Series: Part 2: The CRM Adoption Problem: Getting Started and the Tale of Mr. Rage

Hopefully you've read article one in this series - Salespeople Love Using CRM...NOT! - if not please take a few minutes and review it. We are going on a journey together. A journey that will solve the CRM adoption problem. And you know what they say... the first step is to acknowledge you have a problem and that's what article one is all about.

So, now we are on the same page and ready to get started. But where to begin? Building a best-in-class CRM and a system that users will embrace can be a daunting prospect. And it's a continuous process. Once you solve one issue another will inevitably arise, a new feature will become available and need to be tested, a new functional group will need to use CRM and receive training, the list goes on and frankly it's enough to make your head spin (I know mine has). For the purpose of this series I'm going to assume you 'own' CRM within your organization or that you're a strong influencer. If the latter, share this series with your CRM owner and ask what you can do to help support their work. They'll appreciate it. Also, please share your successes and frustrations with me - I'm always learning and would truly appreciate hearing your war stories too.

Before we look at the 'Getting Started Checklist' I want to tell you what I experienced this week. I'm writing this article as I wait for my plane to takeoff at SFO. I'm heading home after three days spent at the Marketo annual Summit. Our Tribridge team had a booth at the Summit expo and so I had the opportunity to attend educational sessions and inspirational keynotes and interact with dozens of marketers who care about data and CRM adoption as much as I do. Our booth was filled with slogans that we hoped would entertain and strike a chord with the marketing crowd; 'Don't be an integrator hater', 'Adopt a CRM', 'What's up? Marketing ROI' and of course, 'Salespeople love using CRM... Not!'. It was that last message that elicited the most interesting reactions. Broadly speaking our booth visitors fell into three categories. 1) The Marketer with the Knowing Look 2) The Doubting Thomas and 3) The Rage. It's the last of these three I want to talk about now. When we came up with our slogan we thought it was fun, silly even, and ironically retro. We didn't know that it would, for some, trigger an outpouring of vitriol. I'll use one example because he was the most extreme. Let's call him Mr. Rage.

Mr. Rage approached the booth with a wrinkled brow, rubbing his right temple. Within 30 seconds he had dropped two f-bombs and spoke through slightly gritted teeth. You might be thinking that he was having a bad day, or that he's a naturally angry person but that's not what I saw. I saw a guy who is passionate about his company and his role there. And a guy whose success is hindered by the lack of sales intelligence available to him through CRM. To really understand why he was so angry I needed to ask a few questions. Most of his answers were one or two words and as we spoke it initially felt like his hostility was directed toward me (But, but...we're on the same team). Then I asked the right question. "What's your relationship like with your head of sales? Is he concerned about adoption?". Boom. There it was. He looked at me, paused, smiled and sighed. He said "He's my friend... but he doesn't give a (expletive) about CRM". Admittedly I'm a little spoiled because our sales leaders, CSO, VP and Directors believe CRM adoption is important. They are vocal about what their team needs, have realistic expectations and help when barriers arise. I didn't share this with Mr. Rage of course - I'm not stupid. Instead I offered him some gentle advice. I suggested that if the head of sales doesn't care about CRM that he find the leader who does. It is very, very difficult to believe that a company would invest in implementing this technology and continue to pay to support it year over year (they happened to be using which has a healthy annual subscription cost) unless SOMEONE thought it was important. So my advice to him was to find that person - start with the CEO and CFO, get on the same page and then let your friendly sales leader know what you'll need from him going forward. He'll come around. Eventually. The rage seemed to subside. He said, simply "So you guys can help with this?". I simply replied "Yes".

I like to think that he was perhaps a tiny bit more hopeful and a tiny bit less angry when he left. There is nothing more frustrating than having a problem and believing there is no solution. Perhaps he'd just found one little step forward and that was enough. Good luck and chin up Mr. Slightly-less-angry. 

This brings us neatly to our checklist. I've already digressed and rambled, so for now I'll lay out the steps and over the next few weeks I'll elaborate on each.
1. Find your champion/s
2. Communicate your intent to the sales team
3. Schedule focus groups
4. Validate your findings with sales leadership and your champion/s
5. Create a prioritized list
6. Build ROI metrics (if necessary)
7. Engage technical resources
8. Plan, communicate, test, train
9. Create a process for ongoing improvement
10. Pat yourself on the back and take a vacation

These steps are pretty linear but if you're more interested in one or two topics, drop me a line and we can talk about that first. In the meantime, go find your champion and let's get started.


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