no’s that leads to project failure.

Forgetting what salespeople really need

The idea behind CRM for salespeople is to make life easier for the salesperson by automating routine tasks along with helping them spend more productive time with the right prospects and closing more business. This is called salesforce automation. However, management often forgets this and only focus on what they want because they realize salespeople were now collecting valuable information. So rather than making the new system a “win” for the sales team, they turn their CRM system into an information collection system. They demand/enforce compliance by the sales team to enter in all sorts of data points so management can measure their performance and have insights into sales pipeline, closing ratios, sales productivity etc. This idea is not a bad thing in itself. It is a big benefit to having a CRM in a sales organization. However, management must not ignore what the salespeople really need and want to be successful!

The point I am making here is that if you want to get information from your CRM you better make sure there is a win in it for salespeople. At the end of the day, if your sales teams are happy and productive because you gave them great tools to work with it will pay you back in spades.

Overengineering

One of the great things about CRM software today is that it is extremely powerful and feature rich. One of the big problems with CRM software today is that it is extremely powerful and feature rich! What am I driving at? Deploying a CRM solution is a little bit like taking on a complex activity such as learning to play a musical instrument. You need to do it in stages and consumable chunks. You can’t take a novice piano player and drop a Bach Fugue in F Minor in front of them and expect them to play it. They will only get frustrated. So too with CRM systems. If you try to implement too many features too quickly you will simply frustrate your users and they won’t use the system. It is better to deploy the solution in manageable phases. Pick out the quick wins and deploy those first. No only will you see results faster, and you will get users thirsting for more.

Inadequate training

Closely related to the point above is the fact that without adequate training, users of CRM systems will easily get frustrated and fail to use the system properly. This is so obvious, but it is incredible how often training does not get the attention it deserves. Failing to train is like having a powerful electric car and not charging it. When I say training, I don’t mean handing out a manual and expecting users to read it. You need to dedicate time for hands-on training either in-class or remote. The training accomplishes two objectives: 1) It helps users get up to speed quickly so they can be productive faster and 2) It helps management to drive consistency and compliance to the way the system was configured. So, it becomes a win-win!

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