It’s good when Sales and Marketing Talk

I’ve been doing marketing communications for over 20 years now. Typically, sales will use a CRM to manage leads and marketing communications will use an email program to send out an email blast or part of a regular interval campaign, often called a “drip” or something similar. While the goal is that marketing support sales and sales knows how marketing does that, because they are working with different programs, sometimes they don’t communicate as well as they could.

I saw this article in the other day and it speaks to that isolation that occurs on both sides feel sometimes.

I haven’t been with Soffront for very long, but as a long-time marketing person who’s had to navigate between CRMs and email programs, I found it a revelation to discover a CRM that did both and wondered why it hadn’t done before. Some programs say they do both, but if you ever had to struggle with making a CRM into a mass email program, let me tell you it’s not very fun.

Anyway, I hope this article is helpful and makes just one more marketing person think of sales and vice versa. We’re in this together!


Your Way to a Successful CRM Adoption: Part II

In this series, we are exploring the key factors behind user adoption. In part one, we had talked about how to plan for adoption before implementing CRM. In part two, we will discuss four critical post-implementation items.

Part II – After you rollout CRM: Measure and Fine-Tune

Measure user adoption regularly:  Measure your adoption KPIs (key performance indicators) regularly (at least once every month) and realign your business goals accordingly. The KPIs for user adoption vary from CRM usage (number of sign-ins, number of records entered, time spent in CRM, old and obsolete data, etc) to departmental goals of sales, marketing, and customer support.

Provide only one version of data to everyone: The quality of your CRM data is absolutely critical for user adoption. If your users lose their trust in the data from your CRM, they will reject the system. Review, scrub, and de-dupe your data before you import into CRM. Review the data weekly for correctness and relevancy. Provide all your departments with only one version of data to keep everyone on the same page.

Tie adoption to compensation: Identify and reward your strongest adopters. Review how your employees have used CRM during performance reviews. Announce and acknowledge the strongest adopters within the company and promote how they follow best practices.

Provide training including “training the trainers”: If your CRM is intuitive, you probably won’t need to provide excessive training for your users. However, make sure your users are familiar with the best practices of using the system to be productive. Conduct user trainings specifically targeted for different user roles. Ensure that all the users in that role follow the same procedures. Train the administrators extensively so that they are prepared to provide the first line of support and answer user questions.

Your Way to a Successful CRM Adoption: Part I

Poor user adoption is not a new phenomenon for CRM. Though adoption rates have improved over the years with the emergence of SaaS and increasing emphasis on user experience by CRM vendors, according to a 2011 report by CSO Insights, only 38 percent of the Small and Medium Businesses have achieved 75 percent+ CRM adoption rates.

In this three part series, we will explore the key factors behind user adoption.

Part I – Before you get ready to rollout CRM – plan, plan, and plan some more

Define what CRM means for your company:  Every organization’s definition of CRM is different. Before you begin to look at technologies and CRM vendors, define your CRM goals and review your existing customer facing processes. Involve all your key departments – IT, sales, marketing, support, and finance – to standardize and streamline your processes.

You should also define the success criteria and metrics in terms of user adoption, expected business results, and ROI (Return on Investment).  At the end of this exercise, you should have a clear idea on how CRM will support your business strategy.

Plan your rollouts in phases: Plan your CRM rollouts in phases so that your users get to experience CRM in bite-sized pieces. Start with your sales or support department. Make sure your super users and users are on board and their expectations are clearly defined and measurable. Plan to start with a pilot rollout containing a minimum feature set.

Decide who will own CRM: Specify a department that will “own” CRM. Do this in collaboration with your key departments. In many organizations, the process of selecting a CRM is owned by IT.  However, many successful CRM rollouts show us that end user groups like sales or marketing is more adept in owning this process.

Elect a CRM champion: Elect a “champion” from the department that will own CRM. Give the champion overall accountability to drive user adoption and evangelize CRM within the organization.

Identify administrators and super users: Select administrators and “super users” from key departments who will represent their departments during the rollout and build a consensus around CRM within the department. Make sure the super users have sufficient influence to represent their departments.

Involve your executives: Get your executives to commit to CRM around a common set of goals and objectives and a mutually agreed upon timeline.