How to increase the use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your sales organization

By - February 27, 2013

A common problem that confronts users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, or any other CRM application, is convincing sales people to effectively utilize the tool. Sales people ultimately view Dynamics CRM as management oversight that makes them less effective by slowing them down to track activities. They see it more as a management tool that they are mandated to use rather than something that is useful in helping them close more sales.

As a result, sales people have learned to trick the system and input the bare minimum to remain compliant with corporate policy. Unfortunately, this often means the organization does not have good data on the current, existing pipeline that managers can use for forecasting purposes or even to help coach sales staff. Another longer term downside is that you don’t have good data to use in future marketing programs.

For example, if I want to know the average deal size in construction, I might not have that data. If my sales people have not been tracking things like industry codes or keeping accurate opportunity revenue updated, then a good repository of information likely does not exist.

The good news is that there are several successful techniques that companies use to increase Dynamics CRM usage. Typically, I talk to clients about using a “carrot and stick” approach.

  • Consider Dynamics CRM use when awarding commissions: Commission the sales staff only when opportunities are tracked in Dynamics CRM, provide a lesser commission if an opportunity is not tracked or possibly commission them based on forecast accuracy. That becomes the stick; they will not get something because they did not use the system.    
  • Provide more useful tools: The sales staff needs to understand this is a tool that they can get great benefit from. In this case, the carrot is increased functionality that sales staff does not currently have. Consider social CRM initiatives, such as a news feed about prospects and companies to reduce research time and integration with tools such as LinkedIn to instantly view connections. Unique dashboards can also be implemented that are visible when Dynamics CRM is opened, pulling data from other systems, such as open AR or open orders. Look for tangible ways to make their lives easier.
  • Allow more access: Make sure that Dynamics CRM is available when sales staff needs it. Encourage use in the office, as well as on mobile devices such as laptops and iPads. If sales staff are forced to only use CRM when they are in the office, or at home, they will do the bare minimum to comply.
  • Remove other tracking tools: Look for other reporting tools sales people need to comply with and try to remove them by utilizing CRM. If, for example, your sales people need to send in weekly trip reports, configure CRM so that by tracking activities through the tool, management automatically gets the trip report information they desire. This will be viewed as a win by sales people and yet another reason to adopt Dynamics CRM.

This approach will help to design a system that inspires sales staff to be in Dynamics CRM at all times and sell more effectively. At the same time, by increasing usage, you are also getting that information that management and marketing needs to make better decisions.

If you are looking to configure your version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can reach our professionals via email at crm@mcgladrey.com or by phone at 855.437.7202.

By: Mike Nafziger, RSM – www.mcgladrey.com/dynamics

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