Salespeople aren't known for being meek and unopinionated, which can make pitching a brand-new approach to conducting business an awfully hard sell. In fact, according to AvantGo, 65 percent of sales reps surveyed estimated that less than 50 percent of their companies' sales forces are using the CRM/SFA (Sales Force Automation) system the way management would like. As a result, more than 40 percent of sales managers surveyed said that they were not currently getting effective forecasting or opportunity-management data from their SFA systems.
Fortunately, you can drive adoption of SFA among even the most change-resistant reps. Here are a few tips for transforming a veteran sales force into a team of SFA evangelists.
1. Know your solution. Before selling your sales reps on a brand-new solution, be sure you know the ins and outs of the product you've purchased. Explore the features and modules that will be most useful to your teams and whittle down data and functionality to the bare essentials.
2. Training is key. Hold training sessions to help sales reps learn about your SFA solution, its unique features and how these features can help make their jobs easier. Encourage your sales force to practice using the software for a half hour or so every day. And be sure to supplement training sessions with one-on-one meetings to provide personalized responses to questions and concerns.
3. Address psychological burdens. SFA often prompts sales reps to fear that they'll lose business and their hard-earned sales territories to technology. For this reason, take the time to reassure sales reps that SFA is all about creating greater sales efficiency and empowering sales managers — perks that they stand to benefit from.
4. Reassess your selections. So you've tried every trick in the book and your adoption rates are still low? Reassess the features and functionalities you've chosen to introduce. If they're not helping to boost productivity and drive sales, then chances are your salespeople won't see the point in using them.
Got your sales force on board now? Your SFA-adoption efforts can't stop there. You need to keep your SFA system updated with new features and capabilities in order for it to adequately meet your sales' reps needs. For instance, your traveling sales staff may benefit from a mobile SFA application. Stay updated on SFA developments by visiting Focus' SFA product hub regularly.
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