The Old Switcheroo: Transform CRM from Stick to Carrot


Product Management Team


Taking time to incorporate feedback from sales and to help sales leverage CRM features that help them will build good will that transforms CRM from a dreaded stick to a tasty carrot.

In my first post, I explained that people hate CRM because most CRM implementations are designed with the primary purpose of collecting data instead of making customer-facing jobs easier. The second post described how to make the system work for customer-facing people instead of against them.

This post will dive a little deeper into how to improve the effectiveness of your CRM Implementation through evangelization. My experience has been that salespeople in particular have short memories for how systems work; they’re busy closing deals, which is exactly right. I find that information sticks after the fifth, sixth, okay maybe the tenth time I tell them. Here are some simple ways to evangelize that I have found work well.

Incorporate feedback as quickly as possible. Sometimes making a small usability enhancement for a user will turn them into a regular user and maybe even an evangelist. If you have authority to modify screens and workflows in your CRM System then use that power for good! For example, I often evangelize stuff to salespeople. About half the time they say, “That’s cool! By the way, since you’re here I have this problem in the system….” Many times it takes five minutes to add a field or adjust a workflow. Taking that five minutes or hour or whatever can build goodwill. The best part is that front-line people talk and will then evangelize these “fixes” for you.

If you see something interesting with a particular record, walk over and show someone who might care about it. Just the other day I saw that a new big-name lead from our marketing automation system got kicked into the sales process. I also noticed it had a bunch of links to other leads. Apparently some people from the company had attended a webcast recently but had not done much else on our site. I walked over to the salesperson and showed him this information… turns out he hadn’t noticed the links section before. Within 30 seconds he was searching names on the web and strategizing how to get a deal rolling. He will probably remember to look there in the future.

Get the management team to use the system in meetings. If you are pulling up CRM reports instead of custom Excel sheets in daily/weekly/monthly front-line staff meetings people will get the hint that the CRM System is used by management. They also will not want to be the one person in those meetings whose records are stale. Who wants to be the one salesperson with a bunch of unlisted “big deals”?

Remember the Customer. In the end the most effective CRM systems are those that put the customer (or citizen) at its center. Think of your CRM system as three concentric circles. The customer is at its core; the next ring are the customer-facing employees; the outer ring is the management team and the required metrics. All are important and essential to the whole picture. But by putting the customer at the center and keeping those who serve the customer close to the customer, the metrics will be more positive. And remember, with CRM systems there is no more important metric than the bottom line.