Tuesday, February 2, 2016

CRM Leadership Starts at the Top

Customer relationship management (CRM) doesn't help a company if it is not adopted by users, and that adoption starts with the commitment of senior leadership.  For sales, the top management is often a vice president for sales, followed by managers for specific lines of products or services and, ultimately, account teams.

Without CRM in place, sales leaders often rely on spreadsheets as the basis of forecasts and pipeline meetings.  With CRM, the first step is to throw away the spreadsheet, and make CRM the authoritative source for all sales pipeline information.  Sales leaders must convey that if the opportunity is not in CRM, it doesn't exist for sales discussions or eventually for commission payments.

Using CRM as the system of record for sales doesn't mean you have to give up the functionality of spreadsheets.  Dynamics CRM can export views such as open opportunities to Excel, allowing further manipulation and analysis in a spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet may also be forwarded to people who may not be familiar with CRM.  Dynamics CRM even allows a spreadsheet to be linked to underlying CRM data so that it may be refreshed with the latest data rather than regenerated.

If managers don't commit fully to CRM, sales professionals will notice and follow their lead, setting up the implementation for failure. Don't be one of those sales leaders. Don't let your CRM project fail because you never gave it the support it needed.


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