By Neil Pridham-Oracle on May 01, 2015
Driving Sales Systems
The use of technology to drive sales organisations has been a focus for many sales leaders over the past twenty years. In that time, software vendors have struggled to balance business complexity with speed of implementation and change. Sales leaders have struggled to balance user adoption with the burden of data entry. We have seen, as a result, large numbers of “CRM” projects fail to deliver the promise. What many companies have ended up with is a glorified address book, diary and list of opportunities.
So what can we do to address this?
A key inhibitor to successful technology use is user adoption. Most companies have spent time improving sales processes, driving sales performance, and increasing efficiency but they have not really tackled the issue of user adoption. Without good user adoption of sales systems the real value from them is merely a dream. Good user adoption drives the data upon which the remainder (marketing, analytics, workflow, decision-making, forecasting, win/loss, quoting, ordering etc) rely.
So is user adoption really that difficult?
You could argue that in the early days of Sales Force Automation SFA it probably was. In the early days of SFA there were no mobile devices, analytics was crude, and, at that stage having a single address book and diary was probably a major step forward for many sales organisations who still used paper based call reporting. In those early days many sales reps were simply not used to using technology to sell.
But we have moved on and today recording those things is simply commodity SFA. It is the nice bed in your hotel room. It is the three-year paint warranty on your car. We just take those things for granted. Solutions that allow you to simply record basic information are not delivering what a modern sales organisation needs.
What drives user adoption?
Well, I would suggest that the following elements drive user adoption in the SFA world:
· Compliance & Gamification
· Good Sales Management
Simplicity: In order to compel a sales team to use technology it has to be simple, fast and easy to use. We all know that reps want to be out selling and not keying in information. Let’s give them the software help them do this. Let’s ensure they have access to all the information they need, when they need it, and ensure they feel that others are feeding the solution to make their life easier not the other way around.
Mobility: Today there is no reason to stop reps being almost entirely field based. From core SFA to quoting, pricing, contracting, forecasting, and communications; empower your reps to operate remotely, at speed and successfully.
Compliance & Gamification: Increasingly sales organisations are under pressure, both internally and externally, to comply with procedure and/or legislation. Compliance can be mandated through software solutions using workflow, procedure and gamification. Ensuring that a rep complies with lagging measures such as quota attainment, revenue and invoices paid key to hitting your sales numbers. Do this using Sales Performance (SPM) tools. Ensuring your reps comply with softer leading measures such as forecasts, quote quality and discount management are key to your profitability and growth. Do this using Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) tools.
Good Sales Management: This is the hard part. Good sales management is key to the success of sales solutions. A manager that can explain, motivate and continually drive the use and benefits of the solution will ensure success. Back away from this and the sales reps will happily return to their ways of working.
If you are looking to improve your sales organisation then look for a software vendor that can help you drive the user adoption of your systems. A vendor that can deliver the basic requirements (SFA1.0) but also the other key areas of Simplicity, Mobility, Compliance and Gamification. This will ensure your teams exhibit the behaviours you need to get the most from your SFA investment and hit your targets. Those elements, aligned with your Good Sales Management will be the drivers to your sales success.