6 Challenges Sales Managers Face When Implementing CRM Software

After reviewing and shortlisting CRM software for your team, you finally make the selection over which one to implement. You are looking forward to having more insight into what the team members are doing and importantly, good information around the pipeline. Of course, that will assist in accountability for the team and importantly, a better customer experience.

But how simple is the implementation process going to be?

Changing the Culture

When sales managers implement CRM, it is unlike most other software installs. The manager is confronted with changing the culture of the business. The software is not just a new way of doing business; it creates a high level of transparency into what people are doing each day-week-month.

None matter what brand of CRM you bring in – its new, different and will affect the culture, and sales find it particularly challenging. They live in a fluid world and dislike reporting and administration by nature. When implementing CRM, it is a major change in their world, and the resistance can be high. A simple training session will not cut it in changing the culture; it is just the beginning.

These are the challenges Sales Managers need to address as part of the implementation.

1. Salespeople

If it were not for salespeople, then CRM would be easy. Salespeople like to be out selling and in front of customers. They do not want to be bothered with updating data into their CRM, even if they have a mobile app on their phone.

If you are doing a CRM implementation, then you will hear from the passive-aggressive salesperson “oh, you want me to update CRM instead of selling?”. The answer is “yes”.

Salespeople need to understand that the CRM is not just about their customers and their performance. There are others in the company that are reliant on the information too. Accounting is viewing the potential sales for cash flow-operations for product supply or people engagement.

Accurate information is the key to the company running smoothly and the people that make the first steps toward achieving revenue, are salespeople. Imagine if accounting suggested that they did not feel like doing commission calculations today or missed a few sales; there would be an uproar from sales.

Salespeople need to be held to the same standards as others in the organisation.

Sales managers need to explain the data is integral to the company operating and show how other people rely on it. When that is accepted, then you will get the engagement you need.

2. Activity Tracking

CRM implementation is about creating a complete profile of the customer. From segmentation fields for marketing to all documentation, emails, notes and other communications with the customer. This information can be reviewed anytime, by anyone, and provide good service to customers and understand the previous interactions. Another team member can update information from there interactions with the customer keeping a whole of service view.

CRM means salespeople can no longer be the proprietor of all customer communications. The information is shared and even more uncomfortably for salespeople, it can be reviewed, measured, and decisions made.

The Sales Manager needs to measure performance against a sales plan. They need to understand the type of activity, the numbers of activity and how the pipeline is filling. Without this information, they are gambling in their role, hoping everything comes together.

The information is also central to uncovering coaching needs for salespeople. Is there are a barrier that needs to be removed, more understanding of a product required. The shift to seeing the data and trends opens the door for improved selling and improved management.

3. Goodbye Spreadsheets

When you implement CRM, you need to strive for the least amount of spreadsheets. The system has its reporting functionality, which can be tailored, providing consistent, easy to manage reports.

A well-customised system will provide you with the sales metrics you need to run the sales organisation and benchmark the team as individuals, or in regions.

If you need data beyond what is in the CRM, then the question is posed ‘Why is that data not in the CRM if it is important?’.

4. Pipelines Performance

As a sales manager, your world revolves around the pipeline. How much revenue is going to be signed in a particular month/quarter/year? The easy approach to management is to focus on how much you have won.

The sales manager who excels is the one who manages the velocity of the pipeline. How many deals are in play? How often do they make it through to presentation or close? Where are the sticky points that sales fall away? It is the information that all the sales department is focused on every day – every week.

This information is the source of coaching, and analysis is critical. How salespeople enter their information, how many times they make adjustments to the deal size, the close date and all the other parameters in your particular business.

5. Dirty Data Syndrome

If you implement a CRM, you are most likely going to share information with marketing. When you first upload the data or sync it with other systems, you find a plethora of dirty data: incomplete records, duplications, and different types of errors.

Salespeople need to be held accountable for keeping their data clean. The mantra should be no clean data, no commission. That is how serious sales managers need to take data. Again, others rely on it across the company, so each person is equally responsible for keeping it clean when they use the records.

6. Changing the Sales Meeting Dynamic

With CRM in place, and the sales team engaged, the dynamic of your sales meeting changes. No longer do the team need to email you notes of their activity, provide you with projections and spreadsheets. All the information is now sitting in the CRM ready to go in the dashboards.

Sales managers can run great meetings as they have all the information at their fingertips, and they can quickly drill down on something should the need arise. The salespeople are freed up from meeting preparation, and the sales manager has time to prepare before the meeting at a time that suits them, instead of waiting for information to come in.

The greatest challenge for CRM implementation is the sales manager. Without a dedicated focus on implementing and setting non-negotiable standards for use, the software has no value to the users, the manager or the company.

Implementing CRM is time-consuming, but the top-performing sales manager are those that follow-through and are steadfast in their goal of full engagement. Good sales managers have clear metrics and hold their salespeople accountable to them.

If you would like to know more about CRM implementation please check out this information.

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