Four Easy Ways to Save a Rocky CRM Relationship

 Today, I am pleased to introduce our guest blogger Luke Christianson. Luke is  an Application Sales rep based out of Minneapolis, MN.  You can find him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.


In any relationship, sooner or later, the excitement fades away.  The honeymoon period gives way to the old routines you had, before you committed to each other and you eventually begin doing things apart from one another.  I’m not talking about a marriage…  Well, I guess I am.

Commitment to a CRM tool and building a deep and lasting relationship is not much different than the basics of a traditional love story.  After your controlled CRM pilot program, and maybe the National Sales Meeting where you couldn’t escape those three wonderful letters, CRM, you will soon find that if you haven’t designed an environment where it’s going to enable your reps to make more money, the relationship is doomed.   .

 If you’re currently in a dysfunctional CRM relationship, here are 4 simple tips to re-engaging users and getting that spark back.


  1. Shadow a Sales Rep:   Chances are you can find out exactly what is preventing your sales reps from using the application by simply watching how they go about their day.  Sales reps are driven by money, not by additional administrative duties.  Your system needs to be setup so that they can get the information they need quickly, facilitate making key updates and run their business out of one easy-to-use application. 
  2. Increase your sales team’s productivity by 5% automatically:    Cancel the weekly forecast calls with your reps and require them update their opportunities in CRM.  Something else that I’ve seen work extremely well, is when you do Monthly or Quarterly reviews, do not let your sales reps bring anything into the room with them; no spreadsheets, notebooks, or computers.  Everything they need to tell you should be able to be put into CRM and fully accessible by the Sales Manager at any time. 
  3. Tool time:      Make sure the tools that you have selected meet both your short-term goals and your long term goals.   You need tools that can adapt like your business does.  You probably can’t wait two months for an update to a picklist value or for the addition of a simple workflow rule.  Do you feel the tools that are in place can create the experience you want for your users?
  4. and finally, if all else fails...

  5. Keep It Simple, Stupid:     Do you really need to require 15 fields to create an Opportunity?  Do you need to clutter the interface with different reports that don’t add daily value?  Most CRM systems on the market today are flexible enough today that your admin could clean up most of the unnecessary interface ‘noise’ in a few hours.  If they're not, see #3.

Every strong relationship can be tedious at times, you’ll fight and eventually make amends, you may even threaten to upgrade to a newer model…  But be patient and think about what you want to achieve and you’ll find a partner for life.

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