How to Get Your Sales Team to Buy Into Your CRM System

Jeff Cochran


How to Get Your Sales Team to Buy Into Your CRM System

Do you have a great new CRM system? Does it provide answers to all – or most – of the challenges that your sales team is currently working through?

Then why aren’t they using it?

Selling your sales team on a new system might be one of the hardest sales you have to make. Sales teams can be stubborn in their ways and slow to accepting change. But, chances are, your problem isn’t really with the sales team. The problem is with how you’re selling them.

More Than the Sales Team

Sure, a CRM system is most likely to be used by a sales team. If you work in a small company, then you know perfectly well that the sales team doesn’t account for the only users of CRM software. Upper management and the marketing department are just two of the groups that might dabble in the CRM system from time to time.

Focus on selling to the senior management of your company before selling to the sales team. When senior management is doing it, your sales team is going to be more likely to want to do it, too. (Also, give special attention to the new hires at your target company. New hires are less set in their ways, and more open to change.)

Present a Need & Drive Pain Points

In B2B sales, pain points are everything. It turns out that pain points go a long way in getting your employees to buy-in, too. If you’re struggling to sell your CRM system, it might be because you aren’t demonstrating the need to your sales team very well.

Present the sales team with real problems in the company, and ask how they’re currently addressing those issues. Then, tell them how the new CRM system would help them more effectively address those issues.

For example:

“How do you remember the lead channels through which your major, long-time accounts were secured?”

“We’ve integrated our lead tracking software with the new CRM system so that our clients’ lead information is automatically attached to their profiles in the CRM system. No more forgetfulness!”

Offer a Solution

The bottom line is this: your CRM system should offer a solution to specific problems that are currently not addressed. Even if the sales team you’re pitching to is change-resistant, you will have a breakthrough when you offer a truly innovative solution.

When you offer solutions, get specific. If you know that your sales team has a propensity for losing valuable information, demonstrate how your CRM system can capture and retain that information. Show how effortless and easy it is. Then, attach dollar figures to what your solution means for each salesperson in gained commissions.

Sales Training in 2012: 7 Performance Improvement Trends

Jeff Cochran


From cutting deals in the boardroom to learning to recognize your own flaws, we want to help you and your sales team be as effective as possible. To increase your effectiveness, you have to carefully cultivate the habits of your sales team at a fundamental level.

2012 has brought about a shift in sales training trends that places a larger focus on “small-level” performance improvement. Check out seven tips to boost in-office performance that can help you can shave off countless hours of wasted time across the board…

1. Give your sales team “process maps.” Your company may have hundreds of processes that happen on a routine basis, from submitting pay sheets to sending out memos. Chances are, some of your employees will spend three minutes on submitting a pay sheet while others spend 20 minutes on the task. Determine the most efficient method for these types of processes to be completed, and give employees recommended guidelines for how much time they should spend on the task.

2. Create benchmarks. Watch your big picture goals become much more manageable when you break them down into small goals for your team. If you want your 20-person sales team to generate 400 leads over the next month, then break it down. That’s 20 leads per person, which is one lead per day over the course of four weeks. Check in to see how your team is meeting your benchmarks.

3. Create your personal schedule at the beginning of every day. Obviously, you have to work around meetings and other commitments. But, you should schedule each half-hour segment of your day with particular tasks. This will keep you on-track and focused. Encourage your sales team to do the same.

4. Block out a morning for “spring cleaning” once per quarter. When you get rid of office clutter, unnecessary papers, and other visual distractions, you will see a big performance improvement. Provide your team with recycling bins and waste receptacles. If you give each employee his/her own waste receptacle, then it’s more likely that your initiative will be acted upon.

5. Reward highly efficient salespeople. When your team realizes that you’re serious about rewarding, they’re more likely to act on your performance improvement initiatives.

6.Get your Internet under control. Efficiency experts like Tim Ferriss have been pushing for this for years. If possible, only access email two to three times a day. Avoid social networking sites during office hours. Use a RSS feed for your blogs. It’s all easier said than done, but good habits take practice.

7. Don’t micromanage. It’s easy to get carried away with these tips. However, the more freedom you grant your team (and the more respect you show them!), the better performance improvement results you’ll witness.


What fundamental strategies do you employ in your office?


Good listening = Good Probing

Jeff Cochran


Have you ever sat in a sales planning meeting and a few minutes into it realized that you don’t know which account your manager is currently talking about?  While your coworkers have been discussing and making plans, you have been thinking about all the emails that you need to respond to and getting to your kid’s baseball game on-time tonight.  This happens all the time and to everyone; especially in our time-limited, multi-tasking society.  And not to mention with all the technological gadgets and devices that we are constantly being distracted with.  Research suggests that we remember less than 50% of what we hear.  Meaning we miss over half of everything.

However, those that excel in sales negotiation have excellent listening skills.  In order to effectively probe, listening is critical.  The more information you are able to obtain from the other side, the better your position and the greater power you hold.  However, getting more information from the other party is always a challenge.  In order to extract information, you have to probe effectively.  This involves focusing and carefully listening to what the other side is saying and telling you.  It is important to hear not only the words that another person is saying, but to understand the complete message being sent and what is being implied so you can ask appropriate follow-up questions and probe further.  It is important to focus, listen and understand.

SNI teaches a simple, but effective approach to enhance your listening skills. It is – “The Three Cs” – Connect, Consider and Confirm.  First, connect yourself either through eye contact if you are in a meeting or by using the person’s name that you are on the phone with.   Second, carefully consider your response after listening to the other person.  Pause to reflect and then formulate a response.  Don’t mentally form your comment or counter argument while they are still talking.  You can’t effectively listen if you are busy thinking.  Third, confirm what is to be discussed and what has been discussed.  Using agendas and written summaries help to prioritize and highlight important aspects, and also eliminate harmful mistakes and misunderstandings. These are just a few, easy ways to help you become a more effective listener.


Does E-learning really make the grade?

Jeff Cochran


E-learning sales training has become quite popular and the new trend in staff training.  With globally-dispersed teams, and decreased time, dollars and resources to spend on sales training, more and more companies are investing in versatile e-learning strategies to train their sales staff.  According to Bersin & Associates, approximately 20% of training programs now involve e-learning.

There are a wide variety of formats to choose from — self-paced audio and video webinars, podcasts, interactive simulations, or live video classrooms.   These formats are extremely convenient and flexible.  They can be easily downloaded and viewed anywhere and anytime by all their staff.  No longer do salespeople have to waste travel time, hotels and travel expenses, all to meet up at a particular location for the training.  They no longer have to come off the road or away from the phone, and be tied up in meetings all day.  They can fit the training in when convenient.

This flexibility is extremely advantageous, but is it as effective in providing solid, traditional in-person sales training?  There are many pros and cons to consider.

Some feel the personal element is lost.  Many experienced sales professionals are more comfortable in the traditional formats, doing one-on-one role-playing and scenarios.  Passively watching others, on a small screen, discussing such scenarios is not the same as personally being in the room and taking an active role.  A great example of this can be found in a study conducted by Corporate University Xchange.  They studied 4,148 online learners and in regards to retention, the e-learning drop-out rate was about 70% percent compared to only 15% for classroom training.

But for others, especially those new recruits who have grown up along side electronic technology, their comfort levels and engagement are greater.  They expect these formats and find it unusual for companies not to invest in them.  They view the traditional methods as outdated, regardless of how relevant or up-to-date the information being presented is.

Another key consideration is that not everyone learns from watching.  Some learn more effectively from doing.  For example, watching a video of a sales demo about the operation of a complex piece of equipment you are actually required to personally demo and sell yourself to customers perhaps is not the best way to learn how it works.  For proper learning in this situation, it would be more practical to be able to physically touch and operate the equipment.

Thus, the effectiveness of the e-learning format is dependent and bound by the type of product or service being sold, and the type of information being presented.  For example, a quick podcast would be best suited for market updates or a new success story.

Sales departments traditionally are big on being cohesive, tight-knit teams.  With the personal, team-building element lost when the employees undergo training solo, how does the sales department maintain or build that cohesive environment they strive for?  It is important that this is not lost, and that other forms of team-building are implemented and encouraged.

Many companies struggle with this challenge and hire specialized consultants, like SNI, to assist in developing better designed training programs.  E-learning sales training is continually evolving and being incorporated into sales departments existing training programs.  It is an important element and should be continually and carefully evaluated to determine its overall ROI, effectiveness and relevance, and not just viewed and used as a cost cutting measure.