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How to Get Your Reps to Update and Use CRM

Cabrera_newToday's blog post is by Christopher Cabrera, CEO of Xactly Corporation, the industry leader in sales compensation automation.


Your sales team’s most critical data lives in the brains and spiral notebooks of your reps. Which means that losing just one rep could mean losing an important customer relationship.

Salespeople want to do what they do best – sell. As a result, they won’t learn to use a new tool unless its benefits are absolutely clear. And despite the advantages they can get from CRM (like instant access to lead contact information and account histories, for example), many sales reps still see CRM as a glorified filing system.

The good news is that sales leaders can absolutely change the way reps think about CRM. Here are four strategies based on our work with hundreds of companies around the world.

ONE: Consider plugin applications that align objectives across your entire organization. CRM alone can’t give your sales reps real-time visibility into their progress towards quota – or, for example, how much money they could make if they closed a deal. This is a missed opportunity for reps, of course. It also represents a lost opportunity for sales managers to influence sales results, and for the company to accelerate revenue. But you can give your entire sales team up-to-the-minute access to this information with other applications, like sales compensation plug-ins.

TWO: Make your data work for you. To understand your blueprint for success, dive deep into your data across multiple periods—months, quarters, years—and by product, territory, role, function, or even internal contests. Use customizable reports to improve your onboarding, sales training and coaching. Show your reps how to test what-if scenarios to see which sales they should spend time on, and how they can maximize their commissions.

THREE: Regularly and publicly recognize your winners. Once you’ve drilled into the best practices of your top performers, share them with the rest of the team. Applaud winners over email, Chatter, and during staff meetings. Display contest results on TV screens near your sales cubicles or offices. Send out a simple-results dashboard to your team every day via email.

FOUR: Give both Sales and Finance what they want.Finance wants controllable costs. Sales wants to earn huge commissions. You can virtually test new incentive plans within your CRM to make sure you’ll meet forecasts – while also offering motivating rewards to your top reps.

At the core of these conversations is the user experience. It defines how fast you can drive CRM adoption, and even how much value you can enxtract from good, clean data to drive predictive sales results.

Want to learn more about how you can implement a robust CRM adoption strategy that delivers ROI? Learn more here

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Great post about use and update CRM


Thanks for such a great article here. I was searching for something like this for quite a long time and at last I’ve found it on your blog. It was definitely interesting for me to read about web applications and their market situation nowadays.


My favorite among the listed strategies is number two: to make your data work for you. There are still many who ignore the usefulness of digging deep into data and how it can actually (and objectively) drive better decisions through experimentation. We mustn't be afraid to experiment on deals at first.

Strategy number one (plugin applications) is also pretty interesting. We started to use 37signals Highrise CRM, but our deals are in Gmail. Our customer/deals database is getting bigger and it has become inconvenient for sales not to see real-time information. So we developed our own solution and we're now using a Chrome extension that integrates Highrise and Gmail:

I agree finally, that the user experience (and convenience) is the main driving force for seamless CRM adoption.

Brian Manning

Great post, Christopher. I've always found that using tools like Salesforce's Chatter and other 'stream of consciousness tools' are a great way to increase usage of CRM systems. To use Chatter effectively you have to always be logged-in to the CRM system which increases compliance among reps.

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