Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Having to Use a CRM is Not the End of the World

Most modular home factories hold weekly sales meetings where the owner or Sales Manager goes over all the important issues that affect the company and the modular housing industry. Sales projections are reviewed, problem areas identified and sales incentives announced.

sales meeting.jpg

Imagine if you showed up for your weekly sales meeting and were told that you are going to be required to begin training to use a CRM program.

It has been decided from above this will be a great tool for you to use.

Responses from sales reps begin filling the room.
  • “Why do we have to work with a CRM System?”
  • “Do they want to check on us?”
  • “I’m too busy to write everything down.”
  • “This will make it easier for the company to take my territory away.”
  • “Should we really put everything in CRM?”
  • “I keep everything in my notebook.”

These are some of the reactions from a sales team when confronted with this kind of news.

So what are you so afraid of?

Here are some of the major concerns:

Resist Change:
Many people cannot tolerate change, including the sales team.  It is a human characteristic to keep everything as is and continue working as one is used to working.

Just the idea to update their daily process to a CRM system, is nauseating to many.

Sharing Doesn’t Suck:
Not all factory sales reps are keen on the transparent capture of data about their customers, prospects and opportunities and and the thought of sharing this information.

The entire sales pipeline is now visible when using CRM and you can no longer keep opportunities out of sight of others. Sales people often forget that it is not only their prospect, but a prospect of the company and those years of “creative pipeline-accounts “are over,

Big Brother:
Sales people, even modular factory sales reps are by nature against outside control and consider CRM to be a control mechanism. “Big Brother is watching you”

Factory owners and Sales Managers have every right to know with whom a sales rep is talking and about what. I remember working at a modular factory many years ago where one of the top sales reps had a heart attack and landed in ICU right in the middle of the busy season. The Sales Manager knew about his sales that were signed and ready for production but upon checking the rep’s desk he found papers and files in a jumbled mess. It took the entire sales team a couple of days to figure out who needed what and when.

If “Big Brother” had installed a CRM program, his work load would have been easily transferred to others until he returned. He did return but was never able to keep up with the workload and eventually left the business.

Get the Buy-In:
The use of a CRM system should first be presented as a benefit and not a burden to the sales team. Easier said than done. For example, if the Sales Manager is the one that wants the CRM installed and hasn’t gotten the Buy-In from the owner, it will be doomed shortly after being started as the sales reps will whine to the owner that they really don’t see any need for it.

It is therefore important to involve your sales team in deciding which system to use and how the system will be used. Explaining to a factory sales team that the CRM will make daily tasks easier and more effective so they can spend more time working with their established and managing new opportunities will not be easy.

Productive and successful sales people will understand the benefits of the CRM tools and will help implement it while the mediocre and poor sales reps will fight it every step of the way.
During the implementation of a CRM, getting used to sharing information and the feeling of being monitored have to be addressed.

The Sales Manager has to provide support within for the team and promote acceptance by indicating that CRM will simplify daily tasks. First make sure that everyone feels comfortable with the use of the CRM solution before expanding on the basics of the solution.

One final thought. CRM’s can and should be customized for each factory. No two factories are alike, no two GM’s or Sales Managers are alike and I guarantee you that no two sales teams are alike.

Once EVERYONE has a grasp of the basics, it will be time to begin to implement the information that can be the most beneficial to each individual factory.

I would love to hear from modular factory sales reps that went from having no CRM through the process of installing one. That would be interesting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Coach, while I agree it is not the end of the world, a CRM is also not the "fix" that so many believe it to me.

First of all, if everyone and I mean everyone does not buy in or implement the system then it will fail. As a sales person, you can log in information and if you still get questioned about it just like you did before the CRM what is the point?

It is a big brother system, there is no doubt. When those up the food chain fully understand all the capabilities of a CRM they want more and more reports. The result is the sales person spends a larger portion of their time generating reports.

A CRM can be a useful tool...no question. The accuracy of the reports is questionable. To not set unrealistic levels of expectation you fudge the numbers lower than you really think. if the opportunity has not reached a level of being CRM worthy, you wait until the "ducks are in a row" to fill out the reports. It goes on and on.

All companies need reports, no argument but as stated earlier if the entire company eco-system doesn't keep up then you resort back to the "old" way of doing things and making a phone call to see what's up.

After all, if you closing orders and you have a 9 month or longer backlog and you use 3x5 cards...is management going to be upset?