Investing in new processes can be costly, complicated, time-consuming and really, really frustrating. Few companies have a Six Sigma black belt on hand to architect their workflow or a Business Analyst experienced in needs analysis and stakeholder reviews. Instead, companies usually start with their existing technology and workflow, and simply try to eliminate or improve what’s currently failing. That can be challenging.
CRM implementations of this kind notoriously run long and more often than not result in a User experience that is more complicated and less profitable than the one it replaced. The simple explanation is that unstructured and unplanned processes tend to develop in the manner of traditional campfire songs—they are worn down into a highly functional, easy-to-learn format over time, their evolution driven by goal-oriented Users who just want to get the job done. They may not be “modern”, but they’re perfect in their own way.
Efficiency is not in the DNA of sales people; they’re not inclined to stop and analyse how they are doing what they’re doing for the purposes of doing it better. They’re driven to sell! So when they’re asked to learn a new system, they are reluctant to re-learn their way of doing things, particularly when they’ve had success in the past doing it their way.
Salesforce implementations are a microcosm of the trickle-down effect that occurs in corporate process improvement initiatives. The CRM is chosen because it’s the most popular, has the most applications being developed for it, and, well, because “nobody gets fired for choosing Salesforce”— meaning it’s the safe bet for VP’s who need to sign off on what figures to be a substantial ongoing cost. Unfortunately, the most powerful CRM—Salesforce—is also arguably the most complicated.
To get the most out of it you need:
- Excellent administration
- Rules and regulations that all Users adhere to
- Good data
Most companies start with none of these things. And lots try to get the most out of their CRM without them. For those considering this path, we can save you the trouble: you can’t!
And if you don’t have established rules for what goes into your CRM, expect a dog’s breakfast of information by the end of the first quarter.
But the most important aspect of any CRM purchase, installation, and roll-out is the data. Data goes bad faster than milk does (seriously). In fact, Salesforce states that over 91% of CRM data is outdated, inaccurate and incomplete. That’s because data is always changing. And because sales reps are not data providers, so they don’t typically do a great job of entering data into the system.
The way around this is to a)clean your data before your start and b)use a data management/sales intelligence app like Scott’s Directories for Salesforce to automatically manage and enrich your CRM data—and to enable your reps to import new leads without duplications and with complete profile information.
If you want to get the most out of your investment in Salesforce, start with a strict set of rules and make sure you’re keeping your data organized, accurate, complete and up-to-date!