Using Coaching to increase CRM Adoption by your Sales Team

Sales Coaching for CRM Adoption_freemind

74% of organizations globally have poor CRM adoption.

Which essentially means that salespeople at these companies do NOT enter their interaction and other data regularly into their CRM.

Does your company fall within that 74%?

If yes, this blog post will give you a tried and tested solution.

But first, why do salespeople not use their CRMs regularly?

Three Reasons

  • Because they are unable to fully understand how the CRM will help them to close more deals and increase sales productivity.
  • They are not organized enough to use the CRM regularly, even though they understand the benefits
  • They feel that it’s ‘difficult’ to use. This can especially be a problem for people who are not so ‘tech savvy’

So what do you do?

You can do a host of things like:

  • Train them on the technical aspects
  • Explain how the CRM will benefit them
  • Gamify your CRM
  • Provide incentives for using the CRM
  • Even penalize them for not using it!

But, the easiest way to get them to adopt the CRM is by having meaningful conversations.

Not just any conversation, but Sales Coaching conversations.

In a Sales Coaching session, a sales manager does not instruct or advise his/her salespeople on what to do.
He/she just asks the salesperson a series of questions which helps them to arrive at a solution, realization, decision or commitment on their own.

What do you think is better?
You telling them about how important the CRM is?
Them realizing it on their own and happily using it on their own accord?

The answer’s a no-brainer right?

Example Coaching Conversation

This is an excerpt of a coaching conversation that I have had with salespeople to encourage them with CRM adoption.

We use the same structure in our CRM adoption sessions in our Sales Coaching for Managers Training.

You might need to make a few modifications, but you will get pretty good results if you use this structure as a coaching template.

Sales coaching sessions are one-to-one sessions. Do not try this process in a group.

Step 1 (Optional)

If you are introducing a CRM for the first time, it would be helpful to organize a brief training session where you explain the benefits and show them the basic functions. Of course, if your company has had a CRM for a while, you can skip this step.

Step 2: Schedule the session.

It’s best to let your salesperson know about the session beforehand. Schedule a 20-30 minute session with your salesperson when they can have a comfortable conversation. Let them know it’s to discuss the new CRM.

Step 3: Conduct The Session.

In the session, you ask your salesperson a series of questions, the answers leading to more questions.
Your objective is to explore your salesperson’s thoughts, feelings and concerns, resolve the concerns and obtain a voluntary commitment from them to use the CRM regularly.

1. Establish the Goal
Start the session by referring to the salesperson’s goals
“What are your Sales Goals?”
Using this question makes the conversation relevant to meeting the salesperson’s sales goals, and not just ‘another unnecessary meeting’.

2. Gather Basic Reactions
“What do you think of the new CRM?”
“What do you like about it?”
“What do you dislike about it?”

This is where the salesperson may cite usability and convenience to be a problem.

Say that, “Thank you for sharing your concerns with me. We will explore how to overcome these challenges in a few minutes. Before we get to that, it will be helpful if I hear what you think of the benefits.”

3. Ask about Benefits
“How do you think will the CRM help you to meet your sales goals?”

Follow up with more specific questions like,
“How will the CRM help you to keep track of your clients?”
Expected answers would be about CRM will help them to visualize their pipeline, schedule interactions, refer to it for the last interaction, etc.

You will probably get these answers. In case if you don’t go deeper and ask them,
“How will the CRM help you to visualize your pipeline” and so on.

But avoid telling them the benefit. The Rule is: Let them tell you.

Similarly, ask questions like…

“How will the CRM help you to

  • Manage your time better?
  • Follow up with prospects?
  • Have more meaningful conversations with your client?
  • Convince your client more easily?
  • How is the CRM better than using an excel sheet?
  • How do you think it helps me when you use the CRM?
    • How does the CRM helping me help you?

4. Explore Challenges
After you have discussed the benefits, its time to move on to the challenges.
You should also ask questions like:
“What challenges do you see in using them CRM?”

5. Explore Solutions
“What ideas do you have for solving these challenges?”
“When is the best time to enter the CRM data?”
Once again, avoid giving suggestions and let them come up with the solution.

But if they can’t think if solutions, ask,
“How about entering the data right after you finish the interaction? How would that be?”

You need to get him to answer to test his level of acceptance and commitment

6. Exploring Commitment and Feelings
If you get a sense of low commitment you need to dig a little deeper into your salesperson’s emotions. Remind the salesperson that the conversation is confidential (as all coaching conversations are) and he/she should feel completely free to express himself/herself.

“What feelings do you have about using the CRM”
“What fears do you have about using the CRM”

Follow up with questions which question the validity of these fears. Ask

“What makes you think that would happen?”
“How often does that happen”
“What can I do to resolve your fears?”
“What’s another way to look at this situation”

7. Obtain a Commitment on the Way Forward
By now, the fears would be resolved and your salesperson would be willing to make a commitment to start using the CRM. You need to obtain that commitment by asking,
“When would you like to start using the CRM?”
Ask for a specific date.

8. Schedule the Next Session
The next session will be used to discuss his/her experiences in using the CRM. Preferably schedule something within 4-7 working days.
“When can we next discuss your progress on your CRM usage?”

Throughout this process we have been asking questions – to explore thoughts, benefits, challenges and even get a commitment.

If you are skeptical, you just need to try it out. We have used this process in our Sales Coaching Training programs with a good amount of success.
After all Coaching is probably the most powerful Leadership Tool available today and it works brilliantly.

Try this out and let us know your experience. You wont be disappointed!
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